Jacques Guinaudeau tells pickers where to pick Merlot in the vineyard - Château Lafleur in September 2004
After a relatively calm winter-time and capricious spring, flowering arrived at the beginning of June. It usually takes around two weeks, but in 2004 flowering went on with rocket speed. Three days was enough.
Bordeaux happily avoided two major and dangerous diseases during flowering: coulure (missing buds) and millerandage (buds stop developing and fall off). At that time, it was obvious that a huge harvest was happening due to the incredibly many buds on vines in the second half of September. And this forecast became true, for yields in 2004 were far above vintages 2002 and especially 2003.
Summer 2004 offered a bit of everything; long spells of warm and sunny weather, several downpours of rain, and violent hailstorms. The latter didn't affect, however, vineyards. Green harvest at the end of July, which meant removing 25-30% of grapes from vines to decrease yields per ha strongly, was vastly used in Bordeaux.
In August, a whole 80 mm of rain fell in Bordeaux. Especially Right Bank (Pomerol, St.Emilion, and Fronsac) suffered the most. August is crucial for grapes, especially for their ripeness. But rain and rather lukewarm weather in August delayed ripeness to a great extent. Another explanation for the delay was that vines still suffered from the extreme heat last year and hadn't fully recovered. The ever-changing weather also contributed to this delay.
You didn't see many happy faces among winegrowers in August, only growing concern about the development of the vintage. Some winegrowers started to fear the worst and did compare 2004 to 1992 or 1993, two relatively weak Bordeaux vintages.
September started warm and sunny and brought optimism right back. The ripeness of the grapes speeded up, and the 2004 vintage looked nice. It was clear that harvest would start 14 days later than expected because of bad weather in August. Two weeks of hot weather and a lot of sunshine, interrupted by a few short-lived thunderstorms, were followed by a week of cold weather and little rain. Then, the warm weather returned.
Light rain on Thursday, the 23rd of September, kick-started Botrytis cinerea fungus, which attacked perfectly ripe grapes in Sauternes & Barsac. It looked incredibly promising. Long spells of fog in the morning and hot afternoons during several days resulted in perfect conditions for the wide-spreading of botrytis. Climens started harvesting on the 27th of September, while Nairac began on the 30th of September. It took many properties about 1.5 months to finish the harvest.
Harvest of "white" grapes began on the 6th of September at Haut Brion with Sauvignon Blanc. Haut Brion and sister-château La Mission Haut Brion/Laville Haut Brion are always at least one week ahead with harvesting compared to others. The explanation is the higher temperature (2-3°C) in the vineyard of these châteaux compared to other places in Péssac-Léognan.
Domaine de Chevalier hadn't even finished with the "white" harvest by the 28th of September, which is 2.5 weeks later than usual! Olivier Bernard was stunned seeing the "white" harvest finish in mid-October for the first time during his reign at Chevalier!
From Friday, the 24th of September, to Thursday, the 7th of October, the weather was hot and sunny, and this allowed many wine-growers at Right Bank to bring in perfectly ripe Merlot of high quality.
Cabernets and Petit Verdot's ripening process slowed, but these varieties had to wait anyway. They were indeed ripe inside but not outside (grape skins). By chewing grape skins, you could feel a certain bitterness. Cabernets and Petit Verdot lacked the so-called phenolic maturity vital for wines.
Shortly speaking, grapes must be perfectly ripe inside and outside, so bitter and green sensations, complex tannins, and lack of balance in wines can be avoided. Harvest of Cabernets started on Monday, the 11th of October, but after a few days, it rained quite a lot. 70-80 mm of water. Strangely enough, it didn't affect grapes at all.
It was quite a new development from the oenological point of view. The explanation may be that very dry soil is still recovering from an immense lack of water from 2003. That's why the water didn't have time to come up to the grapes. Another explanation, possibly the most true, is that grapes stopped their growing cycles as they became ripe before the rain came, so they didn't need to "drink" water.
From the 18th of October, it became again warm and sunny, and the harvest of Cabernets and Petit Verdot went splendidly and quietly.
Merlot on the Left Bank was also brought in superb condition, while Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot strongly benefited from the long ripening process. This allowed these three late-ripening varieties to develop perfect maturity and keep the freshness, flavors, and aromas intact.
Simple remedies are used at Le Pin, one of the world's most expensive wines - please notice the red bicycle spender to hold pipe fast and the digital thermometer outside the vat.
