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Posts from the ‘Bordeaux’ Category

2003 Léoville-Poyferré – Bottle Notes

The 2003 Léoville-Poyferré was the winning bottle in the March Installment of Pick My Next Bottle. The wine was decanted for 4 hours and served with steaks. As an added bonus my wife and I got to share this bottle with my life long best friend from college.

Château Léoville-Poyferré is in St.-Julien. The estate is a Second Growth Bordeaux. Along with Léoville-Las-Cases and Léoville-Barton, Léoville-Poyferré was part of a large estate in the Medoc owned by the Marquis de Léoville. After the French revolution the estate was divided and sold at public auction, where the portion that is now Château Léoville-Poyferré was bought by Monsieur Poyferré. Today the estate is owned and run by Didier Cuvelier and his family.

Crimson in color with slight bricking at the edge of the glass. 13.5% ABV. Fantastic nose of red fruits, leather, cigar box and licorice. Rich and polished with warm, silky tannins. Cherries, black currants, cassis and a touch of earth on the palate. The finish is exceptionally long and seamless. Stunning Bordeaux from a controversial vintage. I think it is clear that the top classified growths from 2003 have proven to be cellar worthy wines. The Léoville-Poyferré is probably best over the next 5-8 years.

My rating: 96 points.

Léoville-Poyferré is on a roll as of late. The 2009 and 2010 scored 100 points and 98 points respectively from the Wine Advocate. If you are interested in purchasing the wine I would suggest the 2014 vintage which is compellingly priced at right around $75.

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2003 Chateau Gruaud Larose – Bottle Notes

Gruaud Larose has a long history in the Saint Julien appellation that dates back to the days when the property was first owned by the Knight Joseph Stanislas Gruaud. In 1997 Gruaud Larose was purchased by Jacques Merlaut. Jacques Merlaut owns a number other Estates under the name of the Taillan Group including Chateau Haut Bages Liberal, Chateau Citran, Chateau Ferriere and Chateau Chasse Spleen among others. The 82 hectare Saint Julien vineyard of Gruaud Larose is planted to 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot.

Served out of magnum with a one hour decant. Crimson in color with some bricking at the edge of the glass. 13% ABV. Sublime nose of red fruits, leather and earth. Rich, plush and complex with none of the telltale signs sometimes associated with the ’03 vintage. Cherries, cassis, pencil and plums on the palate. The finish is long with seemingly resolved tannins. Drink over the next 2-4 years.

My rating: 90 points.

The 2014 is readily available and attractively priced at about $60.

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2000 Grand Puy-Lacoste – Bottle Notes

The 2000 Grand Puy-Lacoste was the winning bottle in the November Installment of Pick My Next Bottle. The wine was decanted for 3 hours and served with a homemade meatloaf.

The history of Grand-Puy-Lacoste is fascinating and dates back to the 16th century. The name Grand-Puy comes from the ancient term “puy” which means “hillock, small height”. The vineyard sits on outcrops with a terroir similar to that of the Médoc’s first growths. Since the 16th century the property was passed down from generation to generation. Grand Puy-Lacoste garnered a fifth growth designation in the 1855 classification. The Borie’s, bought the property in the 1920s. François-Xavier Borie is the current owner and winemaker at the estate.

Bright crimson in color. 13% ABV. Soft aromas of red fruits, leather, cigar box and plums. Full bodied with exceptional balance. Fresh, rich and super silky. Creme de cassis, cherries, tobacco and earth on the palate. The finish is exceptionally long and plush. Absolutely stunning Bordeaux that is a great reflection of the opulent 2000 vintage. Traditionally a long lived wine, this version of Grand Puy-Lacoste should cruise to 25 years of age. Yours truly is pleased to have more bottles in the cellar.

My rating: 95 points.

The 2014 Grand Puy-Lacoste is a great buy at the market price of $60 or so. I’ll be looking for some bottles.

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1988 Chateau Cos d’Estourel – Bottle Notes

Louis Gaspard d’Estournel founded Chateau Cos d’Estournel in 1811. Cos d’Estournel was one of the first wineries in Bordeaux to bottle, label and sell their own wine. The Chateau has exchanged hands many times over the years but today is owned and managed by Michel Reybier, who earned his fortune in the food industry and bought Cos in 2000.

