Margaux

Generally less regular than the other three top communes in the Medoc, possibly due to being more spread out. I found the wines this year more homogenous and the general quality higher. One producer told me that because Margaux was the most southern commune, it got better weather. Perhaps this is true, but perhaps many of the chateaux are now achieving a price for their wines that allows constant investment and attention to detail. Also, perhaps the ‘early drinking charm’ of the year suits the style of the appellation.

Pauillac

Often Pauillac, led as it is by three First Growths, stands out as the benchmark commune in the Medoc, something that is easier to achieve in riper vintages. While the quality of the wines was still high, the variations in style, what the chateaux were trying to or could achieve, was quite marked and the density of Pauillac, the longest-lived wine in the Medoc, was a little less to the fore.

Saint-Julien

I usually take it as given that Saint-Julien, with 90% of its appellation made up of classed growths, will be without disappointment, but this year some of the wines lacked density and follow-through, but overall quality was good

Saint-Estephe

Usually Saint-Estephe, despite its geographical variety, is more of a piece, but this year I found great variation in quality and less quality overall. The heatwave vintage of 2003 certainly suited the more clayey soils of the northern Médoc, but in 2007 many châteaux didn’t get enough ripeness.

Saint-Emilion

This was an average and variable vintage, as one might expect. A constant battle was waged against mildew but the ultimate problem was bringing the grapes to full maturity. Work in the vineyards, terroir and the harvest date were critical. Those that achieved ripeness have an attractive red fruit expression those that didn’t a vegetal streak. Over-extraction was clearly not recommended as this was a year to emphasise the fruit. Where the producer has gone for over ripeness the Merlot often has a dull, flat edge. The Cabernet Franc was generally successful giving a lift to wines. Estates on the top terroirs (limestone plateau and slopes) were better set to avoid the inconveniences of the vintage. by James Lawther MW

Pomerol & Lalande-de-Pomerol

In what was clearly a difficult year, Pomerol has registered a reasonable degree of success. The earlier ripening terroir clearly helped but this does not belie the amount of work that was needed in the vineyard. The bulk of Merlot for the grand vin was harvested the week of 17 September (before the downpour of 22 September), the Cabernet Franc (a successful and important component) in the last days of the month. Top estates on the warmer gravely soils of the plateau have impressed in the context of the vintage which is one of good colour, fruit, charm and early accessibility.  by James Lawther MW

Listrac-Moulis-Medoc

Moulis is usually one of my favourite communes in the Medoc. The quality here has been less regular this year, but a few wines shine out. Listrac, meanwhile, is less favoured in geographic terms than Moulis and producers have to try harder to rise above the rather rustic reputation. Their efforts are becoming more and more evident.

Fronsac & Canon-Fronsac

As in the rest of Bordeaux the indifferent summer and permanent pressure from mildew meant an ongoing battle for ripeness in 2007. The satellites generally have later ripening terroirs so the harvest date was primordial (some picking up to the end of October). Quality is uneven with wines with a vegetal streak, others fruity and round (if a little light) and some dry and astringent where the extraction has been severe. It was a vintage to aim for the fruit with the overall style being good colour and supple fruit (acidity and alcohol are lower and pH higher in 2007) for early drinking. by James Lawther MW