2018 Mark Taylor and Yves Durand 2003 Bordeaux Tastings ATL

I was invited to a wonderful tasting of 2003 Bordeaux by Mark Taylor and Yves Durand. 24 of us tried to sort out individual character traits of these youthful wines. Some of the local celebs here were in attendance. Todd French. Eric Levine. Bob Fleming. The Berserkers were well represented.

The single blind format is always a game. Trying to find something that will give you a clue as to the actual wine you are tasting. A difficult task with these very concentrated and youthful wines. I think I was able to get one out of twelve on day one. Not a great percentage.

The wines showed youthful and closed as a group on day one. They did open a little over an hour to give a peek. I didn’t detect any extremes of maturity with very few exceptions. The alcohol levels also were not intrusive or objectionable to me. That was a surprise.

First Flight

Wine One- The nose is closed and takes some coaxing. There is darker fruit here. A beautifully constructed palate with a hint of spice. Lighter in color than many of the others. Some element of tobacco with an hour of aeration. Tannic finish.

Wine Two- This wine opens with hints of vinyl/acetone on a nose of dark spicy fruit. Very dark fruit and a silky type of presentation of the palate. The perceived acidity is higher here. ? VA? The tannins do come in on the finish and shorten it. This wine has not quite come together yet.

Wine Three- A nose that shows barnyard aromas that are quite strong on opening but blow off with an hour or so. Some element of overripe fruit that does go away. There is concentrated dark fruit. This wine just never takes off. There is plenty of fruit and tannin. Disjointed at this point.

Wine Four- Beautiful nose of focused darker fruit. Primary cabernet. The palate is structured and shows very focused beautiful darker fruit with elements of spice. The finish is extremely nice. Old school winemaking. Absolutely beautiful.

Wine Five - Redder fruit here on the nose. This one is a little more open. The palate is harmonious. Dark red fruit and spicy notes. Very nice finish.

Wine Six- This nose is very open and opulent for about 30 minutes then it shuts a little. Beautiful sexy darker fruit. Some element of truffle type notes. Integrated. This wine is quite harmonious and forward. Very good length. Some tannin on the finish. Extremely nice at this point.

_1. Branaire-Ducru
2. Clos Fourtet
3. Leoville Porferre
4. Pontet Canet
5. Lagrange
6. Pavie-Decesse

Flight Two

Wine One- The nose is big and dark fruited. Very pure and powerful. The palate is loaded with dark fruit. Very clean. Very deep and structured. Long finish. Nice!

Wine Two- This wine has all of the characteristics of wine one but at a lower level of intensity and opulence. Here you can sense the element of earthiness that seems to be wanting to burst out. Very dark deep and structured. Long finish. This is also very nice!

Wine Three- More open knit. The nose is sweet sexy dark fruit. Vibrant. The mid palate shows some smoky tobacco elements. The concentration level is down a notch. Nice finish.

Wine Four- This nose is closed and takes a lot of coaxing. The palate is dark fruit and quite structured. The finish is long with some element of tobacco. This one just doesn’t seem to be together yet.

Wine Five- Darker fruit. There is an element of oak on the nose and palate that integrates in about 30 minutes. Spicy. This one has relatively fine tannins and support. Again, as good as this is, it is just not all together yet. Disjointed.

Wine Six - Very closed and brooding. Darker fruit. Disjointed. Difficult to assess.

1. Cos d’Estournel
2. Montrose
3. Pavie
4. Pichon Lalande
5. Leoville Las Cases
6. Pichon Baron

A fun day. So many really great people too. The wines are great but the discussions are fascinating. Thank you Mark and Yves for inviting me.

Local celebs? Todd and Eric live in the same city now??

Nice notes, Don. I appreciate you posting your impressions. I completely agree with you on the Pontet Canet.


These notes are from day two.

Day Two 2003 Bordeaux

First Flight

Wine One- Lighter wine. Quite beautiful nose. Red type fruit. The balance is nice but the depth is lacking here. Lacking a little intensity

Wine Two- This is darker and starts out a little muted. The nose is excellent. Red fruited. Vibrant with aeration. Silky and harmonious palate. Nice length.

Wine Three- Darker still. Primary darker fruit on the nose and palate. Very good intensity. Good balance with an excellent finish.

Wine Four- A funky nose. Appears almost bacterial but blows off a little. The wine is slightly oxidized. Extremely tannic. Very difficult wine to assess.

Wine Five- Creamy oak on the nose and palate that integrates quickly. Silky red fruit. Long finish here. Elegant.