This bottle was decanted for an hour and served with steaks. It is worth noting that I am the original owner of this bottle and it has been cellared perfectly since it was released.

Dark crimson in color with some bricking at the edge of the glass. 13% ABV. Classic nose of cedar, leather, cigar box and cassis. Medium body with ample tart fruit and substantial tannins. Earthy flavors of plum, cherries and mint on the palate. The finish is long, caressing and silky. The wine got better with time in the glass so consider a 1-2 hour decant. Super showing for this wine that is approaching 30 years of age. Right now there is enough fruit to keep the tannins in check but I would be inclined to drink in the next few years.

My rating: 93 points.

Cos d’Estournel has become somewhat expensive in recent vintages with the 2009 and 2010 topping $200 per bottle. Look for the 2014 which can be found for about $125.

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1996 Chateau Lagrange – Bottle Notes

Chateau Lagrange is a third-growth St-Julien owned by the Suntory group since 1983. The 270 acre estate is situated next to Gruaud Larose. The winery went through major improvements and huge investments in the decades that followed the purchase by Suntory. The vineyard is planted to 67% Cabernet Sauvignon , 27% Merlot and 6% Petit Verdot . Over the years, the vineyard has continued to increase their percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon. Today, the average age of the vines is more than 35 years of age.

The wine was decanted for 1 hour.

Crimson in color. 13% ABV. Stunning nose of red fruits, cigar box, leather and pencil shavings. Lush, rich and elegant. Medium body with moderate acidity and resolved tannins.  Cherries, plums, currants and iron on the palate. The finish is long and silky. Just a gorgeous bottle of Bordeaux that is aging beautifully. Hard to imagine this wine gets better from here but well stored bottles will drink well for another 2-4 years.

My rating: 93 points.

Lagrange is a great value year in and year out. The 2014 is an amazing buy for $40 or so.

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1996 Chateau Clerc Milon – Bottle Notes

The history of Chateau Clerc Milon dates back to the early 1800’s. In 1970 Baron Philippe de Rothschild, the owner of Chateau Mouton Rothschild, acquired Clerc Milon and put the Chateau on course to becoming worthy of its 5th growth status in Bordeaux. In 1983, the illustration for the Chateau Clerc Milon label was changed to a pair of dancing clowns made of precious stones. The original art was created by a 16th century German goldsmith. The 45 hectare vineyard of Clerc Milon in Pauillac is planted to 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot and 1% Carmenere.

This bottle was decanted for about 30 minutes and served with steaks. I bought the wine on release in the late 90’s and the bottle has been cellared properly ever since.

Garnet in color. 12.5% ABV. Textbook nose of red fruits, cedar, leather and cigar box. Drying fruits on the palate with medium acidity and a healthy dose of tannins. Cherries, currants, creme de cassis and earthy mushrooms on the palate. The finish is long and smooth with pronounced tannins. I think it is clear the tannins are going to outlive the fruit here and I would be inclined to drink over the next few years.

My rating: 90 points.

Chateau Clerc Milon is one of the great values in Pauillac. The 2014 version can be found for about $50 and will certainly drink well for the next decade or two.

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1995 Chateau Calon Segur – Bottle Notes

The 1995 Chateau Calon Segur was the winning bottle in the April Installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

Chateau Calon Segur is one of the oldest estates in Saint Estephe dating back to 1147. In 1894 its vineyards were purchased by Georges Gasqueton and Charles Hanappier. The Gasqueton family managed the estate until 2012.  In July of 2012 Chateau Calon Segur was sold for 170 million Euros to the French Insurance Company, Suravenir Insurance. Jean-Pierre Moueix , the owner of Petrus and the massive negociant company Duclot, took a minority stake in Chateau Calon Segur.

This bottle was decanted for 1 hour and served with marinated flank steaks.

Blood red in color. 12.5% ABV. Dried red fruits, leather, tobacco and soil on the nose. Medium body with good acidity. Plush and powerful with a sweet fruit profile. Graphite, cassis, currants and plums on the palate. The finish is exceptionally long with ever so silky tannins. Fantastic showing for Calon Segur from the polarizing 1995 vintage. I’ve followed this wine closely over the last 15 years and it never fails to deliver. Drink over the next 3-5 years.