Having spent 12 days in Bordeaux from the 2nd April to 14 April 2005 and tasting around 300 wines from barrel, I've got an accurate picture of the 2004 vintage.
This vintage is neither so homogenous as 2001 nor so "hot" as 2003. Unfortunately, some wines are tannic, mainly owing to indigent care of the vineyard, harvesting too early, and excessive extraction to compensate for lack of ripeness. This is primarily found in lower appellations. The best wines are real classics with silky fruit and tannin, fresh, aromatic, and well-balanced wines. They will have a long life.
Sauternes & Barsac made a classic vintage again with fine botrytis, pure, classy, and extremely elegant. Several properties managed to end up with wines whose quality is between 2001 and 2002 vintages. But it was hard work in the vineyard due to ever-changing weather conditions, and quick decisions had to be made.
Climens described the end of the harvest just fine in their vintage report - "AT LAST, on November 9th, we finished harvesting, half dead but fully satisfied!"
Graves/Péssac-Léognan in both colors also succeeded very well with many impressive wines. White 2004 is close in quality to the fabulous 2001 vintage.
Haut-Médoc, particularly Margaux commune, delivers pure delight to many wine lovers.
Saint-Émilion and Pomerol are, in my opinion, generally on the level with the 2001 vintage. 2004s in these two districts seem to have fresher fruit and better balance than their 2003 brothers and sisters.
Only now (ultimo May 2005), only a few properties announced their opening prices, and these needed to indicate more fall to attract significant attention of buyers.
If prices, in general, will stay at least 25-30% compared with 2003 prices and settle around 2002 prices, then Bordeaux will face a difficult case of having a massive stock of wines and being unable to sell them. And there still are plenty of unsold older vintages, like 1997 and 1999. Bordeaux has a simple choice - either the wines will drop significantly in price, or chateau owners will drink 2004 by themselves!
Unless stated otherwise, the following tasting notes were sampled at BLIND tastings organized by Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux. All wines were assessed according to a 100 points scale.
SAUTERNES & BARSAC
Rieussec - this one is wonderful. Yellow, intense, and pure botrytis on the nose catching the aroma of tropical fruits. Very deep on the palate, sophisticated, and long on the palate with stunning aftertaste. An exceptional wine with 15-20 fine years ahead. 95p.
Clos Haut Peyraguey - almost like Suduiraut, but with more depth and richness. This is a fabulous effort for this property, which has been on the run since its stunning 2001 vintage. 94p.
Rayne Vigneau - this wine always fares well when I taste it en primeur. Sophisticated, classy, and deep botrytis. Perfectly balanced with fine acidity. Incredibly catchy and seductive wine. Keep it for 10-15 years. 93p.
Doisy Daëne - intense botrytis. Fabulous on the palate, with gobs of fruit and corresponding acidity. Long and caressing aftertaste. How exceptional it could have been if blended with 'Extravagant"!!! 93p.
Suduiraut - moldy, stylish, pure botrytis on the nose, intense, sappy, and full on the palate. Rich with many nuances and splendid balance. A fabulous wine to keep for at least 15 years. 93p.
Filhot - stunning botrytis, extremely elegant and refined. Smooth, concentrated, and long on the palate. Lingering aftertaste. Makes friends with you very fast. 92p.
Caillou - deep refined nose of acacia honey. Full-bodied and with a long aftertaste. Well-made and tasty wine for 10-12 years of enjoyment. 91+p.
Sigalas Rabaud - nice botrytis with acacia, citrus, and apple on the nose. Nuanced on the palate with a splendid structure. A joy to taste. 91p.
Lafaurie Peyraguey - as always, this property gives us an impeccably sophisticated and refined wine with a lot of finesse and richness. Stylish, well-balanced, and seductive. 91p.
Nairac - moldy botrytis with apple jam flavors and sugary, harmonious, stylish, rich wine. Fine and long aftertaste. Splendid now, but it will improve even more. 10-15 years. 91p.
De Malle and La Tour Blanche - fine acidity in close dance with citrus peel, lemon, and acacia-flavored fruit, impeccable balance, smooth and caressing aftertaste. Seductive and splendid wines. To keep for 10-15 years. 90-91p.
Guiraud - citrus and orange peel flavors, fine depth, structure, and concentration. Pure and classy botrytis. 90+p.
Coutet - powerful botrytis, intense on the nose, complex with a long aftertaste. Keeps the style with pure elegance and finesse. Give it 10-12 years. 89-90p.
De Fargues - a sibling of Coutet, but this wine needs time to develop all the goodies, 6-8 years. It will be much better then. 89-90p for now.
