TN: Is Bordeaux 2000 still going strong?

From a viticultural perspective, 2000 was a rather turbulent vintage in Brodeaux, starting off with a cool spring, a wet early summer and then suddenly followed by a warm and dry late summer, leading into a very dry autumn patched with occasional heatwaves. Although up until July, the vintage seemed patchy and middling, by the harvest it was clear that the wines were going to be quite exceptional with remarkably healthy grapes that showed rather noticeable ripeness, extraordinary sense of concentration and atypically high levels of tannins.

One of my acquaintances had been collecting Bordeaux 2000 since the release, having a healthy stock wines from the get-go and slowly accumulating even more bottles over the years. This fall, as the wines turned 20, he decided that now would be the perfect time to check out how the vintage is going, as a whole. He selected a good handful of 2000 wines from both sides of the river and put them all together in one large Bordeaux horizontal.

What surprised me positively in this tasting was how many Châteaux that were making rather modernist wines even back then were performing remarkably well now, after 20 years of aging. Although several wines tasted like they must’ve been quite oaky and hedonistic (Black Forest cake anyone?) in their youth, many of them had integrated their oak surprisingly well beneath all the concentrated fruit and came across very balanced and harmonious. Especially wines like Pape Clément and Pichon-Lalande felt very much like this - and, unsurprisingly, they were also the crowd favorites in the tasting. Although I must say both these wines were quite impressive in their own right, I, on the other hand, preferred the more restrained, structure-driven and at times even somewhat austere style exhibited by wines like Pichon-Baron, Pez and the underdog Maison Blanche. Nevertheless, I felt that very few wines tasted too polished / modernist and most performed really well here.

So, as a whole, the vintage seems to be going quite strong still. Some wines certainly came across as rather evolved, some already at their peak and one (Batailley) even quite close to going downhill; however, most of the wines still came across as youthful - some even surprisingly so, for their age. Although not all of the wines we tasted were going to benefit from further aging, most of the wines presented here are still going to have a long life ahead of them.

Here are the wines; in addition to red 2000 Bordeaux wines, we had also one 2000 South African Bordeaux blend served blind in the middle, plus one Sauternes to finish the tasting.
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  • 2000 Château Magdelaine - France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru (25.10.2020)
    Typically a blend of Merlot (90%) and Cabernet Franc (10%). Aged for 18 months in barriques (35-40% new). 13,5% alcohol. Annual production 30,000 bottles.

Very dark, only quite slightly translucent black cherry color. Cool and somewhat restrained nose with dark-toned aromas of dark forest fruits, some tobacco, light herbaceous notes of bell pepper and leafy greenness, a little bit of brooding earthiness, a savory hint of spice cabinet and a touch of bright cherry-driven red fruit. The wine is bright, somewhat lean and slightly angular on the palate with a medium-to-moderately full body and flavors of fresh blackcurrants, some smoky herbaceous notes of chipotle, light leafy tones, a little bit of tobacco, a hint of stony minerality and a touch of blood. The structure relies more on the high acidity than on the somewhat bitter yet quite mellow tannins, which slowly pile up on the gums. The overall feel is dry and rather tough; even though there is quite a bit of fruit here, the overall feel is relatively lean and angular. The finish is dry, somewhat grippy and medium in length with bright and slightly austere flavors of autumnal leaves, some fresh blackcurrants, a little bit of woody oak spice, light savory spice tones, a hint of earth and a touch of blood.

A nice, balanced and harmonious St. Émilion that is as far removed from the luscious and fruity crowdpleaser style of St. Émilion as possible. Although I normally like a classic Bordeaux to show a bit more tannic action, this wine is so tough and angular as it is that I’m quite satisfied with “only” this much tannins. Fortunately the wine slowly softens as it breathes, although never becomes particularly soft, fruity and flashy but retains its cool and restraint. All in all, a nice and enjoyable old-school Bordeaux with more emphasis on savory, non-fruit notes and structure than on the fruit. Humorless, some might say, but not without freshness and poise. Based on how youthful the wine is at the age of 20 years, showing surprisingly little tertiary qualities, I can imagine this will continue to improve years - if not decades - more. (89 pts.)

  • 2000 Château Troplong Mondot - France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru (25.10.2020)
    A blend of Merlot (85%), Cabernet Franc (7,5%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (7,5%). Aged for 16-20 months in French oak barriques (85% new). 13,5% alcohol.

