A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

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Mark Golodetz
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A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#1 Post by Mark Golodetz » April 7th, 2020, 4:03 pm

I have pretty much eliminated all 2003 Bordeaux from my cellar but thought it might be an idea to pull out my last bottle of Cos d’Estournel considered among the best wines of the vintage.

It was not a success; sweet, big and almost totally lacking in character. Alcohol was intrusive, the finish reasonably long. Very disappointing. I left the remaining wine in the decanter, went back after a couple of hours, the same monolithic mess.


Back to the cellar and pulled a half bottle of Montrose 2003. Montrose was the better wine, but it was for me the taller midget. Rich, fat thick, incredibly big and concentrated, it came at me like a Rottweiler. No subtlety, no layers of flavor, and totally unlike any Montrose I have ever tasted. I will say the finish was incredibly long on the plus side, but again one dimensional. I would have classed it as a Parkerized Napa wine, never a Montrose, which usually has a good deal of character.



We did finish the half bottle, mainly because I was too lazy to back to the cellar. The one compensation, the alcohol in these wines was enough for a fine afternoon nap.

I think that is the end of our Covid 19 lunches.
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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#2 Post by Carlos Delpin » April 8th, 2020, 3:12 am

Not a fan of 2003 either. I think my only bottle is 03 Sociando Mallet that Alfert made me buy.
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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#3 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » April 8th, 2020, 4:29 am

Carlos Delpin wrote:
April 8th, 2020, 3:12 am
Not a fan of 2003 either. I think my only bottle is 03 Sociando Mallet that Alfert made me buy.

And like Alfert, it has no subtlety either! This is a big Sociando, think along the lines of the 1990. Not thin green and weedy like the other crap I made you buy.

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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#4 Post by Howard Cooper » April 8th, 2020, 5:02 am

Also not a big fan of the 2003. viewtopic.php?f=1&t=123874&p=1925673&hi ... l#p1925673 It is interesting. When I first started buying Bordeaux in the 1980s, I would have put Cos slightly ahead of Montrose. Now, it is pretty dramatically the other way.
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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#5 Post by Mark Golodetz » April 8th, 2020, 5:23 am

Howard Cooper wrote:
April 8th, 2020, 5:02 am
Also not a big fan of the 2003. viewtopic.php?f=1&t=123874&p=1925673&hi ... l#p1925673 It is interesting. When I first started buying Bordeaux in the 1980s, I would have put Cos slightly ahead of Montrose. Now, it is pretty dramatically the other way.
Is that you changing, Howard, or the wines?
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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#6 Post by Victor Hong » April 8th, 2020, 5:26 am

In 2003, Gruaud Larose and Les Grands Chenes did well, although the latter is still modern styled.
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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#7 Post by Howard Cooper » April 8th, 2020, 5:29 am

Mark Golodetz wrote:
April 8th, 2020, 5:23 am
Howard Cooper wrote:
April 8th, 2020, 5:02 am
Also not a big fan of the 2003. viewtopic.php?f=1&t=123874&p=1925673&hi ... l#p1925673 It is interesting. When I first started buying Bordeaux in the 1980s, I would have put Cos slightly ahead of Montrose. Now, it is pretty dramatically the other way.
Is that you changing, Howard, or the wines?
Not sure about Montrose - may just be getting to try them when mature. With respect to Cos, IMHO it is clearly the wines.
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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#8 Post by Ramon C » April 8th, 2020, 6:54 am

Slowly sold most of my Bordeaux 2003s all purchased at release. Some people here romanticize about the taming down, but I find that the wines show that they are clearly unappealingly different when tasted in same-producer verticals.

Although, I kept a few Leoville Barton and have yet to dip into my 6-pack of Pontet Canet.
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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#9 Post by Chris Seiber » April 8th, 2020, 8:11 am

Ramon C wrote:
April 8th, 2020, 6:54 am

Although, I kept a few Leoville Barton and have yet to dip into my 6-pack of Pontet Canet.
You should start drinking those Pontet Canet, at least a portion of them. They’ve been open and delicious pretty much all along the way up to this point, and while I don’t necessarily suspect they’re about to drop off, I don’t think they’re likely to get even better with more age.

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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#10 Post by Jay $$ Winton » April 8th, 2020, 8:39 am

Is the intense heat of that year being reflected in the lack of complexity?
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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#11 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » April 8th, 2020, 8:57 am

It’s more the lush, low acid and higher alcohol feel of many of the wines.