De Myrat - excellent effort for this property. Apple and peach aroma, honeyed, very concentrated and sugary, exemplary balance. 89-90p.
Romer du Hayot - like Myrat, this property has recently produced nice wines. 2004 is no exception, with pure botrytis, acacia honey, and lingering aftertaste. 89-90p.
Lamothe Despujols and Lamothe Guignard are full of peaches and mango. Nice aftertaste. Charming and attractive wine, but not for long-term drinking. 88p.
Well-made and pleasant wines with nice botrytis and delicate balance - D'Arche, Bastor Lamontagne, Doisy Vedrines, Rabaud Promis, and Suau. They get a well-deserved 87p.
Other wines - not tasted blind:
d'Yquem - extremely sophisticated, elegant, and rich wine. Incredible finesse and silky texture. It's not a thunderstruck d'Yquem, but who cares? 20-25 years in heaven. 96+p.
Climens - close in style to 2001 vintage. However, not that intense and complex. Still, one gets wonderful balance, richness, and incredibly pure botrytis. 15-20 years. 94+p.
Raymond Lafon - only 35% of the harvest became Grand Vin, and one can taste it. This wine is sublime with its stunning botrytis, extremely aromatic nose of mango, peaches, melon, oranges, richness, fabulous structure, and length. A great wine to keep for at least 20 years. 95p.
Les Justices - from owners of Gilette. This is a fine effort with purity and elegance, fresh tropical fruit (pineapple, apricot, and honey melon), and much finesse. 88-89p.
Les Carmes Haut Brion - dark red, deep, and aromatic on the nose with blackberries. Perfectly ripe fruit on the palate, splendid balance, and long aftertaste. Fabulous effort from this property. 93p.
Smith Haut Lafitte - black red, tightly knitted, strong structure, ripe blackberries with a spicy touch, well-balanced. Clever winemaking. Long time runner. 92+p.
Pape Clement - tight and strongly structured, lot of oak, but balance is fine in this wine. Big scaled wine made in modern style. 92p.
Carbonnieux and La Louviere are dark red, seductive, and aromatic on the nose, meaty and fleshy on the palate with fine and caressing aftertaste. Beautifully balanced and seductive wines. 12-18 years. 91p.
Olivier - this property is quickly moving towards the district's top. A new winemaker, Laurent Lebrun, arrived here three years ago; the improvements are obvious. Ripe tannins and ripe berries, tight and well-structured, fine concentration and length on the palate. Very catchy wine. 91p.
Domaine de Chevalier - a very stylish and elegant wine with a lot of finesse. Meaty structure, well concentrated with fine support of ripe tannins. 90+p.
De France - well-made wine with ripe blackberries in fine cooperation with tannin, fleshy texture, and fine aftertaste. 90p.
Bouscaut and Ferrande - both are outstanding efforts from these underachieving properties. Spicy red fruit, delicious, nicely structured, and with considerable depth. 88+p.
Chantegrive, Fieuzal, and Haut Bailly - medium-weight, tight, well-balanced, and fruity wines who merit the attention of wine lovers. 88p.
Very good wines: Larrivet Haut Brion, Malartic Lagraviere and Rahoul. 87p
Correct wines: Haut Bergey, Latour-Martillac and Picque Caillou. 86p.
Other wines tasted (not blind):
La Mission Haut Brion - contains 55% Merlot, 42% C.Sauvignon and 3% C.Franc. This is a very distinguished and sophisticated wine with silky tannins and texture. Great intensity and aroma of blueberry fruit. An exceptional piece of work. 20-25 years. 94-95p.
Haut Brion - contains 61% Merlot, 20% C.Sauvignon and 19% C.Franc. Quite closed, oaky, and tannic, but it has excellent potential. 94p for now.
La Tour Haut Brion - quite tannic, strong structure, ripe fruit everywhere, fine concentration and complexity. 89p.
Bahans Haut Brion and La Chapelle de La Mission Haut Brion - nicely structured, very fruity, round, and tasty wines. Very useful second wines. 87-88p.
Quality and long-lived wines: Smith Haut Lafitte and Olivier (93+p), Domaine de Chevalier (92+p), Carbonnieux, Chantegrive, de France, La Louviere, Malartic Lagraviere and Rahoul (all fully deserve 91-92p).
Splendid wines with fine potential: Larrivet Haut Brion and Pape Clement. 89-90p.
