Terroir and grape variety played a crucial part in the quality of the wines in Saint-Emilion and other Right Bank appellations in 2003. The clay-limestone soils had better water reserves than sand and gravel and thus the vine stressed less in the heat. A number of estates on Saint-Emilion’s limestone plateau and 'côtes' produced some exceptional wines as a result - rich, full and generous, but also long and balanced. It was also a great year for Cabernet Franc, and those wines with a liberal percentage in their blend have the edge. Otherwise, a patchy year of peaks and troughs - dry tannins, lack of sparkle or dilution - though on the whole more positive than negative. James Lawther MW

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Written by Decanter