To help you decide on your wine, here is a summary (written by David Miller) of a few recent vintages for Red Bordeaux and Sauternes.
A less prolific vintage than the previous two years, a good to average summer with a cool spell of weather in September, some heavy rain fell on the 21st but the harvest continued right up until the 12th October in fine, dry, excellent conditions. In general terms the wines and the quality is very close to 2000. Good, ripe, balanced wines have been made by the growers who controlled yields i.e. de-budding and leaf thinning with a desire to make quality wines. Good Sauternes have been made.
A term used by our French friends is “Vintage of the Century” a very warm early Spring followed by a very hot summer almost a drought! With fine weather right through to the 9th October. So very good quality red wines were made from ripe, healthy grapes, very like 1990. Buy while we still hold the stock, we recommend Ch. de Maison-Neuve and Ch. Rol de Fombrauge. The rain started towards mid October and continued month after month, so no Sauternes, it was a washout.
A plentiful crop with rather less sunshine than normal but very hot weather in the first two weeks of September, then it started raining! So not a great year, most white grapes were picked before the storms and wonderful fresh wines full of fragrance have been made, Chateau Pierrail Blanc was a very good example. Overall an early maturing forward vintage of red wines, with healthy ripe fruit, for Sauterness the well run properties will make excellent deep, rich wines with good botrytis.
A good but not exceptional vintage, better than ’97, ’94 and ’93 but not the “Great One”. September started well with little rain. It was fine and quite hot up to the 11th, then for 3 days it was cold and blustery with some rain. The next period 16th to 26th was the most important, fine weather conditions and the harvest was gathered in, with some Cabernets being harvested later. Yields are low so good full-styled structured reds have been made, wonderful aromatic dry wines and it was an excellent year for Sauternes, very good botrytis wines have been made similar to ’96 with a touch of ’89, see Ch. Briatte Sauternes, just shipped, wonderful, do order a case.
An exceptionally cold winter followed by an early spring, then heavy rain and relatively cold temperatures, but by August the heat was tropical! Picking began early in September after a year with very varied weather conditions. It was the earliest vintage this century. The wines are more forward with good colours and quite soft fruit some as good as the ’96s some not, but a very useful vintage. Wonderful Sauternes, Ch. Briatte now sold out.
Was slightly better than 1995, but with lots of changeable weather until August 31st, whereupon the sun came out and stayed for over 2 weeks! The harvest then started in ideal conditions, Sauvignon Blanc being first, then the Merlot (for reds) followed by the Cabernet Franc and last Cabernet Sauvignon, harvested well into October. During this time some overnight drizzle and rain fell on odd nights, but by morning, the sun shone. Another period of fine weather from the 5th October to 25th, therefore, a classic year all round. Good concentrated Sauternes (with careful selection) have been made with botrytis grapes.
By all accounts a good vintage, as good, if not better than the previous year, with talk of prices being increased by 25%! The Bordelais are already trying to hype-up the media and the American market was becoming interested again, buying en primeurs for the first time in 5 years. Good wines have been made.
Could have been a great vintage, but some September rain spoilt this, it may however, be the best of the last four vintages. It was not a soft easy vintage, tannin levels were high, and it would need careful wine making to expose the fruit. Some Chateaux will make balanced wines as long as they do not over-vinify and over-macerate the selected Cuvées. Sauternes was promising but not a classic.
Looking at the crucial months May – September reveals the lowest average temperature since 1985 and the hours of sunshine were 6% below average. Then in the first week of September the rains came, it was wet everywhere so no-one can claim to have picked before the rain, but luckily no rot and the grapes were ripe, but some rain diluted the must, so not a classic vintage. Some good wines were made by strict selection and adding lots of “Vin de presse” also some owners have an “Evaporation of excess water under vacuum” machine and it works! The dry white wines are harvested before the red; so they were less affected by the rain, and very good wines were made.
David and Cheryl Miller established Chateaux Wines in April 1983. David previously worked in the wine trade for many years with Harveys, Lebegue & Co., Cordier of Bordeaux and Laurent-Perrier Champagne.
During this time David gained his Wine & Spirit Education Trust examinations and has recently been engaged in some lecturing at a local Higher Education College. Cheryl has also been on Education Trust Wine courses and is an expert taster.
We are sure you will find our wines exciting, of superb quality and at very good prices. We welcome you to peruse our selection of fine wines and are always ready to offer advice or recommendations to suit your needs.
Chateaux Wines is a specialist whose philosophy is to offer Single Domaine wines (hence our company name!) by the case delivered on the British Mainland. Each year we visit the growers and owners, getting to know all about them and tasting their wines.
We can then select the very best wines from these vineyards, which we know and trust. We invite you to browse through our selection of fine wines and are sure you will find them to be excellent and unique wines, representing outstanding value for money!
We aim to give the highest levels of personal service and to provide a first class delivery service throughout the British Mainland.
We hold an Annual Tasting in London each year for our clients and also hold in-house tastings and give talks/tastings to Colleges, Universities and Medical Societies and their chosen charities (details upon request: firstname.lastname@example.org). We are featured regularly in The Which Wine Guide and also Oz Clarke`s Websters Wine Guide.