A vintage year: France anticipates finest Bordeaux wines in 60 years

A fine summer and a dry September mean 'perfect' 2005 will be surpassed

Perfect weather conditions – a fine summer followed by dry, cool nights in September – could make the 2009 bordeaux vintage one of the best on record, according to local wine experts.

Although the grape harvest is only just finishing and the juvenile wines will not be tasted for months, some professionals are already predicting that 2009 clarets will surpass the outstanding vintage of 2005.

"Nature has been exceptionally kind to us," said Denis Dubourdieu, director of the Bordeaux l'Institut des Sciences de la Vigne. "The conditions have been so sumptuous that it is difficult to find a parallel. You have perhaps to go back to the 1940s to find a comparable year."

Jean-Christophe Estève, a wine taster and trader, said that the weather in the final days before grape picking in September – mostly fine days but cool, dry nights – had been the finest in the Bordeaux area for 60 years.

Cool nights in September prevent the grapes from becoming too ripe and lush and help to produce a more sophisticated wine. July and August had already been close to perfect in south- west France, with high temperatures and plenty of sun.

Alfred Tesseron, proprietor and manager of the Château Pontet-Canet in Paulliac, one of the most prized of Médoc clarets, will be harvesting his last grapes this weekend. "Of course it's too early to be sure," he told The Independent last night. "But already in 2005 I thought that I was a lucky man to see such exceptional grapes in my lifetime. Now it seems that I may be lucky twice. The weather patterns of the two years were very similar but, if anything, the cool nights in September could make 2009 even better."

Foreign wine traders and private buyers may take these early predictions, if not with a pinch of salt, then at least a cube of ice. Bordeaux sales, for all but the most sought-after châteaux, slumped badly last year after a brief boom attributed to the global thirst for the 2005 vintage. The 2009 primeurs, or young wines, will not be ready for preliminary tasting until January or February. Grand claims are made for the quality of bordeaux almost every year, regardless of the weather.

However, in the wine blog of the British importer Berry Brothers & Rudd, the company's Bordeaux buyer, Max Lalondrelle, also waxed lyrical about the 2009 harvest. "The weather in Bordeaux (and the rest of France) has been textbook, with the fruits being the healthiest I have ever seen," he wrote. "When tasted, the berries are extra ripe and even the pips are mature. All the ingredients of a good vintage look to be in place."

Bordeaux professionals are united in forecasting an excellent year for both red wines (clarets) and white. Laurent Gapenne, president of the Bordeaux federation of "grands vins", said the quality should stretch from top châteaux to generic clarets. The only problem, he said, was that some wines might be higher in alcohol content than usual – about 14 degrees, compared to 12.5 or 13 degrees. Consumers tend, these days, to prefer a lower alcohol content.

The only other fly in the Bordeaux wine barrel is the damage caused in some areas – including Entre-Deux-Mers, Saint-Emilion and Graves – by hailstorms in May. Over 50 per cent of the harvest was lost in some vineyards.

Some were insured against hail damage but many others were not. "It may be an exceptional year but it is going to kill some producers," said Jean-François Quenin, president of the Saint-Emilion wine council.

News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Sport
footballManchester City 1 Roma 1: Result leaves Premier League champions in danger of not progressing
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
News
i100
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
booksWell it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Commercial Litigation NQ+

Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE NQ to MID LEVEL - An e...

MANCHESTER - SENIOR COMMERCIAL LITIGATION -

Highly Attractive Pakage: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - A highly attractive oppor...

Senior Marketing Manager - Central London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (Campaigns, Offlin...

Head of Marketing - Acquisition & Direct Reponse Marketing

£90000 - £135000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing (B2C, Acquisition...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?