I had the 2003 PC a couple months ago. I did not like it at all, but some at my table that generally drink Napa Cabs, liked it very much. I have to admit, I did not much care for a recent 2004 or 2000, either, but they are both better than 2003.

I generally avoided most 2003 wines from France. Some Chinons are beautiful, like Rougeard and then Baudry’s Franc de Pied.

Though year.

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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#12 Post by Markus S » April 8th, 2020, 9:03 am

Carlos Delpin wrote:
April 8th, 2020, 3:12 am
Not a fan of 2003 either. I think my only bottle is 03 Sociando Mallet that Alfert made me buy.
And that was disappointing too. California-on-the-Gironde
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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#13 Post by Mark Golodetz » April 8th, 2020, 9:04 am

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
April 8th, 2020, 8:57 am
It’s more the lush, low acid and higher alcohol feel of many of the wines.

I had the 2003 PC a couple months ago. I did not like it at all, but some at my table that generally drink Napa Cabs, liked it very much. I have to admit, I did not much care for a recent 2004 or 2000, either, but they are both better than 2003.

I generally avoided most 2003 wines from France. Some Chinons are beautiful, like Rougeard and then Baudry’s Franc de Pied.

Though year.
The heat and the alcohol were problematic, but as one old timer explained, “the vines got confused and kept shutting down and opening up and then just threw up their branches and surrendered” You have got to love the winemaker/poets.
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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#14 Post by Br1an Th0rne » April 8th, 2020, 9:23 am

Chris Seiber wrote:
April 8th, 2020, 8:11 am
Ramon C wrote:
April 8th, 2020, 6:54 am

Although, I kept a few Leoville Barton and have yet to dip into my 6-pack of Pontet Canet.
You should start drinking those Pontet Canet, at least a portion of them. They’ve been open and delicious pretty much all along the way up to this point, and while I don’t necessarily suspect they’re about to drop off, I don’t think they’re likely to get even better with more age.
For what it’s worth, I thought the 03 Pontet Canet was better 5-7 years ago. Bought a case as a future, and the 6 bottles consumed between 2009 and 2015 were much more enjoyable than the 2 bottles I’ve had this year. And as a general rule, I do not care for young red Bordeaux, so this surprised me. Not sure if they’re in a “dumb phase” or falling off...the case has been at 55/70 since I got my hands on it in 2006.

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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#15 Post by Chris Seiber » April 8th, 2020, 12:33 pm

Br1an Th0rne wrote:
April 8th, 2020, 9:23 am
Chris Seiber wrote:
April 8th, 2020, 8:11 am
Ramon C wrote:
April 8th, 2020, 6:54 am

Although, I kept a few Leoville Barton and have yet to dip into my 6-pack of Pontet Canet.
You should start drinking those Pontet Canet, at least a portion of them. They’ve been open and delicious pretty much all along the way up to this point, and while I don’t necessarily suspect they’re about to drop off, I don’t think they’re likely to get even better with more age.
For what it’s worth, I thought the 03 Pontet Canet was better 5-7 years ago. Bought a case as a future, and the 6 bottles consumed between 2009 and 2015 were much more enjoyable than the 2 bottles I’ve had this year. And as a general rule, I do not care for young red Bordeaux, so this surprised me. Not sure if they’re in a “dumb phase” or falling off...the case has been at 55/70 since I got my hands on it in 2006.
My quarantine cellar inventory has revealed three more bottles of that than my records had shown, giving me five total, so I will open one here in coming days and post a note. The CT notes from 2020 generally remain very positive (with all the usual caveats about CT users and notes), but I guess I can see for myself.

My inventory also revealed a one-off bottle of 2003 Clos Dubreuil that I didn't know I had. Far less optimistic that will be good - it's on tap with burgers tonight and a backup bottle close at hand.

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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#16 Post by O.G. Nikolai » April 8th, 2020, 1:16 pm

Same with Meyney 2003 now. A beauty in it's early, fruit driven years. I give it a big pass now. Sell.

