2003 Chateau Rayas

I’ve been hesitant with the 2003 vintage in France - mostly because many tasting notes of Burgundy, Rhone, and even Bordeaux has been predominantly described with heat, ripe fruits, jammy etc. I reluctantly purchased a 2003 Chateau Rayas, eager to try and replicate the awesome experience I had in Paris with the 2005 vintage of Rayas.

Popped and poured into a decanter - the nose just rips through the air - full of incredible aromas of sweet red cherries, spices, oranges, roses, and minerals with a hint of leather and licorice. While a stunning nose, not quite as stunning as the 2005. Nevertheless, an amazing floral nose. On the palate, the wine displays a sense of freshness and purity with no characteristics of ripe fruits and jamminess - just an elegant yet powerful wine. Bright acidity laced with sweet red fruit coats your palate and the finish seemingly lasts forever. While the 2005, for me, is more concentrated and brilliant, the 2003 is a complete and complex wine in its own right. Really enjoyed it - firing on all cylinders tonight and I’m sure it has many years ahead of it. I’m glad I took a chance with the 2003 vintage; gotta get myself some more of these. Gotta get me some more Rayas, period!

2003 Rayas.JPG

Thanks for the excellent note.

Agree that the 2005 is one, if not several notches above the 2003. On the other hand the latter is a point now (as most 2003 CdP are- that is those that aren’t already OTH).

Remember that 2003 was the first vintage where Emmanuel found the key to the secrets his uncle took with him when he passed away in 1997.

On this forum I’m at a variance with soe other amateurs (but hardly any professionals) as to whether Emmanuel managed to fulfil the potential of the very fine vintages 1998, 2000 and 2001 from this hallowed terroir, and I’m almost certain that there’ll be other posters adamantly advocating the opposite view to mine.

A good thing for me when I sold my charming, but not great 1998’s and 2001’s as well as the decidly disappointing 2000’s.

Below my most recent note.

2003 Rayas
07-01 2016 nB
Medium deep or slightly lighter with fully mature edge.
Extremely satisfying aroma in its fully mature, organic, incence-like sappyness and opulent expression of old vine Grenache from a great terroir.
Taste on the rich side, but counterbalanced by fresh, fully integrated acidity. Lovely rowanberry jelly imbued finish with a pretty long, ever so slightly hot aftertaste.
Lovely, hearty and highly quaffable CdP, this delicious wine begs to be drunk now while the balance is fully intact.


Thanks for the note, Juyuan; never had the '03 but now you’ve put it on my radar.

Peter, the one time I had it, maybe a year ago, I found the 2001 as good as I could have hoped.

Glad that you enjoyed the 03 Rayas. I agree with peter that the 05 is great.

Options6/18/2015 - I WROTE: 95 points
TN: Rhone dinner (The Grill Room at Capella Hotel Georgetown): Oh boy this is delicious! The nose is almost a mature Burgundy except a hint of Rayas cherry liqueur. Sweet decadent red fruit driven nose, sous bois, strawberry, cherry liqueur, a small hint of 2003 roasted fruit, rose water and leather. Medium concentration, warm and round, sweet slightly dry red fruit driven palate impression, bright acidity and lovely long sweet finish. Great contrast to the 03 Pegau and Clos de Papes, better balance, more mature, less concentrated and less 03ish.