Last spring it was suggested that the 2007 Bordeaux vintage would be as costly as 2006, despite being widely considered to be inferior, with some top chateaux, such as Montrose and Lafite Rothschild, being rather off the boil. By early July there were a few crestfallen faces in Bordeaux as it was learned that sales had been lower than hoped.
It seems that some chateaux proprietors failed to take account of both the variable vintage and the sharp rise in the euro. Some regular American and UK buyers held back while there were new purchasers from countries such as China, Brazil and Thailand- but not all were willing to pay stellar prices. Chateaux which held prices to sensible levels had their wines bought up quickly. Amongst these were Domaine de Chevalier and Petrus. Cheval Blanc and Vieux Chateau Certain cost less than last year and it appears that quantities from several top growths were available for re-sale at around 80% of the 2006 prices.
Overall, the rotten summer of 2007 did affect quality and while there are some excellent reds, many will be for early or medium term drinking, though they are said generally to be better than the rather similar vintage of 1997. Away from the highest priced chateaux, Pontet Canet is said to be one of the best bets. Interestingly, this estate has something of a record at bucking lesser vintage trends; its 1994 was excellent and still drinks well.
Dry whites were generally better than reds and many middle priced bottlings are going to be good value for money. The improvement in weather during the autumn meant that the Sauternes vintage was ultimately a triumph, with Chateau d’Yquem being widely trumpeted as the wine of the vintage. Its €400 plus price tag will rule it out for many drinkers but, again, many sound, mid range wines will make excellent buys.