03 Pichon Baron and 04 Smith Haut Lafite - Brief Notes

Had these last Friday evening with some Flannery Wagyu steaks. Tasted single blind.

04 SHL - Great expressive, espresso nose, firm acidity and slightly edgy tannins. Loved this wine out of the blocks as did the others. The nose is so distinctive on this wine I knew which one this was immediately and was later confirmed when revealed.

03 PB - More muted nose with big, round tannins. A beautiful, voluptuous mouthfeel and intense flavors. Very typical of Left Bank in 03 (in a great way). This took a while to come around. However, in a come from behind win, it was far ahead of the SHL by the end of the night in everyone’s book.

Both wines were very good and it will be fun to watch them evolve. I have long loved the SHL for its value and the acidity and tannins will have this be a great wine over the next 20 years. I think the PB will be drinking similarly to something like 01 Pavie in about 5 years. This was my first bottle and wish I had bought more (although I have plenty) at the price I found last year.


Bold statement on the Pichon Baron living up to the '01 Pavie…but time will obviously tell.

FWIW, I had an '01 Pavie Decesse on Saturday night that was outstanding and every bit as good as big brother…and I found it for $70.

Thanks for a note on the SHL. I have a few of these tucked away, so much appreciated.

Bill - Not saying it will be it’s equal (but I wouldn’t underestimate it), but I could see it going that direction in mouth feel and lusciousness. Very ripe 03 L Bankers are great with an outstanding future. I will look forward to revisiting this in about 5 years.

Steffan - I love this wine and have a lot of it for evenings where I want something nice from BDX, but I don’t want to open a very top wine. I’m curious to try the 05 which I have a lot of, but I’m sure it’s tight and tannic. Hold or drink on the 04 - there is no hurry as I’m sure you have 15 years on this wine, if not more.


I loved the PB 03 at a tasting I went to when they were first released. probably the star of the show for me from what it was up against. I’m still kicking myself that i didn’t buy any.

Nice notes Dr. S. Glad the dinner went well and the wines performed up to speed. Going to crack an '04 SHL myself tomorrow!