See Decanter's vintage guide for Saint-Emilion and Pomerol.

1961

Drink soon

Cold, rain, drought and a sunny September effectively ‘pruned’ the crop giving it harmony and depths of flavour.

Weather Conditions

The weather played a major part in the production of what is generally accepted to be a great vintage for Bordeaux‘s red wines. Despite a frosty spring, vegetation was advanced, but as the months progressed cold conditions reduced the flowering and rain washed away the pollen, reducing the potential crop. At the end of July persistent rain fell, and drought conditions prevailed in August, which was followed by a warm, sunny September.This pattern effectively ‘pruned’ the crop, then ripened the remaining fruit thoroughly. The harvest began at the end of September.

Best Appellations

The oustanding feature of this vintage was its consistency across the board, from first growths to Crus Bourgeois. But on the right bank, although some crus seemed to re-capture their pre-’56 form, many actually did better in ’64. On the left bank every appellation produced some oustanding examples. The wines were in most cases very attractive drinking by the end of the first decade, because of their fine harmony and depths of flavour and have lasted splendidly.

Best Producers

Cheval Blanc, Figeac and Magdeleine are among the best. Pomerol: Petrus, Trotanoy, La Fleur-Petrus, and Beauregard.


1962

Drink soon

Good weather which created fruity attractive wines of medium weight.

Weather Conditions

Conditions were cold and rainy from winter onwards right through to the end of May. June’s good weather developed into an extremely hot summer, although a reasaonable degree of rainfall prevented drought from developing. Reds: good weather continued throughout the late harvest, which began on the 9th of October.

Best Appellations

St-Emilion and Pomerol: both did well with fruity attractive wines of medium weight.

Best Producers

St-Emilion: exceptionally Ausone was better than Cheval Blanc. Magdelaine, Belair and Canon matured very attractively.


1963

Drink now

Rot spread across the region as rain and warm conditions affected ripe grapes

Weather Conditions

Winter was harsh, but there was little frost damage to the crop in spring. The weather did little to promote successful flowering, and continued cold and damp right through to September, resulting in rot and delayed ripening. Reds: finally, the sun began to shine at the start of the late harvest, 10th October.

Best Appellations

Rot spread across the region as rain and warm conditions affected ripe grapes.This damaged the pigmentation of the skins – resulting in a tell-tale orange colour in the wines. No area escaped.

Best Producers

No producers to recommend


1964

drink now

Summer was hot and dry. Late harvest was effected by heavy rains.

Weather Conditions

A mild, wet winter led into a warm spring. Summer continued hot and dry, resulting in the development of a well-ripened crop by mid-September.

Best Appellations

The harvest started well, but the latter part of it was badly affected by the heavy rains.

Best Producers

St Emilion: at Cheval Blanc this was a great vintage, the best since the ’56 frost. La Gaffeliere, Figeac and Magdelaine are all outstanding. The very good wines are numerous. Pomerol: Petrus is a great wine, possibly the wine of the vintage, while L’Evangile, Vieux-Chateau-Certan and La Conseillante were also outstanding.


1965

drink now

A disastrous year, for which the blame can be fully laid on the weather. (Cold conditions and heavy rains)

Weather Conditions

A disastrous year, for which the blame can be fully laid on the weather. The cold winter conditions were prolonged throughout much of spring, and summer was washed out with heavy rains. The final straw was a wet September, which resulted in rot and irregular ripening. What few grapes there were were harvested in October.

Best Appellations

Rain during the harvest led growers to pick unripe grapes, so less rot than ’63, but green, acid wines. Nothing to recommend.

Best Producers

No producers to recommend


1966

drink soon

The harvest started in perfect conditions. Wines were consistent and fine.

Weather Conditions

The mild conditions of winter and early spring were followed by fine weather in late spring, producing a good flowering. Most of summer was cool and dry, although July saw some rains. August was mostly dry, but the sun failed to shine. This was compensated for by a return to hot, sunny weather in September. Despite intermittent rain just before the harvest, the crop survived intact, with no rot. Early October saw the start of the harvest take place in perfect conditions. Red wines did far better under the prevailing conditions that whites.

Best Appellations

St Emilion: while not as good as ’64, was outstandingly consistent and fine. In Pomerol the picture is very similar to St Emilion.

Best Producers

St Emilion: Cheval Blanc is still a beautiful wine, if less concentrated and rich than ’64. Then Figeac, Belair, Canon and La Gaffeliere all produced fine, long-lived wines. Pomerol: Petrus is outstanding, then La Conseillante, L’Evangile, Le Gay, La Pointe, Trotanoy and Vieux-Chateau-Certan all produced fine, long-lived wines.


1967

drink now

Petrus was the wine of the vintage and is still magnificent.

Weather Conditions

Flowering took place slightly behind schedule after a relatively mild winter. The weather warmed up by summer, and July and August were both hot and dry. The pattern was reversed in the first three weeks of September, with cold, damp conditions, although the end of the month saw a return to sunshine. The harvest, which started in October, was plagued by intermittent rain.

