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Bordeaux 2003 at Ten Years: St Emilion & Pomerol

Bordeaux 2003 at Ten Years: St Emilion & Pomerol

And so to the right bank, and a much more mixed bunch of wines than I expected. With more clay around the slopes of St Emilion, such moisture-retaining soils a valuable asset in such a vintage, I was hoping for a strong showing, an expectation perhaps reinforced by previous experiences with Château Bellevue and Clos Fourtet, both pulled from my own cellar, which have been good. As it was, tasted at ten years of age the wines were all over the place; clearly I must try harder to remember that there is more to the right bank than mere clay. Back to wine school for me! Of course, we have limestone here, the hard calcaire à astéries which typifies the St Emilion and Castillon plateau, and gravel too.

St Emilion 2003

Despite being planted predominantly on limestone, Château Ausone managed to produce a striking wine in this vintage, and there is plenty of room for an upswing here yet, the wine showing an understated definition and fragrance. Other than Château Bellevue, a wine I have been consistently impressed with in this vintage, and Clos Fourtet, which has also frequently shown very well, these wines were quite a sorry bunch. Not even Château Cheval Blanc could lift the tone of the tasting.

Bordeaux 2003

Also rather difficult was Château Pavie, a controversial wine that prompted a the transatlantic Parker-Robinson spat after one pronounced it to be the spawn of the devil, while the other promptly proposed marriage to it. Alright, I am exaggerating a little, but you get the idea. I doubt anyone really needs to be told which opinion belonged to which critic, but just in case you were living in a monastic commune at the time and haven’t had time to catch up since your expulsion Parker loved the wine, and Jancis despised it.

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