TN: 2003 Pavie Macquin and 2004 Lillian

Drank these at dinner with several other wines so I don’t have detailed notes but can pass along general impressions.

2003 Pavie Macquin - Opened and left in the bottle for about 2 hours then drank over the next 3 hours. In a very good place right now, but obviously young. I was concerned it might still be a bit tight but there was plenty of fruit showing through. It was full bodied with just a little bit of earthiness. The oak and tannin were present but not at all obtrusive. With all that it showed last night, it is very enjoyable now but there is no rush.

2004 Lillian - Opened and left in the bottle for about 3 hours then drank over the next 2 hours. I last had a bottle of this very shortly after release. While it was good then, it is much better now. In its youth, it was obvious that it had good stuffing, but it was a bit angular and restrained. I considered it more pretty than powerful at the time. Fast forward 18 months and this bottle was showing what the earlier bottle had only hinted at. The wine has really opened up and become well integrated. It was very full bodied now and the fruit has fleshed out, showing a lot of dark berry flavors. The fruit was was just what you want in a syrah and while it was very big, it never got close to being overly sweet, which I really appreciated.

Bruce, it seems like you are confident the Pavie Macquin has many more years left in it, contrary to the popular belief of the hot vintage making the wines peak quite early and go downhill rapidly. In fact, the whole note seems quite contrary to what I’ve typically seen in '03 BDX notes - perhaps the higher end BDX can handle the heat, as it were.


A couple of things. I like my wines young, which is why I tend more to California than France. So, the fact that I thought this was open and enjoyable indicates that it is accessible fairly early for a BDX. The last 2 wines that I had from 2003 in this price range were the Leoville Barton and the Pape Clement, approximately 18 months ago. While those were both terrific and had tons of fruit, the Pape Clement in particular, my notes at the time indicated that they really needed several more years to integrate and develop into even better wines.

Now, the Pavie Macquin last night was more advanced than either of those wines were at the time, and I don’t think the PM was as good a wine as those were. But it had too much fruit and enough structure for me to believe that it is going to fade rapidly. It should continue to integrate and improve for a while before the fruit starts to go.

One thing I should correct for you, though, is that I did not say “many” years. I really can’t say how long before this wine starts on the downslope (again, because I prefer my wines young, making my downslope earlier than a lot of other people). I will probably have my next and last bottle in about 2 years, and I’d be surprised if it wasn’t just as good or a little better than last night’s bottle. But for those that like bdx with more age and with more of the secondary flavors that develop, I would expect this to be a good wine for several more years after mine are gone

My bigger concern is the 2003 Pontet Canet which was so great when I had it immediately after release, but which I have read so may varying notes about it being shut down that I have been afraid to open one since. I have a case of that so I am going to have to sacrifice one soon and see where it stands.

It is a myth that 03’ bordeaux’s, because of of the hot vintage will not be long lasting wines and I agree with you. My experience and others that I have talked to who know a lot about wine making feel the better bordeaux’s will be quite long lived.

I had 03 Pavie Macquin about 8 months ago, double blind, and pegged it as 2000 St. Emilion. The wine is true to it’s terroir, a testament to Stephane Derenoncourt (who contrary to what might be popular belief, maintains terroir in the wines very well) and his winemaking team. I totally agree with Bruce’s point about the advanced aging of the wine, and find the wine refined and balanced, but still shows more room to grow.

For those curious of the aging of the wine, seek out the early vintages since the turnaround, 93 is the first year, and 95 is a super sleeper.

Glad to hear about the Lillian, was going to open one Sunday, but just way too hot for big red. Drank some Verdejo instead.


If I let the weather affect my wine choices, I would only be able to drink big reds a couple months of the year.

Terroir helped, but the choices made at harvest made or break 03 Right Bank wines. It’s a bit of a minefield there…

Thanks for thr 03 Pavie Mac notes. As I am just getting my racks placed, I just unpacked my Pavie last week. Up to this point, most of my wine has been in the styro shipping containers in my cellar.

I don’t have a way to state whether or not 03 Bords will last, except to say that other hot vintages have lasted extremely well.

In addition, I have seen all of those notes that suggest a closed 03 Pontet, and I don’t believe that for a second. I’ll be blunt: most people have no clue what the it means for a wine to be ‘closed’ or ‘shut down’. They use those terms usually to mean that a wine is not yet mature (which is an entirely different thing) or as a euphimism for “I didn’t like it”. While I have not had the 03 Pontet in awhile, I would be shocked if it were closed, because there is nothing in this wines profile that would have suggested to me that it would ever go through such a stage.