See Decanter's vintage guide for Saint-Emilion and Pomerol 2008
Saint-Emilion and Pomerol 2008
Small, late vintage of quite exciting quality, especially Pomerol. Top wines are seductive, with the structure, tannins and acidity for ageing.
The Right Bank’s early season was marked by wet, cool, yo-yo weather. Budburst was sluggish, flowering poor and uneven, and fruit set inconsistent. High rainfall (August was its wettest for 30 years) spelt first mildew with rot later. Although July was dry and sunny, ripening was slow and erratic and growers were out in force removing the dud berries. Then glorious sunshine. From mid-September to mid-October the hitherto ‘lazy’ grapes were given the kick-start they needed to achieve full physiological ripeness. Winemakers eked out the harvest as long as possible, finishing as rains returned later in October. Yields were 16% down on the average, with poor flowering being the main culprit, but also hail, especially in the satellite appellations of Montagne- and Lussac-Saint-Emilion.
Quality was more exciting than expected, though as with the Médoc, rigorous fruit sorting both before and after harvesting was crucial. Not all producers managed it. The smallness of the Merlot crop contributed to great fruit purity, with Cabernet Franc telling a similar story.
The best Saint-Emilions are rich, ripe and modern, with seductive aromas and flavours. They’re fruity and rounded, well suited for early drinking but with the texture, acidity and ripe tannins for ageing. Terroir is evident. In Pomerol, the low yields arising from mildew and poor flowering have resulted in markedly uniform quality, though perhaps not surprisingly it’s the top estates that are the stars of the vintage. Wines are ripe and concentrated, opulent even, with good texture and aromatics and lovely fresh acidity.
SAINT-EMILION: châteaux Cheval Blanc, Ausone, Figeac, Troplong-Mondot, Clos Fourtet, Pavie, Vieux Château Mazeret, Pavie-Macquin, then Larcis-Ducasse, Canon-La-Gaffelière, Canon, Angélus, Trottevieille, Belair-Monange, Les Asteries, Chapelle d’Ausone, Le dome, De Valandraud, La Gaffelière. POMEROL: châteaux Le Pin, Pétrus, L’Eglise-Clinet, Trotanoy, Lafleur, L’Evangile, La Conseillante, La Fleur-Pétrus, Vieux-Château-Certan. COTES DE CASTILLON: Château Domaine de l’A.