Extracted and strikingly dense black-red color that permits no light to pass through. Concentrated, very dark-toned and somewhat woody yet also attractively fragrant nose which isn’t neither particularly open nor reticent, exhibiting aromas of ripe blackcurrants, savory oak spice, some medicinal herbs and licorice, light floral notes of chamomile, a little bit of raw cocoa and a hint of toasted exotic spices. A textbook bouquet of a modern Bordeaux which has had enough time to lose most of the modernist sheen and reveal the nuance lingering underneath. The wine is quite bold and concentrated on the palate with flavors of ripe blackcurrants, some toasty oak spice and raw cocoa, a little bit of extracted woody bitterness, light tart notes of fresh red plums, a hint of meaty umami and a cool, lifted touch of medicinal herbs. The overall feel is impressively muscular with the high acidity and very firm and moderately grippy tannins. The finish is dry, powerful and moderately tannic with ripe flavors of juicy blackcurrants, blood, some sweet toasty oak, a little bit of licorice, light bittersweet notes of dark chocolate, a hint of roasted spices and a touch of sweet smoke. The oak notes start to become more pronounced as the wine breathes.

A remarkably big, dense and concentrated effort, although not overtly so - despite its size, the wine never once comes across as monolithic. The oak influence is quite obvious here, but it has started to integrate with the ripe, concentrated fruit, so the wine is definitely going into the right direction - although it is quite obvious that this must’ve been quite heavily oaky fellow in its youth. Seeing how very little age the wine shows now, at 20 years of age, and how the oak still shows, there’s definitely a lot of room for further improvement. However, with this much fruit and still so unresolved tannins, the wine feels like it is built for the long haul, so no problems there. Despite its slightly glossy, modernist sheen, the wine is really enjoyable for what it is and I have no doubts this will get better with age; slowly inching its way into the drinking window, although I can imagine this won’t be reaching its apogee within the next 15-20 years. Recommended. (92 pts.)

  • 2000 Château Latour à Pomerol - France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol (25.10.2020)
    A blend of Merlot (90%) and Cabernet Franc (10%). Aged for approximately 18 months in oak barriques (30-50% new). Annual production approximately 35,000 bottles. 13% alcohol.

Luminous, moderately translucent and still surprisingly youthful dark ruby color. Quite intense, savory and somewhat leafy nose with quite classic and attractive aromas of herbaceous bell pepper, some tobacco, light autumnal notes of damp leaves and forest floor, light fruity notes of fresh blackberries, a hint of toasty yet dry and savory oak spice and a touch of ripe redcurrant. Contrasting the dry and rather herbaceous, green-toned nose, the wine turns out to be surprisingly ripe, quite sweet-toned and somewhat concentrated on the palate with a medium body and rich flavors of fresh red cherries, blood, some crunchy redcurrants, a little bit of toasty oak and sweet mocha character, light roasted bell pepper tones, a hint of tobacco and a touch of peppery spice. The overall feel is silky smooth and quite supple, yet not without structure, thanks to the high acidity and still rather firm and moderately grippy tannins. The finish is dry, supple and gently grippy with rich, layered flavors of roasted bell pepper, ripe blackcurrant, some peppery spice, a little bit of crunchy redcurrant, light sweet notes of toasty oak spice and chocolatey mocha character and a hint of juicy dark fruit.

This wine turned out to be a wine of contrasts: it shows wonderfully classic and moderately herbaceous nose, yet on the palate the wine turns out to be surprisingly ripe, sweet-toned and modern with its somewhat prominent oak influence. Although the wine lacks the classic freshness and crunch I enjoy in a good claret, the wine shows still good balance and very nice structure. Although a bit too polished and modern for my taste, the wine shows good promise for future development: the overall impression is that of a youthful wine, not a Pomerol clocking at 20 years of age, and seeing how the wine was almost identical to the bottle I had 5 years ago, it’s quite obvious that there’s still tons of room for future improvement, not only in the firm structure, but also in the lush, polished fruit and quite prominent mocha oak. Most likely the wine will continue to improve at least for another decade, if not two, and then keep well for much longer. No hurries with this one; expect the score to go up with age. (89 pts.)

  • 2000 Château Poujeaux - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Moulis en Médoc (25.10.2020)
    A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (51%), Merlot (40%), Petit Verdot (6%) and Cabernet Franc (3%). Aged for 12 months in oak barriques (50% new). 12,5% alcohol.

Dark and somewhat evolved black cherry color with a mature maroon hue. Open, savory nose with aromas of autumnal leaves and gravelly earth, some fresh blackcurrants, some cedary notes of cigar box and savory wood spice, light resinous notes of coniferous forest and a hint of freshly ground coffee. The wine is ripe and full-bodied yet quite dry and acid-driven on the palate with vibrant flavors of peppery spice, juicy blackberries, some fresh red plums, a little bit of blood, light woody notes of cedar, a developed hint of beef jerky and a touch of gravelly minerality. The mouthfeel is silky smooth yet structured enough with the high acidity and powdery medium tannins that slowly pile up on the gums. The finish is dry, quite long and gently grippy with layered flavors of redcurrants, some ripe blackberries, a little bit of gravelly minerality, light evolved notes of beef jerky, a hint of savory wood spice and a touch of blood.

