Boyd-Cantenac 2001 and 2002

Probably not the sort of wine or vintage to set anyone’s pulse racing, especially the 2002, but in fact they’re both really good. We had them side by side with friends last night.

Boyd-Cantenac 2001

All the clumsiness of its youth is now a distant memory: it’s powerful, yet refined, a solid base of deep, creamy cherry and loganberries, over which soars a middle section leaning towards redcurrant and hints of vanilla, before a fine, dusty finish which could only come from Margaux.
Once again, a wine for fans of classic, old-fashioned claret, the sort which needs 15 years before drinking. Sadly, not a wine that is easy to find: most bottles will have been drunk a long time ago, before it hit full maturity.

Boyd Cantenac 2002

Dark, brooding colour, typical of Boyd, with a cherries and leather on the nose. The attack is fresh, vibrant and arresting, mainly cherries with a touch of cassis, with a middle section of brambly fruit which is a little muted, before a long finish, but initially, the wine is slightly disjointed in that the youthful attack is not in harmony with the finish. After a few hours, it all comes together and a second wave appears of intense, much lighter raspberry.

They’re equally good, probably worth 91 pts, although I just preferred the 02. I suspect the latter was mainly Cabernet, it tastes like it anyway. Both will keep going and probably improve over the next few years. Incredible value too. RMP gave them good reviews on release and he was spot on. Fine, traditional claret, not oaky, not spoofy, just good.

These sounds like winners! I actually like the 2001 vintage very very much, but funny enough, do not own a single 2002.

These sounds like winners! I actually like the 2001 vintage very very much, but funny enough, do not own a single 2002

Do you mean Boyd or the entire 2002 vintage?!

Have a bunch of the '05 and popped one recently in the context of a left bank Bordeaux tasting. The Boyd-Cantenac was one the most interesting of the wines of the group, but still very young. Along with its surprising rather deep purple color, which you say is typical of Boyd (interesting), what set it apart was its rather high-toned fruits with almost some rosemary in the nose, along with a complex yet still reticent finish that at this stage reminded me more of Burgundy than Bordeaux. Interesting that you thought a lot of Cab in the '02; how about '01 or '05? I was thinking not in the latter, but obviously you have more experience with this wine.

Joshua, I haven’t tried my 05s yet so thanks for the info. Sounds very promising!
I think the 02 was mainly Cabernet because in that year, the Merlot didn’t do well, but I don’t think this was the case in 01 and certainly not in 05. In 02, some wines as a result are either a bit hollow or a bit lopsided.
Like many people, I used to open my Boyds too early, thinking it was like most Margaux. It isn’t. When I first tried the 01, for example, in 2012, it was clumsy, rustic and awkward. It took a good fifteen years to blossom, which is a pretty good guide for Boyd, on the basis of my experience. I’ve grown to really like it but one does have to be really patient. The good side is that you don’t risk much by waiting, since the drinking plateau seems to be very long.

The only problem nowadays is the price: the 01, 02 and 04 cost between 14 and 20€, for which you get a very good if not outstanding wine and excellent value. The 05 was the last vintage I bought, for 33€ which I found a little steep but OK in view of the vintage. I’m sure the wine will merit the price. Today, recent Boyds seem to sell for at least 40€, if not 50 or even 60€, which is too much, unless there has been a huge upsurge in quality which I somehow doubt. I know some refuse to take price into consideration but for me it’s just as important as the taste. There’s a lot of wine on the market at 50€ a bottle which I would buy first.

Thanks for the info, Julian!

We don’t see Boyd-Cantenac here so often, and I stopped buying new releases of Bordeaux after the '05 vintage. Checking Winesearcher, the wine does not seem to have undergone the sort of price inflation that you speak of in the States, however, and one shop even appears to have it at your 01,02, and 04 pricing.

All best,

Josh, at those prices it’s definitely a good buy! Older vintages haven’t really budged much here either, it’s post 09 that they increased - even the 2012 was around 50€ EP, which is mad. But that’s a general problem with a lot of CCs, which is why I buy more CBs nowadays. Cheers!

I’m a big fan of their second wine, Josephine de Boyd. Kl has some of the ‘10 for $30 and I think it’s great.

Thanks for the note. We’ve had the 1982 and 2000 in recent years. They have never really softened up their wine for modern tastes. It seems like the Margaux equivalent of Batailley.

Had it with a Brane C. side by side…what a difference!

I have a case of the 05 Boyd Cantenac, yet to try one though. I know Dan Kravitz is a big fan of this chateau. Love what I’m hearing in your notes about the house style here.

Arv, Batailley’s a good comparison, the only difference being the price. Batailley has had the common sense to stay at the 30/35€ level. Brane is a totally different proposition to Boyd, so spending 50/70€ is acceptable in today’s context but that doesn’t justify the same hike for Boyd. I have the same problem with Rauzan-Gassies. I was quite happy to pay 25/35€ in the past, for a wine that was good without quite managing a triple salto, but 50€ for the same thing is a different matter altogether.

Thanks Pat, you’ve reminded me who it was who rightfully scolded me for opening my Boyds too early - it was Dan Kravitz.

Thanks for the nice notes, Julian! The 2002 Body-Cantenac is indeed a delicious wine.

Glad you liked it too, Rudi! Apart from the 01, the 04 is drinking well too.

I tried the 2004 this weekend - it’s a typical Boyd, opening up nicely after a sulky adolescence. Beautifully balanced between body and fruit intensity, with intense red cherry at first over a thick, fleshy attack, followed by a pure middle section of blackcurrant and a searing finish of both flavours, with just enough dusty Margaux elegance right at the end. A few years ago, I was scolded by someone, probably Dan Kravitz, for opening these too early - he was absolutely right. Boyd is the Léoville-Barton of Margaux, a classic, traditional claret, which needs at least fifteen years to open, sometimes more. Great value but not for the impatient.

Sonds very tempting. Thanks for the note, Julian!