2003 Bordeaux wines tasting notes :

Horizontal tasting, Bordeaux wines

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> 2003 Charmail

Haut-Medoc - Bordeaux France 


Chateau CharmailLight ruby hue. At first, the nose is rather weird with metallic notes before turning to more standard cocoa and liquorice aromas. Willowy body with a somewhat angular outline. The fruit clearly lacks maturity while the tannins are thin and bitter. Unharmonious acidity on the midpalate and not much fruit on the finish. This is quite unusual given the vintage. My feeling is the grapes were picked too early and that the winemaker contributed excessively on tartaric acid? All in all a disappointing Charmail 2003. 80/100


> 2003 Rollan de By

Medoc - Bordeaux France 


Chateau Rollan de ByDark crimson hue. The nose smells lovely, with a perfume of spices and ripe cherry. Dynamic and well balanced structure with gobs of juicy fresh fruit. Rollan de By 2003 is really pleasant and absolutely drinkable at this stage. This tasting confirms ccvo-bg's statistical conclusion, which emphasized this estate as one of the good QPR for 2003. However my guess is that it should be consumed within the next 3-8 years because it doesn't necessary has the structure to age for decades. 88/100

> 2003 Saint-Pierre

Saint-Julien - Bordeaux  France  


Chateau Saint PierreDark garnet color. Very forward flavours of creamy cassis and currants, vanilla, chocolate as well as an eucalyptus note. 
Full bodied, dense, with a tight structure. Saint-Pierre's silky tannins end up superbly and bode particularily well with the rich and fresh fruit. Remarkably smooth with a great mineral feeling on the midpalate. Beautiful round and long finish showing some nutmeg and a beautiful fruit. For those of you who've not bothered with Saint-Pierre in some time, this is worth drinking. 92/100

> 2003 Phélan-Segur

Saint Estephe - Bordeaux France  


Chateau Phelan SegurRelatively light garnet. Spicy and torrefied bouquet with beautiful ripe blackberries and raspberries. Round and balanced body with velvety tannins. In spite of the specific characteristics related to this canicular year, Phelan-Segur manages to preserve a pleasant freshness throughout the palate. But it somewhat loses its grip on the finish. Will this simply be a momentary evolution? Quite good although one had perhaps hoped for a lusher wine in 2003. 89/100


> 2003 Malartic la Graviere

Pessac-Leognan-Graves - Bordeaux France 


Deep sanguine red color. Hedonistic aromas of spices, coffee and ripe red fruit. In the mouth, this is lush, concentrated and round with elegant tannins and a nice cool touch. Slight hollow on the midpalate but consistent finish. This is a good wine that anyone will like. 87-89/100

Chateau Malartic la Gravière

> 2003 Pape-Clément

Pessac-Leognan-Graves - Bordeaux France 


Chateau Pape ClémentDark and opaque red colour. It smells like chocolate, ripe cherries, intense and creamy red fruits, pencil shavings and eucalyptus. The flavor is incredibly concentrated and delicious, well balanced in spite of persistent tannins. It just oozes around your mouth! No doubt Pape-Clement 2003 will be extremely popular among the aficionados for ripe and tasty wines. Tasted together with Haut-Brion 2003, the difference in style between the First Growth and Pape-Clement is particularly striking this year. 92-94/100

> 2003 Haut-Brion

Pessac-Leognan-Graves - Bordeaux France 

Château Haut BrionInteresting to note the relatively high proportion of Merlot (51%) in the final blending
To the contrary of Pape-Clement 2003 in the same flight, the nose is not very flamboyant with delicate red fruit flavours, cedar and lilac as well as a light but nevertheless distinctive animal note. The touch in mouth is beautiful. Penetrating ripe and dense fruit with a great balance. The tannins are just tight enough to be enjoyable. Splendid but not overly long finish. At the current level of pleasure, I rated it 90/100 today - potentially 96/100 in 20 years.