Very good wines: Bouscaut, Ferrande, Haut Bergey, Latour Martillac and Picque Caillou. 87p.
Correct wine: Fieuzal. 86p.
Other wines tasted (not blind):
Laville Haut Brion - 83% Semillon + 17% Sauvignon Blanc. Great aromatic nose of pineapple and lemon, fat and concentrated on the palate, well-structured and long. Formidable wine. 92p.
Haut Brion - 49% Semillon + 61% Sauvignon Blanc. Very concentrated, fat, sophisticated, and powerful wine. Gobs of acacia and lemony flavors. This is a real treat. 94+p.
Maucaillou - big surprise! Very powerful on the nose and palate with ripe fruit everywhere. Long on the palate with a fine aftertaste. 89-90p.
Chasse-Spleen and Poujeaux - two sappy and well-structured wines with fine tannin grip and considerable depth. 88p.
Nicely made wine: Fourcas Hosten. 87p.
Correct wines: Fonreaud, Fourcas Dupre, and Greysac. 86p
Belgrave - ripe nose of blueberries and blackberries, tasty fruit, splendid structure and balance. Stylish and well-made wine. 90p.
Beaumont - aromatic nose with great intensity, delightfully ripe fruit, no hard edges. A nice aftertaste and a lot of charm. 89p.
La Lagune - nicely structured wine with grip, succulent, very fruity, and the seductive aroma of blueberries. 88p.
Lamarque - in the same league as La Lagune. Silky tannins. 88p.
Delicious wine: Cantemerle. 87p.
Correct wines - Citran, Coufran and La Tour Carnet. All rated 85-86p.
Lascombes - black red. Aromatic nose with black cherries, intense and with a fine depth. Fleshy and meaty on the palate with formidable structure and impressive length. Excellent effort from this property, which is back on track. 93p.
Marquis de Terme - as impressive as Lascombes, but this one is oakier with stronger tannin. 12-16 years. 92p.
du Tertre - another impressive wine from this property. Classic Margaux style with elegance, finesse, and aromatic touch. A lovely and seductive wine. 91+p.
Malescot St.Euxpery - this property continues its revival in recent vintages. Strong backbone, meaty and full-bodied, ripe black fruit, and fine depth. Classy wine. 91p.
Siran - great success here. Very aromatic and powerful wine with style and an attractive approach. 90+p.
Labegorce - surprise, surprise. Aromatic and seductive wine with fine length and tasty fruit. 90p.
Cantenac Brown, Giscours, Kirwan, and Monbrison - all four are stylish, oaky and tannic wines but in fine balance and without rough edges. Succulent and with a strong backbone. 88p.
Very good wines: Brane Cantenac, Rauzan Gassies and Rausan Segla. 87-88p.
Reasonably made wines: d'Angludet, Dauzac, Durfort Vivens, Ferriere, and Marquis d'Alesme Becker. 86p.
Other wines tasted (not blind):
Margaux - 78% C.Sauvignon + 18% Merlot +2% P.Verdot/C.Franc. Marvelous wine with stunning richness, sheer elegance, and many nuances. Sophisticated and true Margaux wine. I prefer this vintage to 2003. Keep it for 20-25 years. 94+p.
Pavillon Rouge - 40% Merlot + 55% C.Sauvignon + 4% P.Verdot + 1% C.Franc. Light, seductive with silky tannins and tasty fruit. Nice to drink early. 87-88p.
Palmer - return to classic style from the somewhat atypical 2003 vintage. This is an extremely elegant wine with much finesse, silky texture, and tannins. Long and caressing aftertaste. 93+p.
Alter Ego de Palmer - very catchy, fruity, well-balanced, round, and attractive wine. 88p.
Branaire - black red. Intense on the nose with a ripe and aromatic flavor of dark berries. Superbly concentrated and structured with a long aftertaste. Real class. 91p.
Gruaud Larose - had a nice tannin grip, was sappy, well-structured, and had a strong backbone. Fine balance. 88-89p.
Lagrange - same quality and style as Gruaud Larose. 88-89p.
Leoville Barton - stylish, compact, well-structured wine that seemed quite closed. It will certainly improve. 88-89p.
Leoville Poyferre - like Leoville Barton. 88-89p.
Langoa Barton - round and pleasant with an attractive aroma of blueberries. Nicely structured and sappy. Well-made wine. 88p.
Delicious wine: Beychevelle. 87p.
Correct wine: Talbot. 86p.
