See Decanter's vintage guide for Médoc and Graves 2001

Médoc and Graves 2001

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Mixed vintage for reds, but dry whites are wonderfully aromatic with lively acidity.

Weather Conditions

The preceding winter was the wettest since 1982/83, and the season went on to be particularly mild. It meant that the vines responded early, though a short period of frost in mid-April caused damage locally.

May and June were dry, so that flowering in June was early, rapid and uniform. Though July started out wet and cool, it ended warm and dry, and August was hot with average rainfall for the month, though alternate heat and rain prevented the grapes from maturing consistently. September was rather cool, with average rainfall for the month. It provided excellent conditions for ripening, and vintners were able to wait for full maturity before picking. Nonetheless, careful monitoring was required and only the most meticulous growers achieved truly first class results.

The overall quality of the reds was better than 1999 but not so great as 2000. Quantity was down. For dry whites conditions were ideal. Wines are powerfully aromatic with remarkably fresh, fruity flavours sustained by excellent acidity.

Best Appellations

Slow ripening helps wines achieve finesse and elegance, and those vineyards that exercised tight control throughout the season produced excellent Cabernets. Top terroirs with low yield show excellent richness and complexity, especially in Pauillac and Saint Estèphe. Pauillac produced the best overall quality, with some star performers. The best growths in Margaux, Saint Julien and Pessac-Léognan (Graves)achieved wines with great potential wherever vintners waited to pick at full maturity. For the most part, wines range from deep and rich to lean and insipid.

Best Producers

Pauillac
Mouton outperformed the other first growths, just ahead of Lafite and Latour, with Lynch-Bages, Clerc-Milon and the two Pichons close behind.
Margaux
Ch Margaux achieved the top rung, with Brane-Cantenac, Giscours and Rauzan-Ségla a step down.
Saint Julien
The three Leovilles, Beychevelle, Ducru-Beaucaillou and Gruaud-Larose were all excellent.
Graves
Haut-Brion and Pape-Clément came out ahead, with Fieuzal and La Mission runners-up.