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Bordeaux Wine Vintages Review
Select a vintage below:
1945 | 1947 | 1949 | 1953 | 1955 | 1959 | 1962 | 1964 | 1970 | 1975 | 1982 | 1985 | 1986 | 1988 | 1989 | 1990 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006

1945
An exceptional year. Small harvest. A very developed amber colour. A rich bouquet of fruit, bitter chocolate and mocha. Well balanced in the mouth with melting, elegant tannins. A wonderfully deep, concentrated wine. ‘Vintage of the...
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1947
An unusual year. Pomerol and Saint-Emilion ended up producing some of the most concentrated wines ever made in Bordeaux, reminiscent of Port. Irregularity was the defining feature of this vintage. First-growth and super-seconds produced wines with...
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1949
One of the brightest and driest vintages on record, the first competition it really faced was in 1990. 1949 produced a refined vintage, less alcoholic in style than in 1947. The best of these wines – and they are criminally good wines &ndash...
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1953
Drinkable from the outset, much of this vintage was glugged down within the first ten years. Those rectitudinal collectors who held on were rewarded with a development of character through the 1960s and 1970s, with charm, roundness and fragrance being...
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1955
The beneficiary of wonderful weather conditions, although the wines are not quite as good as the other stellar vintages of the decade. The very best wines are now at their peak and are showing no sign of decline.
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1959
Some of the most masculine, assertive and richest wines ever made in Bordeaux. These days the wines of 1959 are drinking better than their 1961 counterparts, which are in very high demand. The 1959s, being so rigidly structured, have evolved...
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1962
Overlooked, but terrific. Eclipsed by the 1961 vintage, this year nevertheless gave us fine efforts from every appellation—they were rounded, concentrated and elegant with soft, silky tannins. It was an excellent year for the dry whites of...
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1964
Pomerol, Saint-Emilion and Graves produced some fantastic wines in a vintage where almost every other appellation struggled bitterly, thanks to torrential downpour. The most pristine examples rivalled those of 1961, but most peaked in the mid-1980s...
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1970
The gem nestled between the distant classics of 1961 and 1982. These wines are complex and charming, with the very best wines having now peaked. Lightweight wines from Saint-Emilion and Pomerol peaked way back in 1980. Notable for being possibly the...
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1975
A year of both real success and severe disappointment. The reds developed extraordinarily slowly, and are only now approaching their plateau. Their heavy tannic nature made for a less than graceful ageing process. Some excellent bargains to be found...
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1982
A 5-star vintage, one of the very greatest on record. The crop was huge, and consisted of some of the most concentrated and healthy fruit ever seen. Only the most burly, tannic wines still need cellaring for another few years. Most have been mature...
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1985
he weather was patchy until September, which was the sunniest, hottest and driest on record. The bravest growers waited until October to pick their Cabernet grapes, and were thusly rewarded with outstanding wines. Makes for excellent drinking right now.
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1986
A bumper crop, much like the subsequent 1989 and 1990 vintages. This vintage was a resounding success for the northern Medoc (particularly St. Julien and Pauillac.) Many wines exhibit ageing potential for 20-30 years, plus the staying power to last for...
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1988
A good, steady vintage but without any great fanfare. The real success lied with the sweet wines of Sauternes and Barsac, who enjoyed one of the greatest vintages of the century. Still, when it comes to reds, we are still looking at very good wines...
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1989
A huge crop – one of the biggest in the history of the region. This was anticipated as the ‘vintage of the century’ (a term we hear far more frequently than once every hundred years) by everybody but the vignerons themselves...
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1990
Climate In short: The driest year since 1949 and the hottest since 1947. It will come as no surprise that this was something of a bumper (read: colossal!) crop. Saint-Estephe and Saint-Emilion performed extremely well, along with those estates...
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1994
Climate This was a year of ideal conditions: Dry, radiantly warm and calm. By September, many growers felt they had a textbook vintage on their hands. Then, quite suddenly, the rains came. Many grapes suffered from water-swell and became...
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1995
Climate A hot, dry summer - interrupted only by some rainfall in early September – resulted in consistency across all appellations. Much of the harvest was picked in perfect conditions. Left Bank Wines approach excellence on the left...
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1996
Left Bank A fantastic year for the Medoc, especially for the northernmost estates in the appellation that were spared the heavy downpours of the right bank. Their grapes were therefore healthier, producing ripe, rich and complex Cabernet blends with...
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1997
Climate Another vintage for drinkers, boasting alluring, smooth and inviting wines. Weather was fairly irregular: Uneven flowering in May resulted in staggered fruit formation, which in turn resulted in uneven ripening. This situation was...
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1998
Climate The growing season will be remembered for its debilitating heat, violent storms and sudden cooler periods. The heat resulted in weighty, excessively tannic Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. This, combined with the torrential downpours of September...
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1999
Climate 1999 was marked by a hot, wet growing season, which proved very trying for vignerons across the region. Storms hit in early August, whilst Saint-Emilion was subjected to an anomalous (and particularly violent) hailstorm in early...
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2000
Climate The much anticipated millennial vintage. The hype surrounding this vintage was certainly chiliastic. Fortunately, the vintage was able live up to these high – and chiliastic – expectations. There is fantastic unilateral quality...
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2001
Climate A serene, warm and dry growing season was violently interrupted by storms in August. Fortunately, September and October were almost perfect, resulting in gradual ripening of fruit. This was a year in which proactive producers reaped the...
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2002
Climate Spring was fairly cool, with poor budding leading to small and varied size grapes; Merlot suffered particularly badly in this respect. A damp, cool summer also raised the spectre of rot – this certainly played on the minds of growers in...
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2003
Climate An extraordinarily hot year, with temperatures pushing beyond 40 Celsius during August. Output was much lower than in 2002, with many vignerons being unable to do anything but look on as their grapes oven-roasted in the extreme heat. Some...
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2004
Climate Whilst this vintage heralded a return to traditional form, the growing season was hardly ideal. Budding came late, temperatures were uncomfortably above average, whilst at the same time the sunlight hours were drastically lower than usual. It...
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2005
Climate A perfect growing season (warm, yet without intense heat, with a smattering of light rainfall) provided optimal ripening conditions. Total rainfall for the year was around half the average, which caused vine roots to grow deeper in search of...
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2006
Climate The growing season was drier than average. The extreme heat prior to the harvest fuelled speculation that it could rival 2005, but this was dismissed after the onset of torrential downpours in the second half of September. This rain halted...
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