1978 was a very good vintage for Bordeaux wines. The weather was terrible until the beginning of August, but the resisted grapes were saved by a magnificent late season. The harvest was late (shortly before October 10), producing very fruity, colourful and moderately tannic wines. Notable successes in the Graves, as well as in the majority of classified Grand Crus of the Medoc (Margaux Grand Crus Classes, Pauillac Grand Crus Classes and Saint Julien Grands Crus Classe). In Barsac and Sauternes (which represent the vast majority of white wines from Bordeaux) , the hot and dry autumn did not favour the development of noble rot, and the wines lack a bit of complexity and definition. In Burgundy, the 1978 summer begins after mid August, but it lingers, allowing the harvest to start after October 10. The wines were superb young and age gracefully, giving delicate aromas of blackcurrant and truffle for the red Burgundy wines, and honey and mousseron mushrooms for the 1978 white Burgundy wines. 1978 is the best vintage of the decade for the Rhone Valley, carried by its tannins and acidity, the 1978 Cote Rotie and 1978 Chateauneuf du Pape are immense. Good 1978 Loire reds and low quantity and beautiful quality for 1978 Champagne.
All the wines of the vintage are now mature, the advice for choosing a wine from 1978 will direct you in Bordeaux to the Grands Crus Classes of Pauillac, Margaux, St Julien, or to the Graves (white or red). Burgundy has had its best vintage for a long time, and when the wines of noble origins have been well cellared, they are excellent. The Rhone Valley also deserves great attention, as it is a benchmark vintage.
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