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2004 Bordeaux


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Tasted the 2004 Bordeaux barrel samples with Bill Blatch of Vintex last week. I don’t have time to post detailed notes but will mention some of the stand-outs. Generally the vintage is a middling one with firm tannins being the catchword. There seems to be sufficient fruit (we are not talking 1975 levels of tannin here) and most should come into balance, but the majority of the wines were rather shut down right now.

The samples had been in bottle for only a couple of weeks at most and it was startling to observe that of the 3 wines that were presented in the form of two half bottles, there was notable bottle variation in 2 out of 3! We are talking 2 WEEKS, not 2 DECADES here!

It should also be noted that while the reds represented the final assemblage, the Sauternes will not be blended yet and may vary in the final blend from what I observed (the assemble 12-20 different wines to make the final wine).

When I say that there is some ‘complexity’ I mean that flavour differentiation is evident – certainly not a given with barrel samples.

Smith Haut Lafite (blanc) – quite good with some toast in the nose and already showing some complexity.

Aiguilhe – this Castillon property has been performing well recently. Purple wine with decent spicy nose. Needs time (as do they all!)

Cambon-la-Pelouse – ungenerous, lacks much nose, tannic and tight

Chasse Spleen – pretty decent with some fruit showing past the tannin.

Sociando Mallet – hard, as expected, but showing better than I’d expected at this stage with quite decent fruit.

Carbonnieux – one that wasn’t hard – early drinker, not unpleasant but not very serious.

Malartic Lagraviere – good, balanced

Smith Haut Lafite – tighter than a ……well you can imagine. Dark, dense and good.

Haut Bailly – lighter colour, lacking in fruit.

Pape Clement – pretty good showing, generous with possibilities.

Giscours – smooth and pleasant – a good one.

Lascombes – dark and tight - hard to read now.

Rauzan Segla – some fruit showing and fair balance.

Lagrange – showing quite well now, a hint of green in the nose, only medium hard, decent fruit. If you are looking for a nice early drinker from this vintage, this could be a candidate.

Leoville Poyferre – perfumed nose and good fruit.

Leoville Barton – tighter than Poyferre but also promising

Montrose – firm but already some complexity evident.

Pontet Canet – excellent levels of fruit evident past the tannins – could be very good.

Faizeau – OK, but not as good as earlier vintages

Quinault l’Enclos – nice nose but tight and a bit astringent on palate.

Couvent des Jacobins – coming together nicely.

Pavie Macquin – dark, not much in the nose yet, but smooth on palate.

Troplong Mondot – Hard!!

Canon la Gaffeliere – some interesting bits showing here – interesting to see it with some age

Clos l’Eglise – lighter weight and starting to show some interesting elements

L’Eglise Clinet – very nice, darker, needs time

Guiraud – this Sauternes was all lemon up front with light botrytis, medium sweet and pleasant.

Rieussec - quite different with honey and concentration, showing more now, with an interesting red licorice element and god intensity of flavour. Hope they don’t mess with this one much in the final assemblage!

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