A general declaration of vintage, the 2003 produced classic Vintage Port. This year's wines have great traditional tannic structure with attractive ripe fruit flavours.
In Piedmont, as elsewhere, the heat wave shrivelled grapes and resulted in some unbalanced musts, although the oldest vines in Barolo and Barbaresco managed to withstand the weather and yield some exceptional wines. As for Tuscany, very difficult heat wave conditions were felt in all but the highest vineyards of Chianti Classico. For this reason, Tuscan 2003 wines tend to be fairly unbalanced.
The hot summer months of June and July, followed by an August heatwave, set the Bordeaux 2003 wine vintage apart from recent years. On tasting, the tannins are rather prominent in many wines. Many of the wines, particularly on the left bank, are very 'new world' in style, frequently displaying super-ripe blackberry, plum and cherry characteristics. Sauternes also showed well, with a number having very good freshness alongside a rich weight of residual sugar and botrytis (noble rot). A 2003 Bordeaux, whether dry or sweet, would make a brilliant 18 year old wine gift for an anniversary celebration this year.