I think I can speak for everyone when I say that expectation levels had been set to low when we walked in to the Bordeaux 2007 ten years on tasting at BI. A number of my fellow tasters had recently been appraising the 2013s, and been reminded that there are vintages when even the Bordelais can’t magic up a win.
Before 2013, it was the 2007s that were seen as the whipping boy of the past decade, for the red wines at least.
The weather got off to a good start in April but was cool and wet for most of the summer making it tough for all but the best-draining soils. Châteaux needed plenty of canopy cover early in the season to use up the excess of water and then to have cut enough of it off early enough to capture the sunshine and ripen the grapes when it showed its face.
The best weather didn’t arrive until September (actually August 30th, after one last downpour the day before).
In this, the 2007 is not dissimilar to the 2014s, another vintage I have been re-tasting recently and that benefitted from a beautiful harvest after a dreary summer – although it’s clear that overall the 2014 is a stronger year.
I tasted just under 70 wines from the top names across both sides of the Garonne and Dordogne rivers. As was noted at the time, those who were sensible in their extractions had captured some beautiful fruit character, and the wines showed reasonable alcohol levels throughout, rarely reaching about 13.5% abv even on the Right Bank.
Overall, as was clear from the beginning, the Cabernet Sauvignons did well when they were able to fully ripen, and there are many classic, even luscious, drinking clarets on the Left Bank. When they couldn’t, or when people set the extraction too high, there is bitterness and a drying finish.
The best estates are flattering and succulent, and to capture this plump fruit I would strongly suggest waiting no more than another few years. In the last two ‘Ten Years On’ tastings of 2006 and 2005, I left thinking that well over half the wines should be set away for a good few years yet. This time it was more about selecting the ones to crack open and enjoy.
No doubt lower down the scale, many wines in this vintage have had their day, so I wouldn’t start rounding up any 2007s you can get your hands on, but if you have been worried about any of the good quality names that you are holding on to, I would relax and find a corkscrew.
Three of Jane's Top Wines:
96pts Jane Anson, Decanter.com "There is plumpness to the black fruit that gives beautiful impact on the attack, and here it combines with a tightening of the tannins from the mid-palate onwards. A deep richness to the texture tells you this is a complex and supremely confident wine."
96pts Jane Anson, Decanter.com "All of the Left Bank firsts are tasting excellent, but Margaux stands out for the tightness and clarity of its sweet cherry and cassis fruit expression, the menthol grip on the finish, and the perfume that runs through the palate. This is a vintage that could almost be ready to drink with a good carafing, but the layers of graphite and the finesse to the tannins suggest it could also go longer. A great example of the subtle crafting possible in 2007."
95pts Jane Anson, Decanter.com "A deeper register of fruit than many of the 2007s on display, this is one where you would never pick the vintage blind. Here we get wet stones sliding up against slate and liquorice, dark bristling cassis and bramble fruit. There is just so much hold and confidence, and yet juiciness. No need to open this one yet."
Jane Anson is a Decanter contributing editor and Decanter’s sole taster for the upcoming Bordeaux 2016 en primeur campaign. She writes a weekly column for Decanter.com.