Sauternes 'monster vintage'

Dry white wines of Graves and sweet wines of Sauternes have been hailed as the stars of Bordeaux's 2007 vintage.

Both have impressed wine experts and producers at the en primeur tastings in Bordeaux, despite a cold, wet summer and widespread attacks of mildew.

Rémy Edamge, technical director of Domaine de Chevalier in Graves, praised the whites for their acidity, adding that September's heatwave saved the wines. He labelled 2007 a "monster vintage" for Sauternes.

Nicolas Marie, marketing director of Château Cambon La Pelouse in Haut-Médoc, said: "For the whites it's amazing - I've never tasted such good whites, which is due to the Indian summer."

Acclaim for the reds was more muted, with producers describing the style of the vintage as fruit-driven, but lacking in depth and acidity.

Stéphane Donze, from Château Martinat in Côtes de Bourg, said the reds offered soft, primary fruit for early drinking. "They're easy-drinking, fruity and juicy but they're for drinking now - they'll not age for years."

Those châteaux with the money to do rigorous work in the vineyards and with a strict selection policy have made the best wines, according to Marie. He termed the vintage "extremely difficult", saying: "It was a very cold summer so I had to work lots of vines to make green harvesting. I also had to make 12 treatments for mildew, when normally it's four."

American wine expert Robert Parker told French newspaper Le Figaro that, although the vintage was impressive in places, overall the wines were "disappointing" with "herbaceous and vegetal notes".

It is expected that prices will have fallen for all but the top wines.