Clerc Millon - a fine effort for this property. Ripe nose of black- and blueberries, very well-knitted, splendid structure and fine balance. Tasty wine with much finesse. 90-91p.
D'Armailhac, Batailley, and Lynch Moussas all three powerful and sappy wines, well-balanced with nice aromatic fruit and strong but ripe tannin. 15-20 years horizontally. 88-89p.
Grand Puy Ducasse - very fruity with a fine aroma of blueberries, sappy, tasty, and elegant. A real charmer. 10-15 years. 88p.
Pichon Baron - doesn't show the usual power, intensity, and concentration, but I believe it will come with age. 88p for now.
Very good wines: Haut Bages Liberal, Lynch Bages, and Pontet Canet. 87p.
Correct wine: Croizet Bages. 85-86p.
Other wines tasted (not blind):
Lafite - this a real thrill. Sublime everywhere with a velvety texture, silky tannins, exquisite depth and structure, and great length. Racy and sophisticated. For sure, it can last for 20-25 years. 96+p.
Carruaders de Lafite - rounder and more approachable than Grand Vin, attractive with a long aftertaste. A joy to drink. Splendid second wine. 88p.
Duhart Millon - this one is with much finesse and elegant, packed with black fruit and a nice structure. Well-made wine with style, 88p.
Phelan Segur - Oaky and tannic but fine depth and intensity on the nose. Strong with ripe fruit, fine balance, and tasty. 90+p.
Les Ormes de Pez - more round and friendly than Phelan Segur. A fine effort for this property. 90p.
Lafon Rochet - tight and strong, well-trimmed and sappy, Needs time to be round and pleasant. 10-16 years horizontally. 88-89p.
Very good wine: Cos Labory. 87p.
Other wines tasted (not blind):
Cos d'Estournel - very aromatic wine, strong, has a lot to offer but needs time because of its tannic attitude. 91-92p.
Pagodes de Cos - on the light side. Nice fruit and good structure. Reasonable second wine. 86p.
Marbuzet - good fruit and structure, round and quite attractive, 86-87p.
Goulée - dark red, spicy fruit, well-balanced, nicely structured. 88p.
Montrose - oooh, I'm in love. This wine is so pretty - like a pretty woman, well-shaped and well-dressed without any sign of being vulgar. Black red, very sophisticated, silky, and velvety. A dream wine. This property is so, so hot. 95p.
La Dame de Montrose - may be the best second wine for the price. Extremely delicious and tasteful, with pure elegance, finesse, and surprisingly well-concentrated. 90p.
L'Evangile - dark red, powerful and complex, fat and well-structured wine. Excellent. 91+p.
La Conseillante - very attractive on the nose, deep and sophisticated, with plenty of finesse. Nice to meet you. 91p.
La Cabanne and Gazin - both are a lighter version of L'Evangile and offer tasty cherries and blackberries in a pleasing company of velvety tannins. Seductive wines, 90-91p.
Clinet - big powerful wine with gobs of dark cherry fruit and tannin. Very concentrated with a long aftertaste. Slightly clumsy, but this will disappear. 88-89p
Very good wines: Beauregard, La Pointe and Vieux Ch. Certan 87p.
Other wines tasted (not blind):
Bon Pasteur - intense blackberries, strong structure, packed with perfectly ripe berry fruit, complex and long on the palate. Brilliant wine to enjoy in the next 12-16 years. 91p.
Cantelauze - dark red, very aromatic on the nose, lot of finesse, dark cherries, fine balance, and depth. Splendid wine. 91p.
La Clemence - stunning effort from this property. Very aromatic and long on the palate. 90p.
La Croix St.Georges - fine and intense nose of blueberries, sappy and well-concentrated on the palate, full-bodied with splendid balance and fine tannins. Cleverly made. 90p.
Lafleur - very dark red. Deep and intense, a beautiful and sensual nose of aromatic dark cherries/blackberries. Silky tannins, full-bodied, sophisticated, and with breathtaking length. C'est un vin magnifique! 94+p.
Pensées de Lafleur - aromatic, round, nicely structured and tasty, Fine second wine. 87p.
Beau Sejour Becot - black red. This is a blockbuster wine. Very ripe dark fruit, lots and lots of everything. Incredibly powerful, deep, and long on the palate. 93+p.
Pavie Macquin - a classy wine. Intense nose of black ripe cherries, wonderfully deep and sophisticated. Very concentrated, powerful structure and long aftertaste. 92p.
Angelus - very attractive, intense nose of blackberries, strong structure, ripe berries, quite extracted wine. Excellent. 92p.
