Bordeaux Vintage Reviews

"These are my personal views on the vintages, which should be used as a guideline. Every spring we head of for the Union des Grands Crus (UGC) tastings that are normally the first week of April to taste the 'New Vintage' and often pop in to as many Chateaux as possible ("Chateaux hopping") to interview the owners and winemakers and learn their views. We also believe in getting opinions from International tasters, critics and merchants from around the world as Bordeaux wines (claret) is now truly an international market place."

James Goodhart, Bon Coeur Fine Wines



Drinking Status



 8.5/10 Lay Down Unique vintage in many ways. Difficult growing season... 'English summer'. Less fruit concentration, more chateau/terroir individuality. Lower scores than the 2018, 2019 and 2020, less alcohol yet plenty of drinkability and charm.


9.5/10 Lay Down Another excellent vintage. Impressive fruit concentration yet well balanced with fresh acidity.


9.5/10 Lay Down An excellent vintage that seems to get better and better. Possibly the pick of the trilogy 2018, 2019 and 2020.


9.5/10 Lay Down A good to very good vintage that many have described as being between a combination of the opulence, exuberance and density of 2009 with the elegance and freshness of 2016. 
2017 8.5/10 Lay Down A very good vintage, however, like Burgundy it does lack the power of previous vintages. The top wines are well made; plenty of balance and energy. Likely to drink before the 2015's and 2016's.


9.8/10 Lay Down

A wonderful vintage, yet hard to draw a comparison as it is in many people's view “unique”. Plenty of concentration & ripeness with lovely vibrancy & freshness. Lower alcohol levels in most cases. Very good to exceptional. Time will tell.

2015 9/10 Lay Down Impressive vintage, slightly behind 2009 & 2010, but very close. Some Northern Médoc properties were slightly diluted by rain. Margaux, Pessac-Léognan and the Right Bank (Pomerol & St. Émilion) are excellent.
2014 8/10 Lay Down A good vintage without being a great one, that will deliver a lot of pleasure. Cru Classé upwards need to be cellared until 2022 (possibly longer?). Wines showed well from bottle in early 2018.
2013 6/10 Drink Now A seriously difficult vintage with it being the wettest for 20 years. Top Châteaux made some ok wines, however, when we re-tasted the wines when they had been bottled, they were mainly thin. Best to avoid if buying. Early drinking.
2012 8/10 Lay Down Conditions were difficult, especially with rain during harvest. Pomerol stood out to be the most consistent commune, but slightly the same story where the top Châteaux did their best due to the rigorous quality selection. Prices generally down on 2011.
2011 7.5/10 Drink Now A difficult vintage where modern wine-making techniques really made a difference. Some really good wines at the top level but wines under £15 per bottle struggled (unless they had a big brother or Patron) as they couldn’t afford to make the same rigorous quality selection that was required. Prices down on 2010 and 2009. Early drinking vintage. Charming wines that are similar to 2007.
2010 9.5/10 Drink Now/Lay Down A fantastic and impressive vintage; one all about extremes. Very concentrated fruit levels with big tannins and high acidity. Hard to make a final judgement but all depends on how these three elements blend together.
2009 9.5+/10 Drink Now/Lay Down An awesome vintage. Without doubt one of the best vintages since 2005 and 2000. The 2009’s have a sweetness of concentrated fruit with a seductive with higher alcohol levels and riper tannins. Prices looked fairly high when released En Primeur, however, with price rises again in 2010 they look more attractive.
2008  8/10 Drink Now Another vintage saved at the 11th hour. Yields in 2008 were naturally low (lowest since the great frost of 1991) giving high concentrations to the grape must/juice. Richer and more complex than the 2007 vintage. En Primeur prices, two years on look very favourable, with many of the top wines doubling in value.

