2008 is a fascinating Vintage. Robert Parker loves the Vintage and has given many wines high marks. 2008 is a very good Vintage for the Cabernet Sauvignon grape, which enjoyed exceptionally long “hang-time”, many properties not completing their harvests until nearly the end of October.
Climatically, 2008 was a hugely variable year. After a wet and rainy spring and a devastating frost on April 7th that ruined many Sauternes properties’ chances, summer only really arrived at the end of June. overall June and July were drier than average but temperatures remained below normal. Importantly, the weather during the flowering period at the beginning of June was cool and damp and a poor fruit set resulted in low yields throughout the region. August, as anyone who holidayed in France will remember, was dismal and, although total rainfall was not significantly above average, it was persistent rain that gave little chance to the grapes to develop thick skins and required growers to spray regularly if they were to avoid problems with odium and mildew. By the beginning of September, fears were growing that 2008 would be the worst vintage for many years.
Fortunately, from 15th September magnificent weather set in with clear skies and decent temperatures that accelerated the much-needed ripening process. Sugar levels rose quickly and a northerly wind dried out the grapes, concentrating all the elements in the juice (both sugar and acidity) and reducing the ratio of juice to skin. This compensated for the poor summer weather and well-maintained vineyards were able to take advantage of the fine weather by delaying harvesting until the end of October. In the Médoc, most châteaux consider that their later-ripening Cabernet sauvignon benefited more than the Merlot from the autumn weather and indeed was so ripe and generous in texture that it did not need much Merlot to fill it out, e.g. Châteaux Latour and Margaux are 94% and 87% Cabernet sauvignon respectively.
On the right bank, those châteaux with a high proportion of Cabernet franc in the vineyard used most of it in the grand vin adding freshness and extra character to their wines. Overall, 2008 was saved by the Indian summer and has made wines richer and more concentrated than 2007, riper than 2004 and with more charm than 2006. They are very good wines but do not have the depth and character of the very best vintages such as 2000 and 2005, but will age most gracefully.
The wines are now in our stores and in our bonded warehouse. If you are interested in cases under bond please do not hesitate to contact us.
For the lastest tasting notes and reviews of the the 2008 vintage please see below.
Jancis Robinson reviews of the best value 2008's on sale. 2008 Bordeaux