> 2003 Pavie-Macquin

Saint Emilion - Bordeaux France


Chateau Pavie-MacquinVery luminous hue. Intense up front nose of currants, licorice and black olive, as well as a pleasant mineral touch. The structure in mouth is very powerful, dense and creamy, although the tannins were a bit too dry for my taste. The texture is very tight and dense but suddenly the alcohol explodes in mouth and underlines a bitter finish. Pavie-Macquin 2003 is all but a traditional Saint Emilion and I acknowledge by tasting blind, that my guess was more on a Super-Tuscan pirate (in particular because of the black olive flavours), rather than on a Great Classified Growth of Saint-Emilion. This lack of typicity somewhat disconcerted, if not disturbed me today. 86-88/100

The 2003 vintage was extraordinary (in the sense that it was not ordinary) and this shows more particularly on Merlot based wines. Therefore a number of Right Bank properties have probably lost a share of their usual style and typicity this year.

> 2003 Eglise Clinet

Pomerol - Bordeaux France 


Chateau Eglise ClinetPurple almost opaque coloured hue. Intense concentration of blackcurrant, black pepper, vanilla. Expressive and sensual mouth with gobs of ripe fruit. There are great big chocolate merlot notes to this. Chewy and slightly astringents tannins at this stage. Remarkably dense and tight. Great potential in the longer term. 90-92/100 today - potentially 96


> 2003 Leoville Poyferre

Saint-Julien - Bordeaux France


Chateau Léoville PoyferreOpulent flavours of blackcurrant, liquorice, cocoa and menthol. Large bodied with awesome power and weight. Well structured tannins which currently overwhelm the fruit. Long and persistent finish, perhaps just a little less complex and more closed at this stage than Leoville Barton 2003. An unmistakably great Leoville Poyferre for years of keeping. 92/100


> 2003 Leoville Barton

Saint-Julien - Bordeaux France


Château Léoville BartonDark red with opaque core. Complex and dense flavours of red fruits, spices, cocoa and a delicate balsamic note. Big and juicy in the mouth, progressively dense and deep with a tight structure. The fruit is absolutely magnified, so seductive until the finish, long and harmonious, suggesting an elegant taste of cedarwood cigar box. Anthony Barton and his team have again signed another Master piece! 96/100


> 2003 Margaux

Margaux - Bordeaux France 


Château MargauxGreat classic Left Bank Bordeaux nose with subtle licorice, floral, ripe fruit and delicate vanilla flavours. Quite a powerful structure but the tannins remain smooth and reveal this refined and unique style which one immediatly relates to Chateau Margaux. Long finish which, unfortunately, ends slightly disjointed by a woody aftertaste. Margaux 2003 needs time and will certainly be a great wine in a few decades. Probably the most atypical bottle tonight, in the way that it expresses the best the soil's original style (elegance, delicacy) considering the very particular conditions of the 03 vintage. 92-94/100

> 2003 Sociando-Mallet

Haut-Medoc - Bordeaux France 


Chateau Sociando MalletVery dark and crimson hue. This nose is superbly rich, it oozes of blackcurrant, sandalwood, soft spices, saffron as well as a green pepper touch. The structure is dynamic and well balanced. The tannins are not as marked as one would have retrospectively thought of and they balance harmoniously the beautiful ripe fruit. The finish is a bit short and comparatively lacks complexity to Léoville Barton and Château Margaux. Probably the competition was a bit too serious in this flight for Sociando but the wine of Jean Gautreau takes up the challenge more than valiantly. 89/100 

> 2003 Calon Segur

Saint Estephe - Bordeaux France 


Chateau Calon SegurThe bouquet is mainly characterized by red fruits and cappuccino. There are some diffuse elements that are hard to pinpoint but are making the wine appear less clean and defined. There's clearly a curious earthy, wet and lacteous smell. The palate is on ripe fruits and very firm tannins. Although it is well framed and powerful, this sample simply doesn't match the elegance of Cos d'Estournel  or Montrose tonight. I have some doubts over the quality of this sample. To re-assess. NR.

