Bordeaux by Tb: The recovery from the Second World War was slow and wine producers had many challenges ahead of themselves. Their production facilities were in poor conditions and there was no capital for investments. However, thanks to several great harvests, the period from 1945 up to 1961 has yielded some of the most heralded wines from Bordeaux ever made. 1952 was on a par to end up on the list of the greatest vintages from the period, among 1945, 1947, 1949, 1950, 1953 and 1959.
In 1952, the season started with moderately warm and dry spring. The summer months from June to end of August were dry with daily average temperature of 20,5C. The temperature climbed over 30C on 29 days. Unfortunately the Mother Nature turned its back to the producers at the very end of the season. The rain and cold weather arrived on September 4 and for example in Pauillac it rained for 22 days. The rain diluted partly the crop and due to the cold weather the phenolic ripeness of the late ripening varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon was left slightly short. Thus, the Cabernet Sauvignon dominated Left Bank did less well than the Right Bank, where earlier ripening Merlot is dominating. On the other hand the Right Bank avoided the worst rains during the September and producers like Cheval Blanc with Cabernet Franc –oriented wines, could harvest their crop same time in the middle of September under the better conditions than their colleagues on the Left Bank.
According to our experience the best wines of the vintage have been Cheval Blanc, Pétrus, l’Eglise-Clinet and La Mission Haut-Brion. However, we have been stunned every now and then with lesser known St-Emilions from this vintage. If we compare the prices versus quality of these wines, we can conclude them as the great finds of 1950s’ Bordeauxs that the most are drinking still lovely if the bottles have been restored properly. To get the best enjoyment out of these wines, make sure to decant them just fifteen minutes before serving as they do not handle the air as well as the better vintages.