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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#17 Post by Ramon C » April 8th, 2020, 2:44 pm

Chris Seiber wrote:
April 8th, 2020, 8:11 am
Ramon C wrote:
April 8th, 2020, 6:54 am

Although, I kept a few Leoville Barton and have yet to dip into my 6-pack of Pontet Canet.
You should start drinking those Pontet Canet, at least a portion of them. They’ve been open and delicious pretty much all along the way up to this point, and while I don’t necessarily suspect they’re about to drop off, I don’t think they’re likely to get even better with more age.
Will look forward to doing just that and try out a bottle of the 2003 P-C the next time I have stuff pulled from the remote storage.
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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#18 Post by lleichtman » April 8th, 2020, 4:29 pm

Chris Seiber wrote:
April 8th, 2020, 12:33 pm
Br1an Th0rne wrote:
April 8th, 2020, 9:23 am
Chris Seiber wrote:
April 8th, 2020, 8:11 am

You should start drinking those Pontet Canet, at least a portion of them. They’ve been open and delicious pretty much all along the way up to this point, and while I don’t necessarily suspect they’re about to drop off, I don’t think they’re likely to get even better with more age.
For what it’s worth, I thought the 03 Pontet Canet was better 5-7 years ago. Bought a case as a future, and the 6 bottles consumed between 2009 and 2015 were much more enjoyable than the 2 bottles I’ve had this year. And as a general rule, I do not care for young red Bordeaux, so this surprised me. Not sure if they’re in a “dumb phase” or falling off...the case has been at 55/70 since I got my hands on it in 2006.
My quarantine cellar inventory has revealed three more bottles of that than my records had shown, giving me five total, so I will open one here in coming days and post a note. The CT notes from 2020 generally remain very positive (with all the usual caveats about CT users and notes), but I guess I can see for myself.

My inventory also revealed a one-off bottle of 2003 Clos Dubreuil that I didn't know I had. Far less optimistic that will be good - it's on tap with burgers tonight and a backup bottle close at hand.
My wife and I did just that and discovered a whole case that never got inventoried. How do they escape like that. quarantine is a good time to do inventories.
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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#19 Post by JC J o u a s » April 8th, 2020, 5:05 pm

Hi Mark,

I actually pulled my only bottle of this on Sunday and splash decanted it after having opened a corked 2003 Leoville Barton. For me, it was at its best within that 1st half hour which luckily coincided with my meal and I actually quite enjoyed it with my prime porterhouse. But I will concede that the longer it was open, the worse the wine got as it seemed to change to reveal a plusher, softer profile that became a little one dimensional as it lost its spice notes which def gave it somewhat of a Napa-esque feel.
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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#20 Post by Jeremy Holmes » April 8th, 2020, 5:11 pm

Good try Mark. '03 is not really a luncheon Claret year.
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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#21 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » April 8th, 2020, 5:24 pm

I just checked my stash. My only 2003 is Sociando, the base wine and Cuvee Jean Gautreau. The JG is quite nice.

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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#22 Post by Mark Golodetz » April 8th, 2020, 6:20 pm

Jeremy Holmes wrote:
April 8th, 2020, 5:11 pm
Good try Mark. '03 is not really a luncheon Claret year.
It’s not breakfast or dinner claret either [headbang.gif]
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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#23 Post by Michae1 P0wers » April 8th, 2020, 6:31 pm

Has anyone had the Lynch Bages recently? I think that’s the only ‘03 I have in my cellar. A bottle a few years back was not as ripe as I’d expected, but also not very expressive.

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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#24 Post by Jürgen Steinke » April 9th, 2020, 4:41 am

Nothing new but I do not share the view of Mark that any 03 Bordeaux is bad or even undrinkable. It may be an atypical year for Bordeaux. But why not? Should every vintage be the same? Not in my opinion. I like 2003 Sociando Mallet and other Medocs. I even like some Right Bank wines. But it is true that a lot of 2003 are unbalanced. The biggest problem is unripe tannins due to water stress and a metallic aftertaste. Overripeness not so much. IMO. For tolerant people 2003 offers some fine wines.

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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#25 Post by Markus S » April 9th, 2020, 5:08 am

Jürgen Steinke wrote:
April 9th, 2020, 4:41 am
Nothing new but I do not share the view of Mark that any 03 Bordeaux is bad or even undrinkable. It may be an atypical year for Bordeaux. But why not? Should every vintage be the same? Not in my opinion. I like 2003 Sociando Mallet and other Medocs. I even like some Right Bank wines. But it is true that a lot of 2003 are unbalanced. The biggest problem is unripe tannins due to water stress and a metallic aftertaste. Overripeness not so much. IMO. For tolerant people 2003 offers some fine wines.
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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#26 Post by Pat Martin » April 9th, 2020, 7:40 am

I don’t care for most 03 wines from virtually anywhere (though some very good sauternes was made that year).