2003 Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande -
Pauillac - Bordeaux, France


Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de LalandeDeep purple hue. Very big, sturdy nose with notes of vanilla and smoked cedar wood with delicious nuances of creamy red fruit and fig. Tight body with mouth-coating tannins. A slightly over-matured raspberry taste comes out on the midpalate. Well balanced and persistent. Great power and finesse rolled into one. A very promising Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande which will need a lot of patience to come out. 91/100


> 2003 Pontet Canet

Pauillac - Bordeaux, France


Dark purple color. Fabulous complex bouquet of intense currant, ripe cherries, balsam, pencil shavings and resin. Fullbodied and with lots of black currant power and strong tannins. Quite massive and well crafted. Pontet-Canet 2003 confirmes the progress made by the property in the last few years. A beautiful Pauillac which needs another 10 years of patience. 90/100






Chateau Pontet Canet

> 2003 Cos d'Estournel

Saint Estephe - Bordeaux France 


Chateau Cos d'EstournelDark ruby. Great aromatic intensity with sweet flavours of currant, mocha and fruit liquor. The structure in mouth is very dense and extremely well balanced with so much gorgeous fruit on the front of the palate! The beauty of this wine consists in holding the remarkable precision of its structure in spite of the huge concentration of the fruit. The tannins are beautifully extracted while finishing on a slightly austere note, contrasting otherwise with the wine's singular exhuberance. A modern styled wine, well in line with the recent vintages produced at Cos d'Estournel. Huge potential of evolution. 97/100

> 2003 Montrose

Saint Estephe - Bordeaux France 


Chateau MontroseDeep crimson color. My first impression right out of the glass is of a classic bordeaux character given the vintage, with flavours on blackcurrant, grilled meat and vanilla. The aromatic intensity is not as impressive as for Cos d'Estournel 2003. The taste is very concentrated and very tight, while the tannins are somewhat softer than for Cos d'Estournel. Nice touch of minerality on the palate. Although less exuberant than on the barrel tasting in August 2004 or on another bottle tasted in December 2005, I have no doubt that Montrose 2003 is a magnificent Left Bank representative for which it is necessary to have a fair amount patience. 95/100

> 2003 Lafite

Pauillac - Bordeaux, France


Chateau LafiteVery deep crimson hue. Super intense and complex aromas of blackcurrant, floral, soft spices and sandalwood coming out of the glass. Fantastic texture with a silky multi-layered structure. This is a masterpiece on the move! Smooth with an incredible complexity. Remarkably Lafite 2003 manages to hold the freshness of the fruit in a way no other 2003 of the evening could only approach. Voluptuous and dazzling finish, round and in perfect balance. In a couple of words; simply one of the best wines I have recently tasted. 100/100!

> 2003 Latour 

Pauillac - Bordeaux, France


Chateau LatourAt first the nose doesn't express much but after a few seconds, the flavours litteraly explode out of the glass with rich and concentrated black fruit aromas, clove, tobacco and torrefied coffee. Even though this is a very dense and powerful wine it is still elegant with marvelously fine and silky tannins. Remarkable mineral tension which adds to the complexity of the texture. The structure is tight, but one however detects a slight heat (alcohol) sensation on the fruit, suggesting a light hint of over-maturity. Beyond this fact, Latour 2003 is a classy wine, but probably not quite at par with the amazing Lafite 2003. 95-97/100

Evelyne Bringolf aka Mrs ccvo-bg

> Further articles on ccvo-bg

Bordeaux wine tasting by topic

Bordeaux wine tasting by Chateau





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All the wines presented in this article were tasted blind during the summer of 2006.


Related articles: 
Description of the Bordeaux 2003 vintage


Weather and harvest conditions

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