Tasting Bordeaux From 2007 And 2006

The Four Seasons New York

In pursuit of a Sherry-Lehmann-sponsored tasting of the 2006 and 2007 Bordeaux, I wandered over to the Four Seasons restaurant in Manhattan on Saturday afternoon.

Given that I’ve dedicated myself and this site to wine education and wine appreciation rather than ratings and numbers, I’ll just list my favorite wines from the tasting and fill in more information if get the time.

My very favorite is the Chateau Angelus 2007 from St. Emilion. Granted, everything from this estate is very pricey, as it’s a Class B Premier Grand Cru Classe from the rather strange St. Emilion classification system. My second choice is the Chateau Gazin 2006 from Pomerol. I’ve got a case of the 05 resting comfortably in my cellar, and they may get some younger friends soon, I think.

My third choice is the Chateau Kirwan 2006 from Margaux. Here I think the influence of 10-12% Petit Verdot really adds something.

My fourth choice is the Chateau Figeac 2007 from St. Emilion.

Rounding out the top five is Chateau Giscours 2007 from Margaux.

Many though not all of the ‘sixes seem identical to me – and too acidic, too tannic – sometimes roughly so – and generally lacking the fruit I like. But if you look at my top favorites, you’ll also see that three of the top five are so-called right-bank wines, which are heavy on Merlot and much less so, on Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Vintages

It seems that the ’06 vintage is the product of a generally lousy year, climactically speaking. There was lower than average rain from spring until summer when it was most needed, followed by searing heat in July that nearly shut down the vines. August brought cool and rainy days and the threat of rot with them. And then in mind-September, a deluge of rain. These are ideal conditions.

Ideal for a lousy harvest, that is. Yet I still found a few sixes that I like.

Before fall the ’07 wasn’t turning out any better…until September (I was there) when a month of helping winds, sunshine and consistently warm days really pulled this one out, unlike my adopted NJ Jets, who were unfortunately unable to (pull it out) last weekend. At the same time, the earlier summer rains produced a lot of noble rot and excellent sweet Sauternes.

Some other Reds from the two vintages that I really like include:

  • 2007 Chateau Labegorce Margaux
  • 2007 Chateau Lascombes Margaux
  • 2006 Chateau Beychevelle St. Julien
  • 2006 Chateau Lynch-Bages Pauillac
  • 2006 Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande Pauillac
  • 2006 Chateau Cantemerle Haut-Medoc
  • 2007 Chateau Branaire Ducru St. Julien

Now I’m sure that a lot of the “big name” wine writers, including some that I greatly respect such as Jancis Robinson, will have a very different view.  I didn’t look at their ratings so as not to have any prejudices.

And my point here is what it always is – You do need to train your palate and educate yourself a bit, and then, follow your taste buds.