Tasting Bordeaux 2007 at Southwold

Tasting Bordeaux 2007 at Southwold

Tuesday 25th January 2011
by Tom Jenkins

The sleepy town of Southwold in Suffolk has become home to one of the most thorough and respected blind tastings of Bordeaux wines. 

A panel of UK buyers and journalist (with literally hundreds of years of experience...) descend on the Crown Hotel to give their verdict. This year it was the turn of the much maligned 2007s.

So, what were the winners and the losers? The best flight of wines unsurprisingly came from Sauternes and Barsac. This included revered names such as de Fargues, Climens, Suduiraut, Rieussec and of course, Chateau Yquem. Yquem 2007 was unequivocally declared the wine of the week and averaged a mighty 19/20 from the panel. All agreed that this was a superb flight and that 2007 is one of the great vintages for sweet Bordeaux. If there had been a little disagreement during the primeur tastings as to whether Climens or Yquem took first place, there was no such debate this time around. (If you are interested in a case of Yquem 2007 for your cellar, please speak to one of our sales team).

Of the reds, Mouton took first place on the left bank with an average score of over 18/20, with non first growth, Leoville Las Cases taking silver. Over on the right bank, Petrus and Cheval Blanc took top billing, but there were strong showings from Eglise Clinet, VCC, Le Pin, Evangile and Providence. The Pomerol plateau obviously hadn’t heard that it was a Cabernet vintage...

To conclude on this rather capricious vintage, the sweeties are sensational and are widely available for less than their 2001 counterparts. The Lesser reds from both banks are generally well made, but often lack a little substance. In some cases the wines are somewhat forced and this shows in the tannins. The best terroirs and those with the means and know-how have created some delicious wines with real character and sufficient structure to age for more than a decade. As one of the learned members of the panel pointed out, wine is supposed to give pleasure; the 1997s did just that, and the 2007s clearly surpass the `97s in every respect. They may not be as intellectual or profound as the so called `great` vintages, but they will be good fun!