After three outstanding vintages in a row, this was a far more challenging year. Frost, hail, constantly changing weather, big variations in yield - the season had everything. Luck, too - some vineyards caught the hail, others just missed it; some sites were affected by frost, others were not. The average yield for the crus classés was just 6.5 hl per hectare, though Rieussec managed 13 (harvesting continued right up to 19 November) and Climens 10.6. Some vineyards must have yielded very little to arrive at so low an average. In Sauternes higher yields imply better quality because of the greater opportunity for selection, and in that sense terroir mattered. With few exceptions the deuxième crus classés seem much weaker than the premiers. Overall style is of freshness and elegance rather than the great richness of 2005, 2006 and 2007 - lovely acidity and fruitiness but no great concentration. The wines should make for refreshing, youthful apéritif drinking, but also for good ageing. David Peppercorn MW

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Written by Decanter