A ferocious hurricane with winds over 120 miles per hour slammed into Bordeaux on December 27, 1998, providing an inauspicious precursor to the 1999 Bordeaux vintage. The first few months of 1999 were normal, but dry. Bud burst occurred during an unusual blast of heat, which was followed by a warm, late spring. However, the climate turned tropical, requiring treatment to avoid the development of mildew. Flowering took place at a good pace, under normal conditions in late May and early June. The start of the summer was fine, with warm, dry weather for both June and July. August started with over three inches of rain on the Bordeaux vineyards. From that point on, everything was once again developing smoothly until a violent hailstorm devastated numerous vineyards September 5, particularly in St. Emilion, where numerous vineyards were forced to start their harvest the following day. Heavy rain fell in September, soaking the vineyards and diluting the grapes. This resulted in a difficult vintage, with high yields, making it hard to produce high quality 1999 Bordeaux wine. But with the improved knowledge of vineyard techniques gained in the decade preceding the 1999 vintage, green harvesting, the willingness to make severe selections in the vineyards and in the cellars, the ability to remove excess water from the wine and concentrate juice, and patience in selecting times for harvesting, it was possible to produce some lovely 1999 Bordeaux wines, particularly in Pomerol.
The 1999 vintage of Château Pomeaux was harvested in the last week of September 1999 and, after malolactic fermentation in new small oak barrels and aging in new oak barrels, was bottled in June 2001. The 1999 vintage of Château Pomeaux is extraordinarily robust, fruity, powerful, and elegant.
“Coup de Couer” (Supreme Award for Pomerol wines): “Small vineyard planted exclusively in Merlot on a crasse ferruginous soil in the Toulifaut area. The 1998 vintage of this wine received two stars in our previous guide. The 1999 vintage is even better and it receives the “Coup de Couer” (Supreme Award). Our taster was impressed by its outstanding concentration, its Bordeaux color, its young, ripe liquorice flavor, its sweetness, and its hint of truffles. The wine is mouthwatering, sensual, and structured with spicy tannins. A superb Pomerol to keep. In five to fifteen years, it will be a gastronomic classic.”
“Wine of the Month” for July 2001: “100% Merlot grown on the southern slopes of Pomerol. This stood out in the tasting thanks to its very ripe black cherry fruit with creamy oak and a touch of caramel. Very deep and rich nose. High acidity and firm tannins on a complex fruit base with delicious sweetness. This will last for some time….”
“That very expensive French terroir has produced yet another classic that is worth every penny. An intensely ripe dense black cherry fruit and creamy oak with some cedarwood and a touch of caramel on the nose. Ripe dry and youthful wine with lovely sweetness, complexity, good crisp acidity and firm tannins. Delicious.”
“The next Le Pin.”
“I like the nut, chocolate and berry character. Medium body, with delicate silky tannins and a fresh and clean finish.”
“Deep, dark, intense and stylish nose with good weight. Almost opaque. Toasty, bisquity concentration on mid palate. Liquorice, dark core of fruit, firmly structured. Blackburry fruit and heady spice, but well managed, finely textured tannins.”
“A very nice bottle which is both powerful and delicate at the same time. The wine is very long in the mouth with elegant and delicate tannins, which give a very delicate style. The finish is rich, long and very intense. Here we have a wine that is gushing with vigor. A tasting revelation.”