Franc Mayne - a great effort from this underachieving property. Dark red, dense. Meaty wine with a strong backbone, aromatic fruit, and splendid structure. 91p.
Troplong Mondot - the proprietor, Christine Valette, delivers wine again, reflecting her personality. Kind and strong at the same time. It's packed with ripe, aromatic, and tasty berries. Stupendous wine. 91p.
Grand Mayne - same style as Franc Mayne. Fine quality. 90p
Larmande - Fine and attractive nose of dark berries, candy-like on the palate (cherry drops), very elegant with finesse. Nicely balanced. Very fine wine. 90p.
Well-made wines with promising future: Cap de Mourlin, La Dominique, Figeac, and La Gaffeliere. 88+p.
Very good wines: Belair, Berliquet, Clos Fourtet, La Couspade, Dassault, Larcis Ducasse and La Tour Figeac. 87p.
Correct wines: Balestard La Tonnelle and Trottevieille. 86p.
Blind tasting of 11 Premiers Grands Crus Classés de St.Emilion
Beau Sejour Becot - like at Union des Grands Crus tasting. 93+p.
Pavie - very intense and deep nose of dark cherries, very concentrated and extracted, strong and long on the palate. Stupendous wine made in modern style. 92p.
Angelus - like at Union des Grands Crus tasting. 92p.
Magdelaine - strong tannic beast, very long on the palate, fleshy and succulent. Not the normal elegance and finesse, but power instead. 91p.
La Gaffeliere - this barrel sample showed more power and length on the palate than at UGCB tasting. 91p.
Canon - much better and fresher sample than at UGC tasting. 88p.
Beauséjour Duffau - dark red, fine aroma of blueberries, sappy, elegant with finesse. Fine classic wine. 88p.
Belair, Clos Fourtet, Figeac, and Trottevieille - same appearance as at UGC tasting.
Other wines tasted (not blind):
Ausone - very intense, deep, and nuanced nose of blackberries. Very sophisticated, full-bodied, strong structure and silky tannins. Superb long aftertaste. An exceptional wine, ready for laying down 20-25 years. 96+p.
Canon La Gaffeliere - a fine and elegant wine with considerable intensity of fruit. Lacks a bit of structure and length. 88p.
Chapelle d'Ausone - pleasant, round and charming, ripe tannins. 87p.
Cheval Blanc - was slightly on the light side, elegant, and a bit subdued. Quality and potential are there, but the question is if it will be fulfilled. 90+p?
Clos de L'Oratoire - strong, well-balanced, quite aromatic wine, some fine and well-structured. 87p.
Clos St.Martin and Rol Valentin - two very aromatic and elegant wines with silky tannins and finesse. 89-90p.
La Confession - aromatic (blueberries), luscious, and well-balanced wine. 88p.
Corbin Michotte - very intense and aromatic on the nose with black cherries, strong structure, and splendid balance. This is a lovely and seductive wine with a lot of style. 89+p.
Fonbel - dark red, meaty, gobs of tannin and fruit. This wine is proof that grapes were picked at the right time. Full-bodied and long on the palate. 88p. Made by Ausone's Alain Vauthier.
Monbousquet - strong, very sappy, fine structure, style moderne. Well-made wine. 89p.
La Mondotte - extremely concentrated wine with perfectly ripe berry fruit and many nuances. Keep it for 20-25 years. 93p.
Moulin St.Georges - delicious nose of ripe berries (black cherries and blackberries). Very sappy, harmonious, well-shaped, and caressing aftertaste. Attractive wine. 89p.
Pavie Decesse - strong, very tannic, and tight. Long on the palate with a fine depth. 90p.
Rolland Maillet - impressive wine from Michel Rolland with aromatic black cherries, nice concentration, and a fresh attitude. 87p.
Tertre Roteboeuf - as usual, Francois Mitjavile delivers incredibly sensual and sophisticated wine with perfectly ripe black fruit, impeccably balanced and delightful aftertaste. Great wine. 93p.
Bordeaux Superieur - Le Conseiller (87-88p), La Croix Mouton (ex. Mouton) 87p and Girolate (87p).
Canon-Fronsac/Fronsac - Barrabaque (87p), Fontenil (88p) and Moulin Pey Labrie (88p).
Côtes de Bourg - Roc de Cambes (strong) 88p.
Cotes de Castillon - Aguilhe (87-88p), Ampelia (87p) and Veyry (87p).
