The Berry Bros & Rudd buying team has tasted more than 500 wines from the eagerly awaited 2004 Bordeaux vintage. The consensus is that 2004 is definitely a classic vintage and in the Médoc the wines are comparable with 1988 or 1996 in style.
Berrys' Bordeaux buyers comment: "2004 is a cool, classic and precise vintage for those properties that monitored the vineyards, green harvested and removed foliage to allow sunshine to ripen the grapes. Some properties that picked the Cabernets during September did not get full maturity from the grapes, however those like Gruaud-Larose who waited to maximize contact with the sun and picked in October produced ripe Cabernets."
The old favourites from Pauillac and St Julien have done very well. They are classic in style, have a good balance of acidity, tannins and the fruit has good aging potential. Fruit was very obvious on the nose with the best wines, but dry tannins dominated the palate, however top wines had great length.
The crop was very generous and so there is plenty of wine about which, hopefully, will keep prices at a sensible level. Interestingly, this is not a year where one particular appellation or variety has come out on top; this year is all about the producer.