A balanced and enjoyably silky Moulis-en-Médoc with textural and quite resolved tannins that offer some welcome firmness but have receded into the background for the most part. Despite the wine seeing quite a bit of new oak, the overall feel is relatively pure and fruit-driven with quite youthful overall feel, albeit the wine doesn’t feel primary in any way, anymore. Although it feels like there is a bit of room for further evolution in the fruit, the wine is smack in the middle of its drinking window and doesn’t call for any further cellaring. I suspect the wine will continue to evolve over the next 5-10 years and keep for some 15-20 years. Surprisingly similar to Chasse-Spleen 2000 that was drunk alongside - this wine showing a bit less power, less ripeness and more evolution. (90 pts.)

  • 2000 Château Chasse-Spleen - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Moulis en Médoc (25.10.2020)
    A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (65%), Merlot (30%) and Petit Verdot (5%). Aged for approximately 12 months in oak barriques (40% new). 13% alcohol.

Very dark, quite extracted and almost fully opaque black ruby color. Intense and quite classically styled nose with concentrated aromas of licorice, herbaceous notes of chipotle and roasted bell pepper, some blackurrant tones, light herbal notes of minty greenness, a little bit of spicy vanilla pod, savory hints of toasted spices and old leather and a touch of fresh red plum. The wine feels ripe, full-bodied and quite concentrated on the palate with intense and subtly sweet-toned flavors of juicy blackcurrant-driven dark fruits, some London licorice, a little bit of leather, light plummy tones, a hint of savory oak spice and a touch of sweet baking spice. The powdery, mouth-coating tannins feel quite ripe and gentle at first, but they pile up on the gums, turning the wine slowly into a rather grippy one. The finish is long, ripe and quite dry with layered flavors of piquant savory spices, juicy dark berries, some leather, light woody notes of toasty oak, a little bit of licorice root and hints of sweet baking spices and vanilla pod. The ample, textural tannins make the wine end on a somewhat grippy note.

A juicy, ripe and balanced Moulis-en-Médoc red with enjoyable depth and complexity. Felt relatively similar to Poujeaux 2000 that was tasted alongside, only a bit sweeter, more powerful and slightly more youthful. Despite being on a somewhat ripe and concentrated side, the wine showed good sense of balance and classic Bordelais aromatics, making the overall feel enjoyable and quite serious without being too tightly-knit. The wine has entered its drinking window - seeing how enjoyable and accessible it was now - but there is still a lot of room for further improvement. Drink now or over the next few decades. Fine stuff, recommended. (92 pts.)

  • 2000 Château de Pez - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe (25.10.2020)
    A more-or-less equal blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with tiny amounts of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot in the mix. Aged for 12-18 months in oak barriques (40% new, 40% once used, 20% older). 13% alcohol.

Surprisingly deep and dark, almost fully opaque blackish-red color with a wide, translucent rim. Slightly sweet-toned and somewhat oak-forward nose with aromas of ripe blackcurrants and juicy plums, some toasty and cedary oak, light inky notes, a little bit of licorice root, a hint of coffee, a touch of dried aromatic herbs and a sweet, developed whiff of wizened dark fruits. The wine is dense, full-bodied and quite muscular on the palate with dry, relatively concentrated and enjoyably nuanced yet still somewhat restrained flavors of blackcurrants, fresh red plums, wizened dark berries, some cedar tones, light spicy notes of wild herbs, a little bit of dark chocolate bitterness, hints of licorice root and loamy earth and a touch of graphite. The overall is impressively structured with the high acidity and still quite firm and rather assertive tannins. The dry finish is long and somewhat grippy with savory flavors of fresh blackcurrants and dark plums, some earthy tones, a little bit of leather, light bittersweet notes of dark chocolate, a hint of graphite and a developed touch of meaty umami.

Contrasting the sweet, quite lush and somewhat oaky nose, the wine turned out to be enjoyably dry, firm and textural on the palate, coming across as quite big and concentrated yet also very serious and even slightly austere in style; definitely benefits from aeration. All in all, this is nothing super-complex, but still a very pleasant and tasty effort with good sense of depth all the pieces fitting in the correct places. Although the age is starting to show a bit, the wine is still far from an aged Bordeaux and most likely the wine will improve for many years more. Most likely will keep good for another decade or two. Recommended. (93 pts.)

  • 2000 Château Maison Blanche Montagne-St. Émilion - France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Montagne-St. Émilion (25.10.2020)
    A blend of mainly old-vine Cabernet Franc and Merlot in more-or-less 50-50 proportions. Aged for 15 months in oak barriques. 13% alcohol, 5,1 g/l acidity.

