July 2008 Bordeaux Vintage Weather Report

Well tomorrow is the start of August when things start to get serious.

Last year at this time there was a great deal of worry (see my post).  June and July had been wet.  Yet the grapes on the vines looked pretty developed (dark colour), more so than they do this year.

But the weather this year has been better.  Though not a picture postcard sort of Summer, there has been rain but nothing really serious, and nor has there been excessive heat.  Yesterday was hot and incredibly humid.  Today the wind is blowing hot and dry air from the South, it’s 31 degrees Celcius.  Rain is forecast for tomorrow.

Unsettled yes, but nothing to suggest anything like the difficulties of 2007 at this stage.

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Chateau Marquis de Terme 2004

86 Points

Margaux, Bordeaux, France. 12.5%

Dark and bright but not scarily so. Fragrant with nice French oak. Surprising sweetness on the front palate balanced by acids on the finish giving an overall fruit-like effect. Still the sweetness is tad cloying without food. New World-ish? Slightly perhaps though the tannins are fine and grippy.

Out of step quality wise with its neighbours.

Leave for 4 years.

PS on the 2nd night it was more savoury but the acid and tannins astringent, not a favourable combination.

PPS the 2000 vintage is a slightly better wine, plus with the benefit of 4 years of age (88 points).  Not showing the richness of 2000, another wine to show that this wasn’t the super quality nor even as consistent a vintage that en primeur tastings suggested.

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Chateau Frachet 2004 cuvee prestige

75 points

Premieres Cotes De Bordeaux, France. 12.5%

This wine proudly displays its medals, its picking at optimum maturity, and 14 months in new oak.
Unfortunately this translates to an extracted wine, a touch porty, with raspy tannins. It’s great to see these minor Bordeaux gaining in concentration but this is trying too hard and I don’t like the recipe.

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Chateau Lanessan 2004

80 points

Haut Medoc, Bordeaux, France. 12.5%

Lanesson is a large but well sites vineyard next to St. Julien. It tends to produce simple old fashioned luncheon claret but I had the impression that things were improving. And 2004 is such a pure consistent vintage that I thought perhaps they might show something special this year. But no. Wait for the 2005.

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Chateau Malescot Saint Exupery 2001

87 points

Margaux, Bordeaux, France. 12.5%

I’m unfamiliar with this chateau. I bought a case of the 2004 based on critics reviews, Parker especially has been complementary in recent years. Otherwise I know nothing about it.

This was unexpected, however, given my knowledge of 2001 which is a good vintage, well priced, suffering if anything from a degree of mudiness, i.e. the fruit isn’t super pure it doesn’t sing, but the quality producers show none of this producing good wines in a reasonably priced vintage. Why was it unexpected, because of the whack of oak, almost coconut. It’s an elegant wine, good acidity, but that oak it really does border on excessive.

Hmm, it’s very clean modern, not extracted, but I’d prefer the oak was less obvious. Mint toffee wine. Don’t touch it until 2010 see what if it is more integrated then.