Lalande-de-Pomerol - Bertineau St.Vincent (87p) and de Chambrun (intense and aromatic) 88-89p.
Premier Côtes de Bordeaux - Reynon (88-89p).
RECENT TASTING NOTES ON VINTAGE 2004
2004 D'AIGUILHE: Strong and tannic, but at the same time aromatic with ripe fruit. Well balanced and with nice length on the palate. It needs time to get around and be charming. 88p. Tasted four times - last time in September 2008. Consistent notes.
2004 ANGELUS: Very attractive, intense nose of blackberries, strong structure, ripe berries, quite extracted wine. Excellent wine. 92p. Tasted three times - last time in September 2008. Consistent notes.
2004 LES ARUMS DE LAGRANGE (white wine): Aromatic, round, tasty, and pleasant. Uncomplicated wine for garden parties. 86p. Tasted in August 2005.
2004 BASTOR LAMONTAGNE: Fine botrytis, full-bodied with good acidity to support fruit, attractive and enjoyable. Fine quality. 89p. Tasted in August 2005.
2004 BEAUREGARD: Nicely made wine, which had improved after bottling. Round and tasty with delicate flavors of raspberries, cherries, and the scent of truffles. Good balance and good depth. To drink from 2009. 88p Tasted twice - last time in September 2007.
2004 BRANAIRE: Black red. Intense on the nose with the ripe and aromatic flavor of dark berries. Superbly concentrated and structured with a long aftertaste. Splendid. 92p. Tasted three times - last time in September 2008. Consistent notes.
2004 CANON-LA-GAFFELIERE: Fine and strong wine with considerable intensity of fruit. Full-bodied and tight wine. 89p. Tasted four times - last time in September 2008. Not consistent notes.
2004 CANTEMERLE: Well-composed and tasty wine, meaty, delicate balance, very seductive. 89p. Tasted three times - last time in September 2008. Consistent notes.
2004 CARMES HAUT BRION: Dark red, deep, and aromatic on the nose with blackberries. There was ripe fruit on the palate, splendid balance and length. This property is improving fast. 92p. Tasted twice - last time in September 2010.
2004 CHASSE SPLEEN: Sappy and well-structured wine with fine tannin grip and considerable depth. It has gained some more depth and structure since April 2005. 88p. Tasted in August 2005.
2004 LA CLÉMENCE: Stunning effort. Very aromatic, harmonious, and long on the palate, with gobs of perfectly ripe Merlot. Violets, milk chocolate, and tasty cherries. 92p. Tasted four times - last time in September 2010. Consistent notes.
2004 CLOS DE L'ORATOIRE: Strong, well-balanced, and quite aromatic wine with some finesse and fine structure. 88p. Tasted four times - last time in September 2008. Consistent notes.
2004 CLOS FOURTET: Lovely aroma of crushed dark berries, long on the palate with fine structure and lasting finish. Catchy and seductive wine. 90p. Tasted twice - last time in September 2007. Not consistent notes.
2004 DESTIEUX: From the owner of La Clemence. This wine is dense, intense, and very concentrated, with many ripe blackcurrants, well supported by strong but ripe tannin. Splendid length and structure. 90p. Tasted twice - last time in September 2008. Consistent notes.
2004 DOMAINE DE CHEVALIER red: Aromatic, racy, and elegant wine with much finesse. The nose is simply a blast with wonderful spicy aromas of cherries and blackcurrants. Meaty on the palate with fine structure, well-concentrated blackcurrants, and fine support of ripe tannins. 92p. Tasted three times - last time in September 2008. Consistent notes.
2004 DOMAINE DE CHEVALIER white: Freshness and elegance, sophisticated, very stylish and sophisticated. The acidity of this wine is excellent and corresponds just fine to sweetness. A classic. 94p. Tasted in August 2005.
2004 DURFORT VIVENS: Aromatic nose with dark berries, meaty and well-structured wine. 88p. Tasted twice - last time in September 2007. Not consistent notes.
2004 FERRIERE: Delicate, sweet fruit, fine structure, and well-balanced wine. It makes friends very quickly. Tasted twice - last time in September 2007. 89p. Not consistent notes.
2004 LES FIEFS DE LAGRANGE: Delicious, elegant, charming wine, however quite simple. 87p. Tasted three times - last time in September 2008. Consistent notes.
2004 FOMBRAUGE red: A bit lazy wine for my taste. Maybe this wine has yet to develop in full. Rather light in intensity and concentration, other ingredients are OK, and balance and aftertaste are nice. I look forward to seeing you in 2-4 years. 86+? Tasted in November 2009.