Best Appellations

Pomerol not only produced the consistently best wines, but they have also lasted well. St Emilion: the best wines tend to come from the cotes and plateau.

Best Producers

Pomerol: Petrus was the wine of the vintage and is still magnificent. Exceptional wines were also made at Trotenoy and Vieux-Chateau-Certan. St Emilion: Cheval Blanc, although not in the Petrus class, has great charm and style and has lasted well. The Magdelaine was the pick of the cotes and plateau wines.


1968

drink now

One of the worst vintages of the century, exacerbated by the weather.

Weather Conditions

One of the worst vintages of the century, exacerbated by the weather. A cold winter and spring saw flowering take place under conditions that were far from ideal. There was little sun throughout summer, and August was the coldest and wettest for nearly 20 years. The weather did not help to promote adequate ripening, and the abundant, poor-quality crop was harvested in early October.

Best Appellations

This was the last vintage to be seriously affected by rot, but lessons had been learnt and some selection was attempted, so this is a vintage which should have been enjoyed in the initial 10 years of its life. Only a few survivors today, and this is a question of crus rather than appellations.

Best Producers

No producers to recommend


1969

drink now

The reds proved to be a great disappointment, dry, short and acid.

Weather Conditions

An unexceptional winter was followed by bad spring weather. June continued cold, but July and August saw a rise in temperatures and reasonable amounts of sunshine. Rain fell throughout the first fortnight of September, but warm, sunny weather afterwards continued until the harvest – of a very small crop – in early October.

Best Appellations

The reds proved to be a great disappointment, dry, short and acid.

Best Producers

No producers to recommend


1971

drink now

opulence and richness

Weather Conditions

The buds burst early due to the mild spring weather, but the crop was reduced by a cold, damp June. A hot July followed, but August saw unsettled conditions, with storms and some hail in the middle of the month. This was corrected a sunny September. Picking began early, on the 16th.
Red wines: The weather resulted in concentrated, ripe fruit with good acidity.

Best Appellations

The strike rate here was significantly higher than in Medoc. The wines have opulence and richness which has produced some superb mature wines.

Best Producers

Saint-Emilion: There is a great Cheval Blanc, opulent and aromatic. Other successes include La Dominique, Figeac and Magdeleine. Pomerol was even better, with Petrus probably the wine of the vintage, a complete contrast of styles to 1970, still extremely exotic and fine.
Then came La Conseillante, La Croix, L’Evangile, La Fleur Petrus, Rouget, Trotanoy and Vieux Chateau Certan – but some bottles may be over the top now.


1972

drink now

Lack of ripeness and high acidity

Weather Conditions

Unusual conditions led to one of the longest-ever growing seasons. Winter was severe, with rain and snow still falling in February. Although conditions had improved by the end of March, April saw the return of cold, wet weather. Temperatures did not rise much in summer, but nor did it rain much. There was little sunshine until September, when a belated ripening got underway. It continued fine until the late harvest, which began well into October.

Best Appellations

No appellation escaped the lack of ripeness and high acidity of this vintage. When bottles occasionally come to light the colour is often good, but the wines are dry and one-dimensional.

Best Producers

No recommended producers


1973

drink now

When young these were delicious wines

Weather Conditions

The flowering took place in fine spring weather, but there was no rain at all until the middle of July, when heavy rain began to fall. These conditions continued until the late harvest. When young these were delicious wines, probably more consistent than the Medocs but inclined to be a touch overblown.

Best Producers

Saint-Emilion: Cheval Blanc was always one of the best wines of the vintage, not far behind the delicious 71, but bottles will be valuable now. Figeac is not far behind.
Pomerol: The best was Trotanoy, which is still worth investigating.


1974

drink now

hot summer but very wet during harvesting

Weather Conditions

Conditions in spring promoted a healthy flowering. Summer was hot and dry,but September saw the start of intermittent periods of heavy rainfall. The rainy, cold weather continued throughout the harvest period, which started early in October.

Best Appellations

No appellation recommended

Best Producers

No producers recommended


1976

drink soon

drought affected Bordeaux, but produced some wines full of fruit and wholeness

Weather Conditions

The drought that affected much of Western Europe throughout spring and summer made its impact felt in Bordeaux. The hot, dry weather continued until storms began in mid-September, interrupting the harvest, which had started early.

Best Appellations

A vintage which really underlined the gap between top producers and the rest, even more so than today. The top St. Emilion were the best in all Bordeaux.

Best Producers

Best producers: St Emilion: Ausone is a really beautifully-balanced, elegant yet compact, long-term developer, and marked the beginning of a new era under Pascal Delbeck. Cheval Blanc is now at it glorious best, still luscious and full of fruit and wholeness. Pomerol: Petrus should still be excellent and La Conseillante fully developed and at its best, with Trotanoy the best after Petrus.


