Bordeaux 2003 at Ten Years: Sauternes & Barsac

The tasting on which this report is based was hosted by a London merchant; the vast majority of notes are written on wines tasted at this event, although about fifteen – for example Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Clos Fourtet and Château Lafon-Rochet have also been retasted at home, in order to double-check my initial opinion.

In addition, some wines not included in the tasting were pulled from my cellar so that I could add a note on the wine to this article; this explains why other reports that you may have seen on the tasting will not feature wines such as Château Bellevue or Château Meyney. These wines weren’t poured at the tasting, and the notes were written after opening a bottle at home during the two weeks that followed the tasting.

Bordeaux 2003

As for Sauternes, it should come as no surprise to you, if you are already aware of my sweet tooth and my corresponding penchant for Sauternes, Barsac, Quarts de Chaume, Bonnezeaux, Vouvray (moelleux in this case, obviously) and all other sugar-rich expressions of noble rot, that I just happen to have a small handful of half bottles in the cellar.

If I were to base my opinion solely on preconceived prejudices, then the 2003 vintage should not really appeal when it comes to the sweet wines of Bordeaux. What I crave in sweet wines is acidity to cut through and lift the very broad sweetness and concentrated flavour. The ability of Chenin Blanc, the grape of the aforementioned Loire Valley appellations, to retain its acidity is one of its key features. But if there is one defining feature of the wines of 2003 it is low acidity; this is evident in the red wines, and also the sweet white wines.

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