The June installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on 2004 Bordeaux. As I mentioned in the first installment, the purpose of this series is to provide insight into specific wines or producers you may currently have in your cellar. I plan on opening the winning bottle on Saturday and will publish a Bottle Note shortly thereafter.
The 2004 Bordeaux vintage set a record for being the largest crop in Bordeaux history. After the moist spring, flowering took place early, which demanded that vintners make serious efforts at crop thinning to reduce the yields. June was average. That was followed by a cooler period in July. July was followed by a cold and rainy August. Once again, another Bordeaux vintage was saved by a warm, dry and sun filled September. The grapes enjoyed a warm start to October followed by rain near harvest.
On the whole 2004 was not an ideal vintage. That being said it may appeal to consumers who prefer more traditional Bordeaux. The vintage is more similar to 2001 and 2006 than 2003 and 2005. Value can also be found if you are looking to pick up these wines at auction.
- 2004 Léoville Barton – This is an impressively endowed vin de garde that should age effortlessly for 20-30 years. How Anthony Barton continues to fashion uncompromisingly primordial Bordeaux that are always among the biggest and densest of all the St.-Juliens is beyond me, but he does it year in and year out. Moreover, when it’s time to set the price, he appears to have the consumer foremost in his mind. The 2004 is a classic Leoville-Barton meant for long aging. Concentrated, with loads of smoke, creme de cassis, forest floor, and earthy notes emerge from this impressive, but oh, so backward wine. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2030+. 92 points from the Wine Advocate.
- 2004 Léoville-Poyferré– Along with Leoville Las Cases and a few others, this is among the stars of the appellation. Made in a more floral, supple, Margaux-like style, the deep ruby/purple-hued 2004 Leoville Poyferre exhibits sweet, broad flavors, and plenty of tannin lurking beneath the surface. However, the abundant cherry, black currant, licorice, and smoke notes obscure the tannic clout. This rich, powerful, broad beauty should be drinkable in 2-3 years, and last for two decades. 93 points from the Wine Advocate.
- 2004 Pontet Canet – Tasted at the Pontet-Canet vertical in London, it seems clear that the 2004 Château Pontet-Canet is predestined to always fall under the shadow of the 2005. Don’t overlook this gem. The bouquet delivers pure blackberry, pencil lead and tobacco notes that are more generous than the 2005 at the moment—open for business, you might say. There is an element of dried herbs here, a hint of black tar. The palate is medium-bodied and quite sturdy in the mouth, the tannins perhaps ‘abrasive’ when juxtaposed against the 2005, however they are couched in unexpectedly intense earthy black fruit that frame a tannic finish. If you hanker for a sumptuous Pontet-Canet, then opt for 2003 or 2009, but if your predilection is for a more ‘classic’ Pauillac, then 2004 Pontet-Canet fits the bill. 92 points from the Wine Advocate.
Which 2004 Bordeaux Should I Open?
- 2004 Léoville Barton (48%, 10 Votes)
- 2004 Pontet Canet (38%, 8 Votes)
- 2004 Léoville-Poyferré (14%, 3 Votes)
Total Voters: 21
Thanks for voting! I’d love to see a comment below on why you picked one bottle over another. Also, let me know if you have any suggestions for the July installment of Pick My Next Bottle.