I still am a fan though of the 03 Sociando and Lanessan. Atypical for the House styles they are, but still very enjoyable, and as Jurgen says, a little diversity is a good thing.

I had an 03 Leoville Barton a few years ago in a big lineup and it was really fun and enjoyable. I doubt it will ever attain any profundity, but I’d love to try that one again.
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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#27 Post by Paul Jaouen » April 9th, 2020, 7:57 am

Anyone try Latour or Haut Brion recently?
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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#28 Post by Pat Martin » April 9th, 2020, 8:06 am

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
April 8th, 2020, 8:57 am
I had the 2003 PC a couple months ago. I did not like it at all, but some at my table that generally drink Napa Cabs, liked it very much. I have to admit, I did not much care for a recent 2004 or 2000, either, but they are both better than 2003.
Total thread drift, but... I was at the big Pontet Canet vertical in 2008 with about 15 winos from BWE in NYC that Alfred Tesseron attended. We had some vintages from the 70’s and up through 2004. Alfred was charming and engaging, but the arc of PC’s wines was quite evident: Phase 1 1990-and-older, old school and a little dull and lean but with a few good vintages (especially the 89); Phase 2, 1994-1998, a notable jump in intensity, interest and depth (with the 96 everyone’s fav), but still mostly a traditional claret profile; Phase 3, 1999-2003, riper, cleaner, and worst of all, glossier wines that were clearly much more modern and internationally styled than Phase 2, nearly everyone was unimpressed with this flight though we didn’t say much to be polite. But Alfred noticed and was clearly distraught at our reaction, telling us that these latest wines were the best he had ever made, right up until the 2005 which was “even better”, but which we didn’t taste. I would note that the 04 we tried was by far my least favorite wine, showing even more Napafied that the 99-03 flight.

At some point, Michel Rolland was hired at PC (maybe for the 05 vintage?), and Alfred was asked about this. He was gracious and told the room the Michel could not be pigeonholed and that at PC he was hired to help “in the vineyards”, not in the cellar or blending phases. Whatever his role, PC lost the thread as far as my palate is concerned, and I stopped buying entirely after the 03 vintage.
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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#29 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » April 9th, 2020, 9:57 am

Paul Jaouen wrote:
April 9th, 2020, 7:57 am
Anyone try Latour or Haut Brion recently?
Not that, but I have had Lafite twice over the last couple of years. Not sure how they pulled it off, but the ABV is sub-13. It's a powerful wine by not a high alcohol wine. I liked it a lot but it does not have the refined elegance that Lafite normally shows, even that from another warm year like 2000. The 2000 is a beauty.

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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#30 Post by Jeff Leve » April 9th, 2020, 1:24 pm

2003 is not a consistent Bordeaux vintage. But I think Montrose, which is a bit better than Cos, are both beautiful wines. Saint Estephe was quite successful IMO. As you travel south, the wines are less interesting, with Pomerol and Pessac Leognan as the most challenged appellations.

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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#31 Post by Ian A » April 9th, 2020, 3:10 pm

It is pretty much a write off as a vintage in my opinion. Last year a 2003 Cos, a wine I considered wotv material, was similarly dysfunctional. To be fair Montrose is consistently good, but the two biggest hopes for the 2003 vintage - Latour and Lafite - by some accounts do not seem to be turning out so well. A friend of mine here in London was decidedly underwhelmed by a 2003 Latour recently. I suspect the estate to own is Sociando as Patrick notes. I have 12 bottles of 2003 Pontet Canet with one on death row. Judging by Julian’s note my expectations have been pared down.
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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#32 Post by jordan jacobs » April 9th, 2020, 8:11 pm

The QPR of the vintage, and one that drank great young and more so today; Smith Haut Lafite

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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#33 Post by Rauno E (NZ) » April 9th, 2020, 8:54 pm

Paul, Haut Brion last year was “good” but no better. Less good than ‘01 and ‘02.
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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#34 Post by Julian Marshall » April 10th, 2020, 1:04 am

I loathed 2003 early on, wading through dozens of really horrible wines I'd bought using RMP's notes, then selling the remainder in fury. Personally, I think Margaux is the worst appellation of all.

However, having bought back and tasted a few of what are supposed to be the best in the last few years, I'm a little less scathing. PC disappointed me last time, but I did enjoy it before, Duhart has been very good each time and Sociando is very good too. I need to taste another one, but I really enjoyed Léo-P as well, which was not at all what I expected.

