2001 is a very good Bordeaux vintage. It is not a year to imitate the opulence of the 2000s, it's more old-fashioned in style and will suit those properties that make wines that strive to express their terroir. If we are to compare it to previous vintages in terms of quality, 2001 would rival 1985 or 1986. The keynote characteristics of the reds are freshness, purity, and direction. The best wines show wonderfully pure fruit and firm tannins in good balance, with a wide range of well-focussed flavours. Over the next decade they will mature into classic wines. If they will never have the same weight or opulence of the 2000s they will have great grace and finesse.
The châteaux who have tried to make claret, in the most classic sense of the word, have, by and large, succeeded. Those who have tried to create a New World style Bordeaux have missed the mark dramatically. Some châteaux, predominantly but not exclusively, from the Pomerol and St Emilion regions, have tried to make huge, dense, wines with lots of new oak. In many cases this approach has led to wines with over-extracted, slightly `green' fruit. Overall, the best communes for the reds seem to be St. Julien, Pauillac, Margaux and Pessac Léognan.
Retasting in 2011 revealed that these 2001 wines are very approachable having reached ten years of age, and following a recent tasting Jancis Robinson comments “those who bought 2001 red bordeaux en primeur should feel quite pleased with themselves. And those who bought 2001 sweet white bordeaux should feel very smug indeed.”