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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths
Life and Style
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Receptionist / Office Administrator - Full or Part Time

£14600 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established in 2003 the company...

Recruitment Genius: Social Media & Content Marketing Executive

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing, Google certi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 business...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company has won the award ...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn