THE MAGIC OF VINTAGES

“Bordeaux 1795: every morning, come rain or come shine, a man sits at the same table and makes note of the weather, often enriching his text with personal observations based on his moods and the events of the day.”
De l’air du temps –Tastet Lawton – Editions Confluences.

This would be an apt introduction to the “memory” of Bordeaux’s wines the Tastet & Lawton brokerage house founded by Abraham Lawton, who came from Ireland in 1739. This firm undertook the tremendous task of summarizing and archiving, day after day, the production conditions and various successes in the birthplace of one of the world’s greatest wines. We offer here an extract of this valuable work which offers points of reference to help orient you in your tastings both past and future.

Harvests since 1795


Year Note Start of harvesting Volume Quality Comments

2005 20 18-sept. Average Exceptional Historically great vintage. Generally successful. Exceptional.
2004 17 16-sept. Abundant Very good Close to 2002, more fruity, more dense.
2003 18 02-sept. Average Very good Heat wave in summer. Much potential to be a great vintage.
2002 16 24-sept. Average Good Cabernet very successful. Powerful and structured.
2001 17 25-sept. Abundant Very good Better structured than 1999. Elegant vintage.
2000 19 18-sept. Abundant Exceptional Greatest vintage of the century, similar to the 1900!
1999 16 30-août Abundant Very good Very harmonious vintage which can age well.
1998 17 23-sept. Abundant Very good Very successful wines, endowed with good potential.
1997 15 07-sept. Abundant Good Fruity, supple, charming wines.
1996 18 18-sept. Abundant Very good Great year for long-aging wines in the Médoc.
Year Note Start of harvesting Volume Quality Comments

1995 17 13-sept. Abundant Very good Homogenous year. Great red wines, supple and harmonious.
1994 15 13-sept. Abundant Good Classic red wines.
1993 14 20-sept. Very Abundant Rather good Rather rapidly evolving red wines. Very good.
1992 12 24-sept. Very Abundant Average Red wines at their plateau.
1991 13 27-sept. Very little Rather good Frost on April 21st. Red wines at their plateau.
1990 19 10-sept. Very Abundant Exceptional Great, hot year. Wines with great aging potential.
1989 19 03-sept. Abundant Exceptional Very great year for long-aging wines.
1988 17 28-sept. Very Abundant Very good Classic wines which need to age.
1987 14 01-oct. Average Rather good Supple wines, fruity and elegant; satisfying to drink while young.
1986 18 26-sept. Very Abundant Very good Very great year for long-aging wines in the Médoc.
1985 18 25-sept. Abundant Very good Already remarkable wines.
1984 12 01-oct. Average Average Year of often disappointing wines.
1983 17 26-sept. Abundant Very good Fully expressive wines.
1982 19 13-sept. Very Abundant Exceptional Magnificent wines, long-lasting, through to the middle of the next century.
1981 16 28-sept. Average Good Wines at their maturity.
1980 13 10-oct. Average Rather good Supple and fruity. Most are on the decline.
1979 16 01-oct. Very Abundant Good The best wines are harmonious and balanced.
1978 17 05-oct. Average Very good Classic wines, elegant, at their best.
1977 11 04-oct. Little Average Frost on March 31st and April 9th. Hard wines without a future.
1976 16 13-sept. Abundant Good Quickly evolving.
1975 17 22-sept. Average Very good Tannic wines of uneven quality. Some great successes.
1974 12 24-sept. Abundant Average Disappointing year.
1973 12 20-sept. Very Abundant Average In decline; very few successes.
1972 10 09-oct. Average Good Often average wines.
1971 17 27-sept. Little Very good Wines that are elegant and a little tender, the finest are at their best.
1970 18 24-sept. Very Abundant Very good Tannic and rather hard wines. The best will age into the next century.
1969 12 23-sept. Little Average Average year.
1968 6 22-sept. Average Mediocre On the decline compared to the previous vintage.
1967 14 25-sept. Average Rather good Average vintage in the Médoc.
1966 17 20-sept. Average Very good Classic vintage of great elegance. The decade’s best, after 1961.
1965 3 30-sept. Abundant Médiocre Disappointing year.
1964 17 21-sept. Abundant Very good Uneven quality; several great wines for long aging.
1963 3 01-oct. Abundant Médiocre Very average year.
1962 17 01-oct. Abundant Very good Pleasant, charming wines to taste; reminiscent of the 1924s.
1961 20 17-sept. Very little Exceptional Great vintage of the century.
1960 12 15-sept. Average Average Rather average vintage, on the decline.
1959 19 20-sept. 1/2 normal harvest Exceptional Hot and dry year. Difficult vinifications. Very great wines, still improving with age.
1958 12 06-oct. 1/2 normal harvest Average Little vintage.
1957 12 30-sept. Not Abundant Average Alarming degree of coulure. With few exceptions, wines in decline.
1956 9 07-oct. 1/4 normal harvest Médiocre Catastrophic frost in February; little or no production.
1955 18 14-sept. Average Very good Firm, concentrated, long to open up. Several very great bottles.
1954 9 22-sept. Average Médiocre In decline. Clean, healthy wines but lacking in maturity.
1953 18 11-sept. Average Very good Great classic year: balance, richness, finesse, long-lasting.
1952 17 02-oct. Average Very good Firm, tannic, long-aging: some great bottles.
1951 8 18-sept. Average Médiocre Very average wines.
1950 16 22-sept. Abundant Good Light, pleasant wines. Several great wines.
1949 18 22-sept. Average Very good Magnificent wines: can still continue to age. Similar to 1947.
1948 15 15-sept. Average Good Several exceptional wines.
1947 18 25-sept. Average Very good Several legendary bottles which approach perfection. Wines full of charm.
1946 10 07-sept. Average Average In decline. Green wines, lacking maturity.
Year Note Start of harvesting Volume Quality Comments

1945 19 21-sept. 1/2 normal harvest Exceptional Disastrous frost on May 2nd. Very concentrated wines, many still surprisingly young.
1944 10 09-sept. Average Average Little year.
1943 17 14-sept. Average very good Several great successes.
1942 11 30-sept. Average Average With the 1943s, the best year of this period.
1941 2 20-sept. Average Poor No successes.
1940 13 24-sept. Average rather good Rather light wines.
1939 12 21-sept. Very Abundant Average In decline. Light and fragrant wines.
1938 12 13-sept. Average Average In decline. “Useful” wines without great quality.
1937 17 26-sept. Average Very good Still many great wines.
1936 5 25-sept. Average Médiocre Green wines lacking maturity.
1935 9 10-sept. Abundant Médiocre Green wines lacking maturity.
1934 17 21-sept. Abondant very good Several great bottles that are still pleasant to drink.
1933 11 10-oct. Average Average Light and fragrant wines.
1932 0 20-sept. 1/2 normal harvest Poor Comparable to 1930
1931 4 30-sept. Average Médiocre Year close to the preceding vintage.
1930 0 19-sept. 1/2 normal harvest Poor A vintage to forget.
1929 20 18-sept. Average Exceptional Great vintage of the century.
1928 19 23-sept. Average Exceptional Remarkable wines; some a little hard.
1927 2 27-sept. Average Poor Very little vintage.
1926 18 28-sept. 1/2 normal harvest Very good Certain wines are still exceptional. Much coulure.
1925 5 16-sept. Abundant Médiocre Green wines lacking maturity.
1924 17 27-sept. Abundant Very good Certain wines are still exceptional.
1923 12 11-sept. Average Average Wines with little color, somewhat burnt.
1922 5 11-sept. Very Abundant Médiocre Wines light and flat.
1921 18 17-sept. Average very good Extremely hot year, difficult to age wines. Still several great bottles.
1920 16 20-sept. Average Good Still several fine bottles.
1919 10 20-sept. Abundant Average Light wines without great quality.
1918 10 17-sept. Average Average Wines healthy but harsh.
1917 8 22-sept. Average Médiocre Light and fragrant wines.
1916 15 20-sept. Average Good Solid and full-bodied wines, lacking a bit of charm.
1915 0 17-sept. 1/2 normal harvest Poor A year to forget.
1914 8 24-sept. Average Médiocre Wines which were believed to be very good turned out to be great disappointments.
1913 2 23-sept. Abundant Poor Flat wines.
1912 2 18-sept. Abundant Poor Wines lacking a lot of structure.
1911 14 04-oct. Average Rather good A very hot year.
1910 0 23-sept. 1/4 normal harvest Poor Very mediocre vintage.
1909 8 17-sept. Average Médiocre Disappointing wines. Believed to be good at first.
1908 8 23-sept. Average Médiocre Wines a little hard, lacking charm.
1907 12 10-sept. Abundant Average Light, elegant, resembling the 1905s.
1906 16 18-sept. 1/2 normal harvest Good Wines with exceptionally full body.
1905 12 14-sept. Abundant Average Light but very elegant wines.
1904 16 21-sept. Abundant Good Wines which disappointed with age.
1903 2 23-sept. Abundant Poor Insignificant year.
1902 0 11-sept. Abundant Poor Wines without character. Forget them.
1901 6 19-sept. Very Abundant Médiocre Thin wines which sold for practically nothing. Certain wines turned out to be very pleasant.
1900 20 24-sept. Very Abundant Exceptional Great vintage of the century.
1899 24-sept. Abundant harvest Year of very great quality
1898 23-sept. 1/2 normal harvest Wines that were a little hard but came to be appreciated later
1897 20-sept. 1/2 normal harvest Very mediocre wines
1896 20-sept. Very Abundant Fine and delicate wines
Year Note Start of harvesting Volume Comments

1895 22-sept. Average harvest A year of great heat. Many wines spoiled by acidity. The wines which were spared were remarkable
1894 05-oct. 1/2 normal harvest Wines of little quality, green and meager
1893 15-août Exceptionally Abundant Wines thought to be excellent became major disappointments
1892 22-sept. 1/2 normal harvest A blast of hot air August 15th—45°C, wines burnt and lacking color; elegant
1891 02-oct. Average harvest Mediocre and green wines
1890 29-sept. Average harvest Full-bodied, deeply-colored wines; rather good
1889 29-sept. Abundant harvest Decent year, rather elegant wines
1888 02-oct. Abundant harvest Good year, elegant wines
1887 19-sept. 1/2 normal harvest Full-bodied, healthy wines thanks to treatment against mildew
1886 25-sept. 2/3 normal harvest Ordinary quality, wines deeply affected by mildew
1885 29-sept. 1/2 normal harvest Very ordinary quality, wines touched by mildew
1884 25-sept. 2/3 normal harvest Mediocre wines; mildew
1883 27-sept. Average harvest Light wines, very ordinary quality
1882 28-sept. Average harvest Very light wines, rather elegant; touched by mildew
1881 12-sept. Not very abundant Wines solid, but without charm
1880 21-sept. Not very abundant Ordinary year
1879 09-oct. Not very abundant Ordinary year
1878 19-sept. Rather abundant Very good year
1877 20-sept. Rather abundant Light year but charming wines
1876 26-sept. Not very abundant Very ordinary year
1875 24-sept. Very abundant Wines very good and elegant
1874 14-sept. Very abundant Very good wines
1873 20-sept. Not very abundant Ordinary year; terrible frost April 28th
1872 22-sept. Not very abundant Ordinary year
1871 18-sept. Rather abundant Wines light but very elegant
1870 10-sept. Rather abundant Wines very good, very ripe, and very full-bodied
1869 15-sept. Very abundant Remarkable and complete wines
1868 07-sept. Rather abundant Coarse wines, hard, lacking charm, too expensive
1867 18-sept. Rather abundant Ordinary
1866 21-sept. Average harvest Very poor
1865 06-sept. Very abundant Wines good and ripe, but hard; took a long time to come together
1864 17-sept. Very abundant Exquisite, extremely mellow, ripe, fragrant and rich (balanced wines)
1863 23-sept. Not very abundant Adequate quality but lacking maturity
1862 20-sept. Rather abundant Average quality
1861 22-sept. Very small harvest due to major frost on May 6th Good wines, elegant and very expensive
1860 26-sept. Abundant harvest Very light, very bad wines
1856 01-oct. Not very abundant harvest due to powdery mildew Very ordinary wines showing a taste of powdery mildew
1855 07-oct. Not very abundant harvest due to powdery mildew Very mediocre wines, considered good at first and sold at a high price
1854 06-oct. Not very abundant harvest due to powdery mildew Very mediocre wines, considered good at first and sold at a high price
1853 09-oct. Very minimal harvest Very poor year
1852 24-sept. Average harvest Very light wines, rather good
1851 27-sept. Average harvest Good, robust wines
1850 29-sept. Abundant harvest Very light, ordinary wines
1849 22-sept. Average harvest Ordinary year
1848 20-sept. Very abundant Exquisite, robust wines
1847 27-sept. Very abundant Exquisite wines, not very robust
1846 14-sept. Rather abundant Good, robust wines
year Note Start of harvesting Volume Comments

1845 10-oct. Very minimal harvest Very poor year
1844 15-sept. Abundant harvest Ordinary year
1843 06-oct. Very minimal harvest Very poor year
1842 20-sept. Minimal harvest Ordinary year
1841 18-sept. Very abundant Excellent year
1840 17-sept. Abundant harvest Good year
1839 26-sept. Average harvest Ordinary year
1838 29-sept. Very minimal harvest Very mediocre year
1837 25-sept. Abundant harvest Ordinary year
1836 24-sept. Minimal harvest Very poor year
1835 23-sept. Abundant harvest Light, elegant wines (average quality)
1834 09-sept. Very minimal harvest Excellent year
1833 21-sept. Abundant harvest Ordinary year
1832 22-sept. Very minimal harvest Ordinary year, without charm
1831 14-sept. Very minimal harvest Excellent year, very mellow
1830 16-sept. Very minimal harvest Mediocre year
1829 26-sept. Ordinary harvest Detestable year
1828 15-sept. Ordinary harvest Marvelous year for wines with elegance, grace, fragrance, delicious taste
1827 20-sept. Abundant harvest Without reputation at first, but ending up admirably well
1826 20-sept. Rather abundant Very mediocre
1825 11-sept. Ordinary harvest Very robust wines which became quite admirable, but which took a very long time to develop
1824 04-oct. Very little wine Disappointing year
1823 07-oct. Very ordinary harvest Without color, value or reputation the first year; later a very elegant wine with a well-deserved success
1822 27-août Very ordinary harvest Rather dry but good, robust wines
1821 04-oct. Smaller harvest than 1819 Insignificant, mediocre year
1820 30-sept. Good half-harvest Year lacking character, without color
1819 20-sept. Ordinary harvest Perfect, admirable year
1818 17-sept. Half-harvest Rather good year, although a tad hard and of little reputation
1817 03-oct. 1/5 normal harvest Very ordinary year
1816 27-oct. 1/4 volume of an abundant year Detestable year
1815 25-sept. Very little wine Marvelous, on a par with the 1798 and 1811
1814 29-sept. Ordinary harvest Very good
1813 04-oct. Ordinary harvest Mediocre year, lacking character
1812 21-sept. Very ordinary harvest Weak, insignificant year
1811 14-sept. Rather abundant The most remarkable wines; known as “The Year of the Comet”
1810 19-sept. Ordinary harvest Passable year
1809 06-oct. Small harvest Very poor year
1808 13-sept. Ordinary harvest Good year, ordinary wines
1807 11-sept. Small harvest Good year
1806 20-sept. Ordinary harvest Poor year
1805 23-sept. Abundant harvest Mediocre year
1804 15-sept. Average harvest Mediocre year
1803 25-sept. Average harvest Less than 1802, nonetheless good
1802 23-sept. Average harvest Marvelous year, almost rivals 1798
1801 14-sept. Not very abundant Poor year
1800 23-sept. Not very abundant Poor year
1799 05-oct. Not very abundant Poor year
1798 13-sept. Passably abundant Marvelous vintage, still spoken of 20 years later; full, robust silky wines
1797 02-oct. Not very abundant Mediocre year, thin wines
1796 30-sept. Not very abundant Mediocre year, thin wines
1795 24-sept. Not very abundant Very good year



L'abus d'alcool est dangereux pour la santé, à consommer avec modération.