See Decanter's vintage guide for Saint-Emilion and Pomerol 2004.
Saint-Emilion and Pomerol 2004
Deeply coloured wines with good structure
The weather returned to a more typical pattern after the excesses of 2003. The harvest was nearly a month later but more in keeping with the norm. A dry, sunny June assisted with a swift and uniform flowering. Temperatures for July, August and September were above the 30-year average while sunshine hours were below (but on a par or better than 2001 and 2002). Rainfall was consistent for the region and without surfeit except for the 71mm that fell in August putting initial doubts over the potential of the year. A relatively warm, dry sunny spell through September and early October compensated. The Merlot was mainly harvested in ideal conditions 1-8 October.
This is undoubtedly a plethoric vintage. The official figures will not be available until December but it seems likely that the original estimate of 7m hectolitres will be exceeded. Even the most ardent ‘green harvesters’ found their original projections surpassed by 10-20%. Juice to skin ratio was high making the ‘bleeding’ of tanks an obligatory technique during vinification (juice concentrators were also used to deal with dilution from the rain). With untended crop levels so high it’s noticeable the number of plots where grapes have just been left on the vine as producers ran out of tank space or reached their limited yield. Reacting to the crisis of overproduction in Bordeaux the CIVB (Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins de Bordeaux) has recommended a ceiling of 50 hectolitres/hectare in 2004.