I think the jury's verdict on 2003 is clear and has been for a while now - a dozen or so decent wines, which you either like or not according to individual taste, but that's it. Even the best will never have the universal appeal of top wines from more normal vintages.

To be honest, I'm more worried now about 2005.

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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#35 Post by Ramon C » April 10th, 2020, 1:09 am

Julian Marshall wrote:
April 10th, 2020, 1:04 am
I loathed 2003 early on, wading through dozens of really horrible wines I'd bought using RMP's notes, then selling the remainder in fury. Personally, I think Margaux is the worst appellation of all.

However, having bought back and tasted a few of what are supposed to be the best in the last few years, I'm a little less scathing. PC disappointed me last time, but I did enjoy it before, Duhart has been very good each time and Sociando is very good too. I need to taste another one, but I really enjoyed Léo-P as well, which was not at all what I expected.

I think the jury's verdict on 2003 is clear and has been for a while now - a dozen or so decent wines, which you either like or not according to individual taste, but that's it. Even the best will never have the universal appeal of top wines from more normal vintages.

To be honest, I'm more worried now about 2005.
Just as one of the post above had mentioned, the majority had less than flattering things to say about the vintage 2003. Btw, Leoville Poyferre, to me is the poster child of the vintage gone bad, so bad.

What’s wrong with 2005? What have you had that worried you?
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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#36 Post by Julian Marshall » April 10th, 2020, 3:02 am

I've already drifted here more than I should have so I'll come back to this in another thread!

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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#37 Post by Ian A » April 10th, 2020, 3:08 am

Pat Martin wrote:
April 9th, 2020, 8:06 am
Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
April 8th, 2020, 8:57 am
I had the 2003 PC a couple months ago. I did not like it at all, but some at my table that generally drink Napa Cabs, liked it very much. I have to admit, I did not much care for a recent 2004 or 2000, either, but they are both better than 2003.
Total thread drift, but... I was at the big Pontet Canet vertical in 2008 with about 15 winos from BWE in NYC that Alfred Tesseron attended. We had some vintages from the 70’s and up through 2004. Alfred was charming and engaging, but the arc of PC’s wines was quite evident: Phase 1 1990-and-older, old school and a little dull and lean but with a few good vintages (especially the 89); Phase 2, 1994-1998, a notable jump in intensity, interest and depth (with the 96 everyone’s fav), but still mostly a traditional claret profile; Phase 3, 1999-2003, riper, cleaner, and worst of all, glossier wines that were clearly much more modern and internationally styled than Phase 2, nearly everyone was unimpressed with this flight though we didn’t say much to be polite. But Alfred noticed and was clearly distraught at our reaction, telling us that these latest wines were the best he had ever made, right up until the 2005 which was “even better”, but which we didn’t taste. I would note that the 04 we tried was by far my least favorite wine, showing even more Napafied that the 99-03 flight.

At some point, Michel Rolland was hired at PC (maybe for the 05 vintage?), and Alfred was asked about this. He was gracious and told the room the Michel could not be pigeonholed and that at PC he was hired to help “in the vineyards”, not in the cellar or blending phases. Whatever his role, PC lost the thread as far as my palate is concerned, and I stopped buying entirely after the 03 vintage.
I think Rolland was brought in before the 2005 vintage Patrick, but not sure exactly when.

I wasn’t at that dinner but was part of the BWE group that had lunch with Alfred at the chateau in 2015 - we were supposed to go back on March 26 this year but our tour was a victim of the virus. Before lunch we tried the 11, 12, 13 and 14, which were clean and modern but showed very well esp. the 11. For lunch Alfred served the 2000, the 03, the 05 and the 09. The 2005 was outstanding, closely followed by the 2000 and 2009, which was very young, while the 2003 was a distant fourth. Maureen thought it was poor but I think it simply suffered next to much better wines. I really did t like the 2004 Pontet Canet and stopped out early but recently bought a case of 2001, which I think is excellent and close in quality to the 2000, and fwiw both are much better than the rustic by comparison 1996 imho. I will be trying the 2003 tonight with a barbecue. [wow.gif]
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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#38 Post by Ramon C » April 10th, 2020, 6:19 am

