The greatest vineyards have of course proved that they will produce great wine whatever the conditions. In a region as renowned and celebrated for its rich history as Bordeaux, twenty years is a mere blink of the eye. However, the changes over the last two decades have been profound. Vineyards have changed hands, new winemaking techniques have come and gone and of course the worldwide interest in the very greatest wines has gone into overdrive.
Bottle 75cl £91.68
Bottle 75cl £92.18
Bottle 75cl £92.68
Bottle 75cl £192.68
Fashions have seen the rise and fall of the garagistes and the influence of the consultant winemaker. However, for all of these human elements, the 1855 classification remains unchanged and, whether it has been the torrid heat of 2003, the gloom of 2007 or the glory of 2005, the greatest vineyards have proved that they produce great wine whatever the conditions.
In the next twenty years, we will undoubtedly see further pressure on supply at the top with prices continuing to stretch credulity. But what of the hundreds of smaller producers, who have struggled so badly in recent times? Theirs is not the good fortune of great terroir and in a fast moving world, it is here that reform is needed most strongly. The EU wine lake has been emptied and the bad practices that it encouraged are happily draining away too. For the consumer, the result must be the guarantee of ever greater quality because whatever the level of classification, if Bordeaux wants to maintain its position as the number one wine region in the world, quality must be at the centre of its plans.