The Bordeaux 2000 vintage fully lives up to expectations, an expert panel of judges at a Decanter tasting has decided.

In the first major tasting of the 2000 Médoc Crus Classes since they were bottled in September last year, January’s panel handed out an unprecedented nine Decanter awards – but not to the first growths.

‘Unquestionably great,’ Nick Adams MW said. ‘As good as 1982 or 1990,’ was the verdict of Steven Spurrier, while Hugo Rose MW thought the tannins were ‘brilliantly managed’.

The nine awards went to Châteaux Montrose, Pontet-Canet, Ferriere, Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pichon-Longueville Baron, Giscours, Lynch-Bages, Dauzac and Du Tertre.

Of the First Growths, Chateaux Margaux, Latour and Mouton were all highly recommended (4 stars). Haut Brion and Lafite were not tasted.

The tasting panel, which also included Stephen Brook, David Peppercorn MW, David Molyneux-Berry MW, and James Seely, was unanimous in its praise. The tasters were particularly pleased at the way the wines were showing after a very disappointing Union des Grands Crus tasting in November last year. Derek Smedley MW said, ‘Today has brought it all back. They are lovely wines.’

The panel even managed to say nice things about the price. The general consensus was that the wines were – sometimes ridiculously – overpriced, but that didn’t matter when they were destined to be legends. ‘If I could afford them, I would buy them,’ was a typical comment.

The praise was not universally handed out. The commune of Margaux came in for some criticism, Nick Adams saying the tannins were ‘obvious and intrusive’, and others agreeing with him.

Overall the tasters found it difficult to praise too much. There were some rumblings of discontent about lack of communal variance – the panel couldn’t distinguish between areas in some cases but Steven Spurrier thought one could rarely detect the hand of the winemaker.

‘The vintage spoke,’ he said, ‘and that is a triumph for Bordeaux.’

  • Full tasting notes and vintage assessments appear in the April issue of Decanter magazine (on sale March 2), and tasting notes only in decanter.com Recommendations

    Written by Adam Lechmere