Ian A wrote:
April 10th, 2020, 3:08 am
Pat Martin wrote:
April 9th, 2020, 8:06 am
Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
April 8th, 2020, 8:57 am
I had the 2003 PC a couple months ago. I did not like it at all, but some at my table that generally drink Napa Cabs, liked it very much. I have to admit, I did not much care for a recent 2004 or 2000, either, but they are both better than 2003.
Total thread drift, but... I was at the big Pontet Canet vertical in 2008 with about 15 winos from BWE in NYC that Alfred Tesseron attended. We had some vintages from the 70’s and up through 2004. Alfred was charming and engaging, but the arc of PC’s wines was quite evident: Phase 1 1990-and-older, old school and a little dull and lean but with a few good vintages (especially the 89); Phase 2, 1994-1998, a notable jump in intensity, interest and depth (with the 96 everyone’s fav), but still mostly a traditional claret profile; Phase 3, 1999-2003, riper, cleaner, and worst of all, glossier wines that were clearly much more modern and internationally styled than Phase 2, nearly everyone was unimpressed with this flight though we didn’t say much to be polite. But Alfred noticed and was clearly distraught at our reaction, telling us that these latest wines were the best he had ever made, right up until the 2005 which was “even better”, but which we didn’t taste. I would note that the 04 we tried was by far my least favorite wine, showing even more Napafied that the 99-03 flight.

At some point, Michel Rolland was hired at PC (maybe for the 05 vintage?), and Alfred was asked about this. He was gracious and told the room the Michel could not be pigeonholed and that at PC he was hired to help “in the vineyards”, not in the cellar or blending phases. Whatever his role, PC lost the thread as far as my palate is concerned, and I stopped buying entirely after the 03 vintage.
I think Rolland was brought in before the 2005 vintage Patrick, but not sure exactly when.

I wasn’t at that dinner but was part of the BWE group that had lunch with Alfred at the chateau in 2015 - we were supposed to go back on March 26 this year but our tour was a victim of the virus. Before lunch we tried the 11, 12, 13 and 14, which were clean and modern but showed very well esp. the 11. For lunch Alfred served the 2000, the 03, the 05 and the 09. The 2005 was outstanding, closely followed by the 2000 and 2009, which was very young, while the 2003 was a distant fourth. Maureen thought it was poor but I think it simply suffered next to much better wines. I really did t like the 2004 Pontet Canet and stopped out early but recently bought a case of 2001, which I think is excellent and close in quality to the 2000, and fwiw both are much better than the rustic by comparison 1996 imho. I will be trying the 2003 tonight with a barbecue. [wow.gif]
Well, I was at the NYC-Alfred Tesseron dinner that Pat mentioned and agree that the 94 - 96 vintages were the standout vintages. The older vintages were not as exciting, but they were not as glossy/modern in style as the post-1999 ones. I remember Alfred being very proud and gushing about the 1994 which he claimed was the first time he had a direct hand in the vineyard and wine-making.

I also had the 2005 PC in a separate dinner, at one of Matt Richman's Bordeaux release try-outs. While I was impressed with the general wines, definitely vin-de -gard, the 2005 PC showcased the combined power and completeness that was characteristic of the vintage. I only thought the PC was already just too expensive, then, even for the high quality.
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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#39 Post by Mark Golodetz » April 10th, 2020, 7:29 am

Jürgen Steinke wrote:
April 9th, 2020, 4:41 am
Nothing new but I do not share the view of Mark that any 03 Bordeaux is bad or even undrinkable. It may be an atypical year for Bordeaux. But why not? Should every vintage be the same? Not in my opinion. I like 2003 Sociando Mallet and other Medocs. I even like some Right Bank wines. But it is true that a lot of 2003 are unbalanced. The biggest problem is unripe tannins due to water stress and a metallic aftertaste. Overripeness not so much. IMO. For tolerant people 2003 offers some fine wines.
I totally agree that if Bordeaux faced similar conditions every year, and the wines were variations, it could become boring very quickly. The problem for me was that both wines seemed very unBordeauxish, and while the Cos, as a wine, was just a total disaster, the Montrose will be enjoyed by many, especially those who love that style of wine. For those who enjoy more classic wines, this is so extreme that it might be an ok wine but not an ok Montrose, which tends to have a very distinct signature.
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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#40 Post by Pat Martin » April 10th, 2020, 12:54 pm

Ramon C wrote:
April 10th, 2020, 6:19 am
Ian A wrote:
April 10th, 2020, 3:08 am
Pat Martin wrote:
April 9th, 2020, 8:06 am