Wine Six - Reticent nose. Primary reddish fruit that leads to a harmonious palate. The finish shows a rush of tannin. Very young. Also quite good.

_1. Haut - Bages –Liberal
2. Fonbadet
3. Cambon La Pelouse (a surprise and excellent wine!)
4. D’Angludet
5. Gloria
6. Grand-Puy-Lacoste

Second Flight

Wine One- Dark fruit. Cocoa and coffee notes. Amazing complexity on the nose and palate. Extremely intense and extremely long. Profound wine.

Wine Two- Gorgeous red fruited nose. Very deep and intense on the palate. Quite structured with tobacco notes and spice. Long. Excellent!

Wine Three- Sweeter red/black fruit on the nose. The palate is intense and fantastically deep. Harmonious. Superb.

Wine Four- Dark red fruit and tobacco spice on the nose and palate. The mid palate is extremely intense and so detailed. Infinitely long. Profound wine.

Wine Five- Lighter red color. The nose and palate are red fruited with lots of silky tannins. Elegant. Quite good but doesn’t have the intensity of the other four wines.

Wine Six- Deep dark fruit on the nose. Primary in a way. The palate is silky. Tobacco. Complex and long. Very good.

1. Lafite
2. Lynch Bages
3. Mouton
4. Margaux
5. La Mission Haut Brion
6. Haut Brion

This flight was uniformly excellent. Higher intensity of fruit. More complexity. A real treat!

Thanks again to Mark and Yves for the grand tasting. Educational and fun as always.

I’ll get to my notes hopefully tomorrow! Today is a full day of travel…

Travel safely Todd. Good to see you.

Happy to have bought EP. particularly cos and pavie yuuuuup,

My turn! Bravo to Don for posting so quickly - I was not as eager to ‘get to work’ as he was, but happy, as always, to join the crew for the tastings! Special thanks again to Mark Taylor and Yves for the event.

First Flight:

  1. Forest floor differentiates this from the others, silky, weighty, fruit not yet developed, not as sweet/ripe as I’d expect, more California-cab in character, vanilla on the nose as well. I guessed Pontet-Canet, was Branaire-Ducru.

  2. Heavy on graphite and saddle leather, so I’m thinking Lagrange right away, based on my experience with the 2000’s. Sweet cherry, drying tannins, dry finish, ready to go. I guessed Lagrange, was Clos Fourtet

  3. Smells of vanilla, New World style, my first guess is Pontet Canet (I later changed it), soft and supple, softer and rounder tannins, lush and rich. I changed my guess to Leoville Poyferre because this was the ONLY 2003 Bordeaux I had in my cellar to practice with before the tasting, and I did recognize it after the first few sniffs. Fortunately, this is the one I got correct.

  4. Tight, but the nose seems to have a higher quality than the rest, if that makes sense. Blast of delicious sweet red and blue fruits, great acidity, really gripping texture, fantastic finish. I guessed Branaire-Ducru, was Pontet Canet

  5. Unique nose - very perfumed, maybe merlot, touch of coffee. Lush but not as much body as #4, strong finish that really carries through. Sweet red fruits dominate. I guessed Pavie Decesse, was Lagrange

  6. This one seems to have very high toast to the barrel, as it is really smoky. Lots of graphite as well, very little fruit on the nose. Earthy, more blue fruited than red, good structure but interestingly not ‘ripe’ like one expects for the vintage. I guessed Pontet Canet, was Pavie Decesse

Second Flight

  1. Shy nose, red cherry, cassis, gorgeous on the palate, silky and rich, good acidity, fine drying tannins, red fruits on the finish as well. Slate, minerality comes through on the nose a bit later on. I guessed Montrose, was Cos d’Estournel. My #2, group’s #1

  2. First one to smell ‘ripe’, very slightly pruned to me, coffee on the nose, nice grip on the palate, great structure, blackberry and cedar, long finish. I guessed Leoville-Las-Cases, was Montrose. My 4th, group’s 2nd

  3. Beautiful color, smells like ripe red and blue fruit, shows the vintage qualities on color and nose more than the last flight. Weighty but at the same time brightly acidic - overbrightness in all ways other than fruit character. Roasted meat and herbs, advancing rather quickly, wouldn’t let this age much longer. Very long finish which otherwise ‘saves’ this wine for me, as I don’t like it otherwise. I guessed Pavie and was correct. My 5th, group’s 4th

  4. Very smoky - high toast? - earthy but shy nose otherwise, darker fruit profile, nice structure, well made, long finish, needs a lot of time. I guessed Pichon Lalande and was correct My 3rd, group’s 5th