1977

drink now

The serious frost damage at the end of march reduced yields

Weather Conditions

In contrast to the previous year, 1977 began with heavy frosts in spring. The late flowering was not helped by a cold, damp June, which was followed by an unusually high level of rainfall in July. The beginning of August saw a period of warm, dry weather, but the rains and cool conditions returned during the latter half of the month.
Reds: The driest September on record since 1851, and the hot conditions continued throughout the harvest, which began during the first week of October.

Best Appellations

The serious frost damage at the end of march reduced yields.

Best Producers

No producers recommended


1978

drink soon

good weather produced some classic wines

Weather Conditions

The weather conditions in spring and summer – damp and dreary – did not augur well for the vintage. However, things picked up in mid-August, which saw the start of fine, sunny weather that prevailed throughout the harvest, which started late.

Best Appellations

There was a feeling at the time that they lagged behind the Medoc and that 79 was better, but the best have proved to be classics which have stood the test of time. Pomerol perhaps has the edge over St.Emilion.

Best Producers

Pomerol – a superb Petrus and excellent wine from Trotanoy, La Conseillante, L’Evangile and Gazin. St-Emilion – Cheval Blanc and Figeac echoed the successes of their Pomerol neighbours, Ausone, Magdeleine and Chateau Troplong-Mondot did well.


1979

drink soon

lovely rich textured wines now at their peak

Weather Conditions

The extremely wet conditions of winter lasted well into spring, although conditions improved in time for a succesful flowering. Little rain fell during July and August, and temperatures were low. September fared little better. The result was an abundant crop of poorly ripened grapes.

Best Appellations

Here the picture is much better than in Medoc. With the Merlot picked ripe and some good Cabernet Franc, the wines have developed the lusciousness only usually found elsewhere in Graves. These are lovely rich textured wines now at their peak. Pomerol- the wines here are a shade more structured their St.Emilion, where the wines seem more feminine and have juicier fruit.

Best Producers

Pomerol – a majestic Petrus while excellent wines are also to be found at Certan de May, La Conseillante, L’Eglise-Clinet, L’Evangile, La Fleur-Petrus, La Grave, La Fleur, Latour a Pomerol, Petit Village Trotanoy and Vieux Chateau Certan. St.Emilion – Cheval Blanc, while not as good as the 78 is still a very attractive wine, Figeac is exceptionally good now. Others worth investigating still are Belair, Canon, Beau-Sejour-Becot, Beau-Sejour-Duffau-Lagarrosse, Clos Fourtet, Croque-Michotte, La Dominique, Larmande, Magdelaine, Pavie and La Tour du Pin-Figeac (Moueix).


1980

drink now

little sunshine, and ripening was delayed few wines of note

Weather Conditions

A cool spring followed an unexceptional winter, and the conditions did not promote a good flowering. The weather did not improve much as spring turned to summer, and both June and July were damp and lacking in sunshine. Temperatures picked up in August and it remained warm throughout September. However, there was little sunshine, and ripening was delayed. Rain fell during early October, but conditions improved somewhat for the late harvest. A mediocre vintage throughout Bordeaux with few, if any, wines of note. All should have been drunk up by now.

Best Appellations

Best Producers

Certan de May, Petrus, and Cheval Blanc produced wines better than average.


1981

drink soon

Well-balanced, elegant vintage, now fully mature

Weather Conditions

The weather conditions in 1981 resulted in the production of rather lean wines. Spring was unremarkable, but the flowering was successful, despite a lack of sunshine. Early summer was, again, rather cold and wet, although conditions improved in August, which was dry and sunny, and continued through until late September, when heavy rains fell, bringing the harvest to a temporary halt.
Whites (sweet): The warm conditions from August onwards pushed sugar levels up, and the botrytis was well developed.

Best Appellations

Well-balanced, elegant vintage, now fully mature. Pomerol achieved generally better results than St Emilion although both produced a number of full-bodied, luscious wines.

Best Producers

(Pomerol) Certan de May, La Conseillante, Petrus, Vieux-Chateau-Certan stood out. (St Emilion) Cheval Blanc.


1982

drink soon

A great year for both Pomerol and St.Emilion

Weather Conditions

Spring was mild and dry, with little frost. An early flowering took place under perfect conditions. The start of summer saw a good deal of fine, sunny weather. Light rain fell towards the end of July and continued on, in bursts, throughout a coolish August. Early September, in contrast, was exceptionally hot and dry, promoting a ripening that was so fast that the start of the harvest was one of the earliest in many years. The last week or so of September saw temperatures fall somewhat for the Cabernet Sauvignon harvest in the Medoc.
Whites (sweet): The hot summer resulted in a crop with a very high sugar content, and the change in late September promoted the growth of Noble Rot. Unfortunately, however, high levels of rainfall in October washed away the botrytis and the disappointing harvest took place in terrible weather.

Best Appellations

A great year for both Pomerol, and to a slightly lesser extent, St Emilion as well. Most Pomerols have kept their colour extremely well, and remain rich and satisfying.

Best Producers

(Pomerol) Certan de May, La Conseillante, L’Evangile, La Fleur, Petrus, and Trotanoy. (St Emilion) Ausone, Canon, Cheval Blanc, Figeac, Magdelaine, and Pavie.