Total thread drift, but... I was at the big Pontet Canet vertical in 2008 with about 15 winos from BWE in NYC that Alfred Tesseron attended. We had some vintages from the 70’s and up through 2004. Alfred was charming and engaging, but the arc of PC’s wines was quite evident: Phase 1 1990-and-older, old school and a little dull and lean but with a few good vintages (especially the 89); Phase 2, 1994-1998, a notable jump in intensity, interest and depth (with the 96 everyone’s fav), but still mostly a traditional claret profile; Phase 3, 1999-2003, riper, cleaner, and worst of all, glossier wines that were clearly much more modern and internationally styled than Phase 2, nearly everyone was unimpressed with this flight though we didn’t say much to be polite. But Alfred noticed and was clearly distraught at our reaction, telling us that these latest wines were the best he had ever made, right up until the 2005 which was “even better”, but which we didn’t taste. I would note that the 04 we tried was by far my least favorite wine, showing even more Napafied that the 99-03 flight.

At some point, Michel Rolland was hired at PC (maybe for the 05 vintage?), and Alfred was asked about this. He was gracious and told the room the Michel could not be pigeonholed and that at PC he was hired to help “in the vineyards”, not in the cellar or blending phases. Whatever his role, PC lost the thread as far as my palate is concerned, and I stopped buying entirely after the 03 vintage.
I think Rolland was brought in before the 2005 vintage Patrick, but not sure exactly when.

I wasn’t at that dinner but was part of the BWE group that had lunch with Alfred at the chateau in 2015 - we were supposed to go back on March 26 this year but our tour was a victim of the virus. Before lunch we tried the 11, 12, 13 and 14, which were clean and modern but showed very well esp. the 11. For lunch Alfred served the 2000, the 03, the 05 and the 09. The 2005 was outstanding, closely followed by the 2000 and 2009, which was very young, while the 2003 was a distant fourth. Maureen thought it was poor but I think it simply suffered next to much better wines. I really did t like the 2004 Pontet Canet and stopped out early but recently bought a case of 2001, which I think is excellent and close in quality to the 2000, and fwiw both are much better than the rustic by comparison 1996 imho. I will be trying the 2003 tonight with a barbecue. [wow.gif]
Well, I was at the NYC-Alfred Tesseron dinner that Pat mentioned and agree that the 94 - 96 vintages were the standout vintages. The older vintages were not as exciting, but they were not as glossy/modern in style as the post-1999 ones. I remember Alfred being very proud and gushing about the 1994 which he claimed was the first time he had a direct hand in the vineyard and wine-making.

I also had the 2005 PC in a separate dinner, at one of Matt Richman's Bordeaux release try-outs. While I was impressed with the general wines, definitely vin-de -gard, the 2005 PC showcased the combined power and completeness that was characteristic of the vintage. I only thought the PC was already just too expensive, then, even for the high quality.
That was a fun night, Ramon. To be fair, we all acknowledged that the more recent vintages might just need more time, at least compared to the 94-96 trio which were really the highlight of the night.

Good to hear that the 2000 has come around, Ian. Somehow I ended up with 3 or 4 bottles of that, and a bunch of the 03 due JimHow’s steady endorsements (plus it was $44 on release, cheap but current norms).

I would give the 2005-2016 vintages a whirl, but PC’s pricing these days has turned me off. I was really looking forward to trying some more recent vintages with Alfred Tesseron last month, maybe next year!
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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#41 Post by Mike Reff » October 17th, 2020, 10:42 am

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
April 9th, 2020, 9:57 am
Paul Jaouen wrote:
April 9th, 2020, 7:57 am
Anyone try Latour or Haut Brion recently?
Not that, but I have had Lafite twice over the last couple of years. Not sure how they pulled it off, but the ABV is sub-13. It's a powerful wine by not a high alcohol wine. I liked it a lot but it does not have the refined elegance that Lafite normally shows, even that from another warm year like 2000. The 2000 is a beauty.
Had the 2003 Latour last night. Took an hour to open up, at first it was very green but after an hour the fruit burst forward.
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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#42 Post by HenryB » October 17th, 2020, 11:10 am

interesting

I had an 03 Cos a while ago and foudn it mindblowing - I've got a substantial stash of more bottles. Recent CT reviews have been mediocre at best. Not sure exactly when I last tried it, but it was maybe 12-18 months ago?



