Bordeaux Satellites, 2003

2003 was a truly unique year, with some great successes and many middle-of-the-road efforts. A vintage for those who enjoy super-concentrated reds, rather than the traditionalist.

It was also a year to sit in the shade as a scorching hot summer in Bordeaux, with temperatures exceeding 40C in August, saw both human and wine catastrophes. However, as well as some real vinous disasters there were also some spectacular wines produced at the top end of the northern Médoc – as Cabernet Sauvignon generally fared much better than Merlot (with the exception of Saint-Émilion’s elite who also produced the goods).

Yields were slightly down on 2002 due to the lack of rain, and many producers found themselves with bunches of oven-roasted berries. Certain growers in the Graves began ‘panic picking’ for their whites as early as mid-August, producing wines low in acidity, while some growers began picking their Merlot in the first week of September for fear of ensuing rains which did not materialise. Those that waited, and who have water-retentive soils, benefited from an extended growing season. The Médoc’s top wines are priced high for investors, but below this there are many keenly priced wines for the consumer. Knowing your producers is especially key in 2003. The dry whites of the Graves tend to lack acidity and vibrancy, with several notable exceptions, while there were some delicious Sauternes. 

The wines

Castillon and Fronsac’s top producers stole the show in the satellite appellations once again, with some good wines at great prices.

Bordeaux Satellites, 2003

2003 was a truly unique year, with some great successes and many middle-of-the-road efforts. A vintage for those who enjoy super-concentrated reds, rather than the traditionalist.

It was also a year to sit in the shade as a scorching hot summer in Bordeaux, with temperatures exceeding 40C in August, saw both human and wine catastrophes. However, as well as some real vinous disasters there were also some spectacular wines produced at the top end of the northern Médoc – as Cabernet Sauvignon generally fared much better than Merlot (with the exception of Saint-Émilion’s elite who also produced the goods).

Yields were slightly down on 2002 due to the lack of rain, and many producers found themselves with bunches of oven-roasted berries. Certain growers in the Graves began ‘panic picking’ for their whites as early as mid-August, producing wines low in acidity, while some growers began picking their Merlot in the first week of September for fear of ensuing rains which did not materialise. Those that waited, and who have water-retentive soils, benefited from an extended growing season. The Médoc’s top wines are priced high for investors, but below this there are many keenly priced wines for the consumer. Knowing your producers is especially key in 2003. The dry whites of the Graves tend to lack acidity and vibrancy, with several notable exceptions, while there were some delicious Sauternes. 

The wines

Castillon and Fronsac’s top producers stole the show in the satellite appellations once again, with some good wines at great prices.

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