2007 Bordeaux — An Uneven Year Separates the Best from the Rest
The story of the 2007 vintage is that of a miserable summer wedged between a precocious spring and a dry, sunny fall.
After a gentle winter, bud-bread was early, though it was prolonged by a cold snap. April was warm, and with plenty of water, the vines took off. Flowering was split, with the second half affected by variable weather in late May and June, reducing the size of the crop. The same moisture in the soils that contributed to the early growth of the vines now created issues with oidium and mildew, a problem that would cause damage to almost every property. A gloomy, damp July and a rainy August did nothing to help the vines. A few sunny spells intervened, but veraison was irregular owing to the bad weather and the uneven bud break and flowering earlier in the year.
In August, mildew and rot continued to plague the vineyards. Sprays were often washed off by the rain soon after application. Two notably heavy downpours occurred on Monday, August 20th, and Wednesday, the 29th, causing swelling and threatening to split the grapes and bring the whole vintage down with rot. But just as it looked bleakest, high pressure moved in, breezes arrived, and the vineyards dried up. The good weather continued for the rest of the harvest, clearing up rot, and plucking the vintage from jaws of ruin.
The white harvest began in Pessac Leognan in early September and ended around the 25th of September. Fruit was generally healthy and fresh. The red harvest was more spread out. Merlot was mostly picked by October 6th, while Cabernet began around October 8th. The late-fall warmth concentrated the grapes and resulted in some of the longest “hang-times” for any vintage on record.
Even so, it was an uneven year, and one that will separate the best from the rest. The top properties will make some very good wines, mainly for earlier drinking, but those who didn’t put in the hard work in the vineyard and the cellar will struggle. Take note of prices, but look to 2007 for wines to drink while you wait for your 2009s and 2010s to come around.