Château Lagrange - St.Julien - 2000
Still a very good colour - dark ruby, with not much brown to the edges. Aromas of damson, red cherry, a little smoke, some rosehips, and then some wild strawberry. The attack is fresh and cool, with red cherry to the fore, before quite a broad but soft middle section of rosehip and damson, then a cooling finish of blackcurrant and dark raspberry.
Absolutely wonderful, the best Lagrange 2000 I have tried to date and probably the best Lagrange I’ve ever had. More weight than the 96 and more fruit than the 90 at the same age. I’ve found that some 00s are becoming a bit syrupy, whereas Lagrange is moving in the opposite direction. This was in pristine condition, with a very tight cork, probably explaining the perfect fill. No hurry at all, this could even get better and will drink well for ten, maybe twenty years. I did not decant. 97 pts
Domaine de Chevalier - Pessac-Léognan - 2005
I was inspired to open this by Jane Anson’s very interesting report on the 2005s last week, in which she chose DdeC as the wine to open now. I followed her advice and decanted it for several hours.
Decanting was absolutely necessary - on opening, the wine was a bit disjointed with the sort of rasping, tannic finish that I’ve come to expect from 05s.
On the nose, red cherry, cigar box and redcurrants, plus some sweet spices towards the end. At first, a rush of red cherry, quite high-pitched, before some silky redcurrant and an intense third wave of blackberry and blackcurrant - so far so good - then…wham…the finish hits the back of the throat: very acidic, quite hot, a lingering sensation of cough mixture and kirsch. Not as tannic as it had been on opening, but it belied the mere 13° and ruined the whole experience.
I’m not sure what to think about this - there is a silky elegance to the fruit and until the finish, it is quite impressive, but it’s one of those glossy, high-pitched wines that lack a bass line, and as for the finish…I just hope time will sort it out. The style of the wine is anything but classic, like for me so far, the vintage itself. I can imagine the Chevalier turning into something special, but I wouldn’t put any money on it. It just reminded me yet again of how much I miss the old style.
Critics seem to be unanimous about how good it is, but on CT, opinions vary between ecstatic and disappointed
Anyway, it was interesting trying the two wines together - the Lagrange’s low acidity became much clearer, just as the Chevalier’s high acidity became even more obvious. There was of course no contest.