Bordeaux 2000: Tasting in 2013

A formal review of the 2000 Bordeaux vintage is hardly required, although it is worth remembering – before we get to tasting the wines – that the growing season was not the gloriously easy run that it is tempted to imagine it as. After thirteen years our memories of the details have probably long-faded, and it is tempting to create a rose-tinted image of the growing season that fits the wines. We all know the wines are great (aren’t they?) therefore, by extrapolation, the vintage must surely have been blessed with a warm, peaceful and bucolic growing season, one that brought the grapes to a gradually achieved and confident ripeness, while the vineyard managers relaxed in deck chairs, glass of pastis in hand.

Well, as you might guess, it wasn’t so. I have no intention of providing a detailed synopsis here, principally because I have already done so elsewhere. For those who wish to brush up on the vintage in more detail (although not quite the sort of detail I dish out for my modern-day primeurs reports) my Bordeaux 2000 vintage report should provide as much background information as is required. And regardless of what that report might say, today the vintage enjoys a reputation, alluded to above, as one of Bordeaux’s finest of recent decades. This is despite cool and wet weather early on, rampant mildew, and a late flowering. It was only the fine weather through August and September, and indeed on into October, that saved the vintage. If only the Bordelais could have enjoyed the same benevolence in the very recent 2012 vintage; superficially, the two vintages look rather similar…..up until the Indian Summer of 2000, which never arrived in 2012.

Bordeaux 2000

Tasting The Wines

I arranged the wines in several small flights, starting with the lesser appellations, including Fronsac, Haut-Medoc and so on, then progressing on to the grand communes of the left bank. Château La Vieille Cure was first, showing well, proving what great value the wines of this estate can be, as this wine was certainly superior to some that followed. It also brought the first surprise of the tasting, though; perhaps influenced by my experiences of the 2005 and 2009 vintages I was not expecting to find any hint of greenness in the wines of 2000, especially in wines where Merlot predominates, as this fruit will have been harvested long before the rains came in mid-October. But here it was, a trace of green peppercorn, nothing overt or bothersome I would expect, except to the most methoxypyrazine-allergic among us, but certainly worth noting. By contrast, the wine of Château de Fonbel, one of the Vauthier properties, showed good character, ripe fruit, firm structure and plenty of potential for the cellar still.

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