See Decanter's vintage guide for Médoc and Graves 2002.
Médoc and Graves 2002
Crisp fruity whites and well-structured, stylish reds with aging potential
In the Médoc, weather was unpredictable. November and December were harsh but spring and early summer showed above average temperatures. Bad weather in June hampered fertilisation (coulure and millerandage), especially on the Merlot, and the soft north-east wind in September, by drying the grapes, further reduced volume by 15-20%. With 52+ hours of sunshine, September was the sunniest month in 12 years. Finally, violent storms on September 20-21 caused considerable damage, fortunately very localised.
Bright, warm and sunny weather throughout the harvest period, together with a drying north-east wind, ensured optimum ripeness, especially of the Merlot. Small in quantity, berries were also small in size, but very clean and healthy otherwise. Potential alcohol, due to exceptional ripeness, is around 12.5%.
Jean-Dominique Videau, at Médoc classed growth La Tour Carnet, describes 2002 as ‘the wonder vintage’. ‘Up until 10 September,’ he says, ‘we were seriously worried, but from then on superb weather turned the situation round. Three weeks of bright sunshine with a warm north wind dried out the grapes and helped them achieve optimum maturity. It’s a small vintage, but of excellent quality.’
In Graves, quality was excellent for the dry whites. Despite inclement weather this year, Dominique Haverlan of Vieux Chateau Gaubert and president of the Graves Syndicate, is confident of a good harvest. ‘The grapes are showing excellent aromatic savours,’ he says. ‘Also, acidity is high which means the wines will be fresher and livelier.’ He compares the situation with 1992, a wet year unfavourable for the reds but an excellent white vintage.
Saint Estèphe, Pauillac, Saint Julien, Margaux, Listrac, Moulis and Pessac-Léognan