2007: The Story so far



Well, halfway through the En Primeur tasting week and unlike last year when the tannins and acidity were far more brutal, we still have our spirits and teeth enamel.

We also find ourselves in the position of agreeing with Robert Parker’s initial, and rather more upbeat than expected, view of the 2007s that he posted on his website

He said, ‘the biggest surprise is 2007…lots of mediocre green and vegetal wines, but the top châteaux have made very fruity…very soft, easy to drink and charming wines…the dry whites are superb…sweets promising as well…of course the prices for 2007 should be low, but I doubt that will be the case.’ All of which in our view is fairly spot on.

We still have to properly explore St Emilion and Pomerol so it is hard to say whether 2007 is a Right or Left Bank vintage, but as far as the Médoc goes, Pauillac and St Julien seem to be the most consistently good appellations. Margaux is more variable, as is St Estèphe to a slightly lesser extent.

We are tasting (and in some cases re-tasting) a number of big names in Margaux, Pauillac and Pessac-Léognan over the next couple of days so this is by no means an exhaustive list, but highlights so far have been Mouton-Rothschild, Latour (and Les Forts de Latour), Cos d’Estournel, Branaire-Ducru (of all things), Pichon Baron, Léoville Poyferré and Gruaud Larose, with Rauzan-Ségla, Léoville Barton, Clerc Milon d’Armailhac, Calon-Ségur, Lagrange and Beychevelle not far behind.

The character and quality of the 2007 vintage at this stage seems most reminiscent of 2002 but it’s soft, easy style also reminds us of the 1999s (even if quality is probably better in 2007) as well as the vintage that dare not speak its name, 1997.

The dry whites are possibly the best we have ever seen led at this stage by the outstanding Domaine de Chevalier Blanc. And from what we’ve tasted of Sauternes, the wines have very good richness and concentration even if they don’t quite have the acidity of the wonderful 2001s.

So, lots to be positive about but we can’t help wondering if April is simply too early to see the true potential of these wines. The En Primeur week should arguably take place a month or two later to give the wines time to settle down and put on a bit more weight. It’s not as if many prices come out before June anyway. But that is a can of worms that is best saved for another day!