2000 Bordeaux — An Outstanding Vintage
From well before the first grapes had set on the vine, hopes were high in Bordeaux for a great vintage to mark the first year of the new millennium. In Bordeaux, the weather gods delivered and the conditions were set for one of the best vintages since 1990. It yielded beautiful, ripe, concentrated wines, complemented by ample freshness, acidity, ripe tannins, and dark, deep fruit. It is uniformly great across all regions and all levels of quality, with many lesser properties outperforming their pedigree. The results are beautifully balanced, richly flavored, and long-lived wines that are just now beginning to show their best.
Winter was mild and the spring less than perfect, with warm and damp conditions that kept growers fighting to prevent mildew from rampaging through the vineyards. Flowering was late, and June swung between a brief hot spell and cold and damp periods without much sun that continued into the first part of July. As the summer got underway, a great vintage seemed far from a likely outcome. But once the middle of July arrived, beautiful weather settled in and it was dry and sunny almost without break for the rest of the summer.
It wasn’t until one day of significant rain arrived between the 19th and 20th of September that the fine weather broke, and by then the vines were in need of a little water to relieve them of some hydric stress from the long dry spell. The thick skins the grapes had developed over the dry second half of summer and a few warm spells in September protected the grapes from splitting or excessive dilution. The rain was heavier in the Médoc, with Graves and the Right Bank seeing a bit less, but it seemed more beneficial than worrisome even though growers were wary as the rain approached.
The fine conditions returned right after the rain, and the grapes were picked under excellent conditions from then on, with the Right Bank picking in September and wrapping up by the end of the first week of October. The Left Bank enjoyed a prolonged Indian summer, with the harvest completed early in the second week of October, to the benefit of late-ripening Cabernets, which reached superb levels of maturity and balance. It is a fantastic vintage, and rare in that it was superb in both the Left and Right Banks. It will no doubt provide decades of excellent drinking as the top wines come into their primes.