Brane-Cantenac and Grand Puy Lacoste 2004

The Brane was tasted last weekend and the GPL last night:

Brane-Cantenac - Margaux - 2004

Quite a discreet nose, but some notes of blackcurrant and dark cherry. The attack is just as discreet: although soft and plump, the fruit only emerges in the middle section, spikes of cassis and dark cherry again, with occasional touches of blackberry, like mountains rising above the mist. The fruit does taste ripe, there simply isn’t enough of it to make the wine really interesting. Overall a decent bottle but like the one tasted last year, a little bland.

Grand Puy Lacoste - Pauillac - 2004

A better bouquet than the B-C, classic Pauillac, with dark berries, cigar box and cassis, along with some vanilla and violet. The attack is very soft and plump again, but there is more in the way of fruit, the spikes of cassis and blackberry much more prominent. The middle section however never really takes off - so slightly frustrating, but the bigger problem is the finish, which is dominated by a green, unripe sense of bitterness. Again, perfectly drinkable, a decent traditional-style claret, but lacking in oomph. Compared to other vintages, the 01, 02 and 07, which I have tried over the last few years, have all been better.

So basically, both these wines are nothing special! I thought I’d post them together because I know many, like me, are interested in buying 2004s to enjoy while waiting for the riper vintages to emerge properly. At a similar price, Giscours is a lot better than both, but overall, one has to tread carefully with 2004 - there are some good wines but a lot which are perfectly ok but not that wonderful. So far, my favourite, by some distance, has been Léoville-Barton.


Useful reference thank you Julian.

When we did a 2004 horizontal in London in April 2018 GPL was a bit of a dud too, and in its flight Batailley was better (unusually) and Lynch Bages was a lot better.

We did not have Brane-Cantenac but in the Margaux flight Giscours was good but backward with Pavillon Rouge the star.

We came away with a positive impression of the vintage. And agree that Leoville-Barton, which did not feature in our tasting, is a stand out in 2004.

Cheers guys -

Steen, which ones have been brilliant?

Ian, I did have Giscours twice, and the first bottle was a bit muted, so I’m not surprised. Good to know about the Batailley, which I will look out for, thanks.

Apart from Léo-B, my winners so far have been Haut-Bailly, Domaine de Chevalier, Boyd-C, Lafon-Rochet and Armailhac.

Excellent notes as always, thanks Julian! Expectations were high before I opened a bottle of the 2004 Brane-Cantenac a while ago. But the wine did not deliver what the nose suggested. Indeed, a disappointment. Not so the impressive 2004 Giscours, which is one of the finest Margaux I have tasted in recent months and by no means backward, at least to my taste.

My note:The 2004 Giscours is a great, precise Margaux, with excellent ripeness and admirable richness, superb concentration, great tension, and plenty of fruit and freshness. Finely grained tannins underline its spicy character. Moreover, it has an irresistible, elegant, classy, complex fragrance. Enjoyably mature now. I’m delighted!

I’ve not yet drank the 2004 Grand Puy Lacoste, but in recent years the 2008, 2001, 1999, and 1997. None of them was nowhere near what I had expected. Shame on them!

Thanks Rudi - if you spot any GPL 2002 grab a bottle, it’s surprisingly good and excellent value - likewise the 07 albeit in a lighter style.


Disappointing showings there!

I really like some of the wines from this vintage. I just grabbed some more 2004 Vieux Chateau Certan, which IMHO, is one of the best of the vintage. Had the 2004 Ducru Beaucaillou last week, it was also outstanding. The Montrose did not impress, however.

Nice update

Steen - thanks, that’s very interesting - I have never tried either of those two so I shall look out for some.

Robert - thanks for the thumbs down about Montrose - I was toying with the idea of getting a bottle. Sadly, Ducru is out of my budget these days, as is VCC, but good to read how great they are in 2004.

Arv - thanks - any suggestions of good 04s?

2004 Pontet Canet is also very fine. It’s not quite the same level as Barton, but it’s very close.

Thanks David, that one is in my pipeline for later this year.

The 2004 Pichon Baron is a nice wine. Have not opened one in a couple years but have had it a half dozen times and always drinks wonderfully. Think it stays true to the house style.

I liked 2004 GPL more than you did, I don’t recall green or bitterness, but I loved the classic claret nose with a savory basil or bay leaf note that screams traditional Cabernet.

Probably been 3 or 4 years since I have had it though.

Since 1995 GPL has been the best at delivering consistent quality and value while offering classic claret flavors. Plenty of wines I prefer, but GPL has been on a really nice run of quality.

Thanks Brad, good suggestion.

Kris, it was just one bottle and just my taste! I’m a fan too, although not at all of the 03, which I think they blew, so the 04 was disappointing.

Cosigned on the '04s from Pontet Canet and Haut Bailly – have had both in the last few months and each overdelivered based on my expectations (especially the HB). I wouldn’t hesitate to buy more.