  5. Very unique nose - can’t quite place it, some strong, specific floral component I can’t identify, running spring water, some soap (not glass detergent, as these were already used, rinsed with Peligrino thereafter), very weighty, more toasted oak, blackberry and plum, finish is weak compared to mouthfeel. I guessed Cos and it was Leoville Los Cases. My 6th, group’s 3rd

  6. More traditional Bordeaux nose, still so young. Touch of bubblegum, cherry, graphite on the nose. Gorgeous mouthfeel and flavor profile - packed with structure and fruit and extremely well made. Wow. I guessed Pichon Baron and was correct. Amazingly, this was my 1st, and the group’s 6th!

    2nd Day:

    First Flight:

  7. Dill pickle (American oak?) on the nose, slightly astringent, medium to light body, tar and red cherry on the palate. Nice but not super high quality - quaffable. I guessed Cambon la Pelouse, was Haut-Bages-Liberal. My 4th, group’s 6th

  8. Dark cherry, pine needles, tapenade on the nose, touch of mint. Beautiful silky mouthfeel with a blast of blue and red fruits. Slightly shorter finish but delicious. Lots of drying tannins. I guessed Fonbadet, was correct. My 5th, group’s 2nd (not sure why my rating was this low, frankly)

  9. Graphite, cedar, dark fruit profile on the otherwise shy nose. Medium weight, riper fruit profile on the palate, sweet red cherry and forest floor, strong acidity, good finish, fine tannins. Ready to drink. I guessed D’Angludet, was Cambon la Pelouse. My 1st, group’s 1st

  10. Plums, stone fruits, coffee, graphite nose, beautiful sweet fruit profile, some cake frosting, super fine tannins. Long finish but it descends quickly (fades instantly but then persists at the faded level - an ‘early’ finish, as someone quipped), nice weight to it, not as good as most from yesterday but decent. I guessed Haut-Bages-Liberal, was d’Angludet. My 3rd, group’s 5th

  11. (our bottle was corked, so this note was on the shared pour from the other side’s bottle) Most classic Bordeaux profile on the nose of the grouping, nice red cherry and saddle leather, acidic, long finish, lighter bodied. I guessed Gloria and was correct. My 2nd, group’s 3rd

  12. Brandy nose (slightly madeirized?) savory nose, flawed a bit as teh flavor profile fades immediately. Nice sweet fruit comes through after some time in the glass, I’m guessing quality wine but flawed slightly. I guessed Grand-Puy-Lacoste and was correct. My 6th, group’s 4th

Second Flight:

(Overall this flight was miles above the others in quality - I was wishing we had to taste each of the flights double blind, to see if we didn’t feel that way based solely on the labels, but universally these seemed fantastic wines of a different level than almost everything else in prior flights)

  1. Roasted meats, smoke, tobacco, herbal nose. Beautiful weight, great blue/red fruits, truffle, sharp acidity, tart and sweet red cherry, long finish, fantastic wine. I guessed Mouton, was Lafite. My 2nd, group’s 2nd

  2. Another shy nose, but some floral and blackberry compote comes through. Lighter bodied, very dry tannins, tart fruit profile (odd for 2003), decent finish. I guessed Haut Brion, was Lynch-Bages. My 5th, group’s 4th

  3. Elegant, regal nose, silky lush mouthfeel, balanced darker fruit profile, seamless transition to the finish, long and enjoyable, enough structure to easily handle food, well made. I guessed Lafite, it was Mouton (I switched them, as you can see). My 3rd, group’s 3rd

  4. Roasted meat, broth, cassis, tapenade on the nose, gorgeous sweet red fruits and luscious weight, fantastic long finish that perfectly transitions from the palate, tremendous. Showy wine, well made. I guessed Margaux, was correct. My 1st, group’s 1st.

  5. Sharp graphite/flint nose, cocoa, sweet red fruited on the palate, light to medium weight, acidic, very strong finish that accelerates throughout. I guessed La Mission-Haut-Brion, was correct. My 4th, group’s 6th.

  6. Needs some coaxing on the nose but with a good swirl, some pitted fruits and a sharp graphite character, touch of white florals and pine sap come out. Nice weight, silky yet light and refreshing mouthfeel. Young tannic structure, fruit of red cherry and tannins not yet integrated needs time, all components there but I’m not sure if the fruit will emerge or has already faded. I guessed Lynch Bages, was Haut-Brion (I switched these, too, as you can see). My 6th, group’s 5th.