Right Bank 6/10

Left Bank 7/10

Sauternes 9/10

Drink Up 2007 was an awful summer which was saved at the 11th hour (last week of August and September) by some excellent weather. St Émilion even at the top end has been disappointing. Green and light in style. It was a difficult vintage to make. The châteaux that invested more time and money into the vineyards to counteract the problems with mildew have been able to produce the best wine. It’s a light, early drinking vintage. Prices came out expensive.
2006 8/10 Drnk Now/Lay Down No real rule to which Châteaux have done well. On par with 2004 on quality but the prices were more expensive than 2004 (generally half way between 2004 & 2005). The top 30 – 50 Château on the whole did well. No point buying the Cru Bourgeois wines as they are likely to be available at near the original price when they are ready for drinking from 2010 onward.
2005 10/10 Drink Now/Lay Down Considered by many to be a cult vintage and the best vintage since 1982, or even 1959 or 1961! The most expensive vintage ever with the top wines being released at 400% up on 2004. Without doubt an outstanding vintage. Lower to mid-range wines are drinking now. No hurry for the top wines as they will drink for another 10-20 years.
2004 8/10 Drink Now A cool vintage, but in many ways a classic style that could be compared to the 1988 vintage. Some properties picked early before the grapes fully ripened and consequently the wines are slightly green. The majority of wines were released at higher prices than the 2002 vintage, yet with 2005 on average being 100% more expensive for the Cru Classé the prices now look very attractive.
2003 9/10 Drink Up The hottest vintage on record. Very much a Left Bank vintage as many of the Right Bank (Merlot-dominated) suffered from heat stress. The Northern Médoc Communes of St Estephe and Pauillac where helped by their proximity to the sea which reduced the average temperatures. Considered to be an early drinking vintage due to the low acidity, however, many wines holding up well.
2002 8/10 Drink Up Had the worst possible start due to cold weather in the spring that hampered flowering (lowest yields since 1991) and a wet August that caused disease and rot. However, the vintage was saved by glorious weather in September and October (a true Indian Summer). Modern wine making techniques also greatly helped. Early drinking vintage but prices are attractive and it offers great value for money.


Sauternes 10/10

Drink Now

Under the shadow of the 2000 vintage. It will never beat 2000 for power and opulence but has grace and finesse and may rival the 1985 and 1986 vintages with time. Left Bank wines have the edge. Wines now look good value compared to the high prices of the 2005’s. Some cracking wines.

2000 10/10 Drink Now An excellent vintage which received a great deal of media hype, hence why most of the top wines are now very expensive. Best value is at the bottom end. Perfect weather from the middle of July to the middle of September. Warm vintage which at its time was the best since 1990.
1999 7/10 Drink Now/Drink Up This was a difficult vintage. Hail storms on the Right Bank affected quite a few properties. The better wines are on the Left Bank where the later picked Cabernet’s were harvested in dry weather. Not a fashionable vintage, nevertheless, so many 1999 wine give good value for money.

Left Bank 7/10

Right Bank 9/10

Drink Now Excellent on the Right Bank although a very hot July and August caused some heat stress on the vines. Merlot on the Right Bank was mainly picked before the rains at the end of September, which adversely affected the Médoc Cabernet creating dilution during harvest.
1997 7/10 Drink Up This vintage was originally released more expensive than the 1996. In September 1998, the Far East market collapsed leaving Bordeaux with huge stock levels. The 1997 vintage was later sold at greatly reduced prices by the Négociants offsetting their profits from the 2000 Vintage. A light styled vintage but plenty of fruit and drinking well now for the Cru Classés. Best to drink these up as the majority are starting to thin out, yet still good.
1996 9/10 Drink Now/Drink Up Another excellent vintage. September was dry and sunny but not too hot, giving the grapes high sugar levels without affecting the level of acidity. The Cabernets in the Médoc have the edge of the Right Bank. One of the best post war vintages.
1995 8.5/10 Drink Now/Drink Up Excellent on both sides of the Gironde but the Merlot wines of St Émilion and Pomerol (Right Bank) have the edge over the Cabernet based wines of the Médoc. Most Cru Classés are starting to drink but you should be in no hurry. Weather was perfect from 20th September through October.


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