Medoc/Graves - 2002
Contrast with 2003. Pauillac and St-Julien can be very fine and worth keeping for ten years or more.
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 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 20th-21st 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 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 10th 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.'