The first appearances of leaves at the beginning of March, and flowering as early as the end of May heralded a very early vintage. From the 1st August, stifling southerly winds and a long drought plunged the whole of France into a blazing furnace. From the 20th August, an atmospheric disturbance from the west put an end to the drought, although a lot of the grapes had already stopped ripening, especially on the sand and bank gravel terroirs. The Merlot grape variety suffered the most. An exceptional vintage was predicted during the primeur wine tasting sessions, without taking these weather conditions into consideration; today many of the wines have been judged incomplete, with limited fruit, a light structure and tannins that are often too ripe. These characteristics point to a premature development and a short cellaring capacity. Only the best terroirs ¿ the Saint Emilion plateau, the clay soil of Pomerol and the gravelly parcels near to the Médoc estuary ¿ fared well. As for the sweet wines, they are extraordinary, with a aromatic pureness and a richness comparable to those of 1989 and 1990. Finally the dry whites in the great terroirs, where low yields and a meticulous viticulture are practised, showed great promise.