Jeff Leve recently gave it a 98 too.
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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#43 Post by O.G. Nikolai » October 17th, 2020, 12:34 pm

A question of drinking temperature i think.
Maybe 03 should be consumed aprox at 16-17C.
Leoville Barton and Sociando Mallet 03 stand out.

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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#44 Post by Mark Golodetz » October 17th, 2020, 12:43 pm

HenryB wrote:
October 17th, 2020, 11:10 am
interesting

I had an 03 Cos a while ago and foudn it mindblowing - I've got a substantial stash of more bottles. Recent CT reviews have been mediocre at best. Not sure exactly when I last tried it, but it was maybe 12-18 months ago?



Jeff Leve recently gave it a 98 too.
Good to know Jeff is not alone. cheesehead
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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#45 Post by Neal.Mollen » October 17th, 2020, 1:17 pm

We had the 03 Calon Segur. Tasted like . . . bdx. Lovely wine. Not extraordinary but not a caricature either. Very much enjoyed it.
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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#46 Post by Laurent Gibet » October 17th, 2020, 1:47 pm

My last 2003, at the beginning of october 2020 was excellent, ripe but properly balanced :
Pomerol La Conseillante 2003 : 17/20
Offre mûre, corsée, graphitée. Bouche de très belle tenue, plutôt onctueuse (mais sans lourdeur condamnable), évitant les potentiels pièges du millésime.
Last edited by Laurent Gibet on October 17th, 2020, 1:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#47 Post by Otto Forsberg » October 17th, 2020, 1:56 pm

Any insight on Figeac?

We had 2003 Figeac in our Cabs and Bordeaux blends blind tasting earlier this year. Almost everyone unanimously said that it was a classic Bordeaux, right from the first sniff. Quite modest alcohol at 13% and high acidity with even a slightly herbaceous, leafy streak of Cab Franc.

I was floored to learn it was 2003 when the bottles were revealed. It had none of the hot-vintage qualities whatsoever. I was pretty much in the ballpark regarding the age (my guess was Bordeaux - although I thought of a left-banker - with 15 years of age) but I never ever would've thought it was 2003. Hands down the best 2003 Bordeaux I've tasted.

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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#48 Post by Laurent Gibet » October 17th, 2020, 2:06 pm

Otto Forsberg wrote:
October 17th, 2020, 1:56 pm
Any insight on Figeac?

We had 2003 Figeac in our Cabs and Bordeaux blends blind tasting earlier this year. Almost everyone unanimously said that it was a classic Bordeaux, right from the first sniff. Quite modest alcohol at 13% and high acidity with even a slightly herbaceous, leafy streak of Cab Franc.

I was floored to learn it was 2003 when the bottles were revealed. It had none of the hot-vintage qualities whatsoever. I was pretty much in the ballpark regarding the age (my guess was Bordeaux - although I thought of a left-banker - with 15 years of age) but I never ever would've thought it was 2003. Hands down the best 2003 Bordeaux I've tasted.

Figeac 2003 was ok in a verticale in 2009. Not surprised it can be great today.

Montrose 2003 excellent in july 2010 (17/20) :
St-Estèphe Montrose 2003 : 17/20 – 26/6/10
Nez enivrant : chocolat, tabac, cèdre, graphite, cassis, fumée.
Ici aussi, onctuosité, avec de la finesse et de la longueur (et une fraîcheur préservée pour un vin exubérant mais suffisamment ferme).


My best 2003 : Pomerol Lafleur 2003 (19/20 in 2017) - Pomerol ripe vintage … and a stunning "vin de garde" !

Not conviced by the storytelling about Pavie 2003 …
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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#49 Post by Dan Kravitz » October 17th, 2020, 6:38 pm

Haven't read the whole thread, but gave up on '03 Bordeaux a long time ago. I think I've got two bottles left, Calon-Segur and ???

A far better use for them than luncheon wines is to use instead of Port (with Stilton or such) at the end of a winter dinner.

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Re: A Disappointing Boozy Lunch: 2003 Saint Estephe

#50 Post by J Dove » October 17th, 2020, 6:56 pm

Every time I open a 2003 (like tonight) I’m disappointed there’s more in the cellar. 2003 Leoville Barton is a brick shithouse tonight. It might turn into something interesting (to me) someday. And, it might not. I will say that the ‘03 Lafite was pretty good and much more finessed a few weeks ago, but I’d never pay $500 a bottle for it.

I stopped buying Cos a long time ago but aside from the 89/90, it never got me too excited.
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