Bordeaux 2001: Pomerol in 2008
Any inspection of the 2001 Bordeaux vintage is certain – I would think – to focus on Sauternes, as without doubt it was this appellation that truly excelled. Having acknowledged that, the red wines are not ones that should be summarily disregarded. There was a degree of the ‘vintage after’ effect, as it was perhaps rather unlikely that the wines were ever going to match the quality found with those from the millennial vintage. Obscurity beckoned, rather as it did for 1983, another very good vintage which has at times also been rather lost in the shadows. Some, however, recognised the quality of the wines. Writing at the time, Clive Coates proposed that, putting 2000 to one side, “2001 is the best red wine vintage since 1990”. I think there are many who would disagree with this assessment, but like the wines it should perhaps not be totally disregarded. This is certainly a vintage of some merit.
Looking specifically at the Merlot-dominated wines of the right bank, a high opinion of this vintage may indeed be warranted. Some writers at the time held the quality of the harvested Merlots in very high regard. The vineyards escaped the early springtime frost, there was considerably less rain on the right bank appellations up until when it was needed in September, and the earlier ripening Merlot was on the whole fully harvested before the heavy October rains. Those grapes left on the vine, at the properties aiming for greater ripeness, suffered in the damp conditions, quickly developing rot. Nevertheless, what was in by now was in good condition, and some estates also had some Cabernet Franc of supreme quality to work with.