2004 LE GAY: Quite light wine with nice structure and tasty fruit. Won't make old bones. 87p. Tasted in October 2007.
2004 GISCOURS: Very stylish wine, in a delicate balance and without rough edges. Succulent and with a strong backbone. 90p. Tasted twice - last time in September 2007. Consistent notes.
2004 LA GURGUE: Classic wine for Margaux commune with an aromatic nose, delicate balance, and velvety taste. 89p. Tasted in August 2006.
2004 HAUT BAGES LIBERAL: Ripe berries and ripe tannin, round and nicely balanced wine. Adorable. 88p. Tasted twice - last time in September 2007. Not consistent notes. Better showing in September 2010 with more developed flavors, depth, and length. 89p.
2004 HAUT BAILLY: Medium weight, tight, well-balanced wine with ripe berries. Nice structure and good length. 88p. Tasted in August 2005.
2004 LABEGORCE: Dark red. Aromatic and seductive wine with fine length and tasty fruit. Surprisingly well made. 91p. Tasted three times - last time in September 2008. Consistent notes.
2004 LABEGORCE ZEDE: Very aromatic, meaty, fine structure, and delicate balance. Full of blackberries. It was an impressive wine. 90p. Tasted twice - last time in September 2007. Not consistent notes.
2004 LAGRANGE: Elegance and finesse, tasty dark berries, superb structure, and long finish. 91p. Tasted four times - last time in September 2009. Consistent notes.
2004 LEOVILLE POYFERRE: Stylish, compact, and well-structured wine, harmonious with fine finesse and elegance. 90p. Tasted twice - last time in September 2007. Not consistent notes.
2004 PAPE CLEMENT red: Extremely aromatic with great intensity of ripe black fruit. Strong and robust on the palate, classy and stylish, almost aristocratic in appearance. Incredibly elegant with a firm yet smooth finish. Great stuff! 95p. Tasted in November 2009.
2004 PETIT VILLAGE: Aromatic but light. This wine was round and elegant, with a nice structure and luscious fruit. 88p. Tasted twice - last time in September 2007. Not consistent notes.
2004 PHELAN SEGUR: Oaky and tannic, but fine depth and intensity on the nose. Strong with ripe fruit, fine balance, and tasty. 89p. Tasted four times - last time in September 2010. Consistent notes.
2004 PICHON BARON: Halfway between traditional and modern style. Very aromatic and very powerful, with exciting minerality, great depth, and length. Much better bottle than when it tasted in September 2007. High class here. 91p. Tasted three times - last time in September 2008. Not consistent notes.
2004 PONTET CANET: Juicy, concentrated, chewy, aromatic, splendid depth, and long on the palate. A lot of ripe blackberries here. It will last 10+ years. High quality. 93p. Tasted three times - last time in September 2008. Consistent notes.
2004 POUJEAUX: Splendidly well-made wine, aromatic, powerful, meaty, and with a delicate balance. It will provide a lot of enjoyment in the next 10-12 years. 90p. Tasted twice - last time in September 2007. Consistent notes.
2004 RAUZAN SEGLA: Dark red. Aromatic nose of black cherries and blackberries. Full-bodied and concentrated on the palate with quite large quantities of tannin. Long aftertaste marked by tannin. Needs time. 91p. Tasted in June 2007.
2004 SMITH HAUT LAFITTE red: Black red, very tightly knitted, strong structure, ripe blackberries with a spicy touch, well balanced. It's to keep for a long time. 90p. Tasted three times - last time in September 2008. Not consistent notes.
2004 SMITH HAUT LAFITTE white: This wine was aromatic with pure elegance and great length on the palate, tasty with splendid structure and depth. It's a fabulous wine. 93+p. Tasted in August 2005.
2004 SUDUIRAUT: Stylish and pure botrytis on the nose, intense, luscious, and full-bodied on the palate. Rich with many nuances and splendid balance. A fabulous wine to keep for at least 15 years. 93p. Tasted in August 2005.
2004 DU TERTRE: An impressive wine from this property. Classic Margaux style with elegance, finesse, and aromatic touch. Lovely and seductive wine. 92p. Tasted three times - last time in September 2008. Consistent notes.
2004 VALANDRAUD: Dark red. Intense and deep on the nose, flattering raspberries and blackcurrants, concentrated sweet fruit on the palate, splendid balance and long aftertaste. Really successful wine for the vintage. 93p. Tasted in October 2007.