My rating: 94 points.

The 2014 Calon Segur is a compelling buy at just under $100. Be patient though as Calon Segur is typically a 20 year wine.

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2005 Chateau Quinault L’Enclos – Bottle Notes

Chateau Quinault L’Enclos, located in Saint Emilion, is situated in the city of Libourne. However, the estate was not always considered a part of the Saint Emilion appellation. Prior to 1973, Quinault L’Enclos was actually part of the satellite appellation of Sables St. Emilion. The winery was renovated and some of the vineyards were replanted by Alain Raynaud who acquired it in 1997. In 2008 Alain Raynaud sold Quinault L’Enclos to the owners of Chateau Cheval Blanc , Bernard Arnault and Albert Frere. Today, Pierre Lurton and the team from Cheval Blanc manage Quinault L’Enclos.

I decided to open this bottle after reading on WineBerserkers that many of the 05’s from Saint Emilion are not aging well. The wine was decanted for an hour.

Violet in color. A touch cloudy. 14% ABV. Traditional nose of red fruits, tobacco, graphite and roasted herbs. Medium to full body with nice balance. Cherries, currants, cassis and a dose of wood on the palate. There are drying tannins on a long finish. Just one data point but there is nothing here that sets off alarm bells about the 05’s from the Right Bank. Drink over the next 4-6 years.

My rating: 90 points.

Current vintages including the ’14 and ’15 are worth searching out and attractively priced at $35 or so per bottle.

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1995 Chateau Lagrange – Bottle Notes

Chateau Lagrange is a third-growth St-Julien owned by the Suntory group since 1983. The 270 acre estate is situated next to Gruaud Larose. The winery went through major improvements and huge investments in the decades that followed the purchase by Suntory. The vineyard is planted to 67% Cabernet Sauvignon , 27% Merlot and 6% Petit Verdot . Over the years, the vineyard has continued to increase their percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon. Today, the average age of the vines is more than 35 years of age.

The wine was decanted for 1 hour.

Crimson in color. 12.5% ABV. Sensational nose of red fruits, cigar box and graphite. Medium body with medium acidity. Big, structured and sweet with still substantial tannins. Cherries, cassis, currants and roasted herbs on the palate. The finish is exceptionally long with chewy tannins. Well stored bottles will drink well for the next 3-5 years.

My rating: 91 points.

Lagrange is a great value year in and year out. Outstanding vintages like the ’09 and ’10 can still be had for about $65 per bottle.

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2003 Chateau Pontet-Canet – Bottle Notes

The 2003 Pontet-Canet was the winning bottle in the September Installment of Pick My Next Bottle. This bottle was decanted for one hour and served with steaks.

Chateau Pontet-Canet is situated next to Mouton Rothschild in the Pauillac region of Bordeaux. Pontet Canet was granted Fifth Growth status in the 1855 classification. Herman Cruse purchased the estate in 1865. The Cruse family owned Pontet-Canet for 110 years, until another negociant , Guy Tesseron, acquired it in 1975. Since Alfred Tesseron took over in 1994, this property has continued to improve year after year. The wines are consistently on par with most, if not all, of the Second Growth wines.

Violet in color. 13% ABV. Absolutely fantastic nose of red fruits, leather and cigar box. Medium body with perfect acidity. Lush and silky on the palate. The wine is incredibly powerful and concentrated. Flavors of currants, cassis, lead and black licorice. The finish is exceptionally long with silky tannins.  This wine has none of the flabby, roasted characteristics many associate with the ’03 vintage. On top of that this is unmistakably Bordeaux and any comparisons to Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon miss the mark. It should drink well for another decade.

My rating: 94 points.

The very best wines from 2003 seem to be aging beautifully. Will they age as long as their counterparts from classic vintages like ’00 and ’05? Perhaps not, but I’ll continue to enjoy them for what they are over the next 10 years or so.

Pontet-Canet from the best vintages has become quite pricing with the ’09 and ’10 retailing for over $200. My advice would be to search out Pontet-Canet from less heralded vintages like ’04, ’06 and ’08. Anything in the $100 range can be considered a really good deal.

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