Surprisingly deep and dark, almost fully opaque black cherry color with a hint of developed maroon hue. Cool, dry and somewhat dark-toned nose with brooding aromas of blackcurrants and fresh black cherries, some developed notes of wizened dark fruits and raisins, a little bit of licorice, light woody notes of pencil shavings, a sweeter hint of dried figs and a touch of fruit cake. The age is starting to show, but the wine doesn’t feel particularly old yet. The wine feels dry, full-bodied and surprisingly structure-driven - almost tightly-knit - on the palate with quite powerful, savory flavors of wizened dark berries, woody notes of pencil shavings, some licorice, light sweeter notes of dark plummy fruits and raisins, a little bit of leather, a hint of gravelly minerality and a touch of tart red berries. The overall feel is quite tough and structured with the high acidity and still very assertive and grippy tannins. The finish is dry, powerful and quite acid-driven with intense, savory flavors of fresh blackcurrants and crowberries, some woody notes of pencil shavings, light leathery tones, a little bit of tart lingonberry, a hint of sour cherry bitterness and a touch of gravelly minerality.

Contrasting the normally fruitier crowdpleaser style of St. Émilion proper, this is a surprisingly tough and structure-driven Right Bank wine. The overall feel here was a bit more evolved in the fruit department - compared to the other fourteen 2000 Bordeaux wines we had - but structurally this was among the most tightly-knit wines, easily, showing surprisingly little resolution in the tannins. The wine comes across as tasty and enjoyably structure-driven, but I can imagine that if one is looking for a sumptuous, accessible Right-Bank wine, this might be way too lean and structured in style. Most likely the wine will continue to improve for several years more in a cellar and keep for much longer, but I have a hunch that the fruit will give up much sooner than the tannins will resolve. I do enjoy quite a bit the wine’s slightly rustic and unapologetic style, but it does call for some hefty food to tame down the structure. All in all, a good, well-made St. Ém satellite. (91 pts.)

  • 2000 Château Prieuré-Lichine - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux (25.10.2020)
    A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (50%), Merlot (45%) and Petit Verdot (5%). Aged for approximately 15 months in oak barriques (approx. 50% new). 13% alcohol.

Somewhat translucent garnet color that doesn’t seem that developed, nor particularly youthful. The expressive nose feels quite powerful with ripe yet savory aromas of dark berries, tobacco, some smoky tones, a little bit of fragrant oak spice, light woody notes of pencil shavings, herbaceous hints of leafy greenness and cooked bell pepper and a touch of salty liquorice. With some air, the nose opens up to reveal a quite tertiary notes of porty, raisiny fruit and madeirized sweetness. The wine is dry, silky and somewhat evolved on the palate with a medium body and layered flavors of fresh dark berries, tobacco, some leathery and slightly smoky tones, a little bit of sweet toasty oak, light woody notes of pencil shavings, a sweet hint of wizened dark fruits and a herbaceous touch of cooked bell pepper. Overall the wine feels quite accessible and surprisingly mellow on the palate, thanks to the medium-to-moderately high acidity and resolved, ripe tannins that lend some textural feel to the mouthfeel, but quite little grip to the structure. The finish is dry, velvety smooth and somewhat tertiary with very gentle tannic grip and layered flavors of fresh blackcurrants, some ripe redcurrants, light woody notes of savory oak spice, light evolved nuances of leather and tobacco, a toasty hint of smoke and a sweet touch of dried figs.

An evolved and enjoyably perfumed Margaux that shows quite a bit of power and complexity in the nose, but comes across as surprisingly soft and gentle on the palate, showing much more development in the taste. The wine is smack in the middle of its drinking window and most likely at or very close to its peak. I can imagine the fruit will continue to develop for some years more, but structurally the wine is getting quite soft and most likely will just get softer with further aging. All in all, this is a nice and harmonious effort that shows good sense of evolution, but ultimately comes across as a bit underwhelming. Furthermore, the wine is surprisingly developed for its age - in our tasting of fifteen 2000 Bordeaux reds, this was among the most developed wines, if not the most evolved wine. Good but not great. No need to keep it any further. (88 pts.)

  • 2000 Château Pape Clément - France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan (25.10.2020)
    A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (50%) and Merlot (50%). Aged for approximately 15 months in oak barriques, of which a large proportion was new. 13,5% alcohol.

Very extracted and fully opaque black cherry color that appears more younger than the age of the wine would suggest. Open and remarkably intense - and rather oak-driven - nose with bold aromas of ripe blackcurrants, bell-pepper driven notes of pyrazines along with a little bit of leafy greenness, light notes of graphite, oaky hints of cedar and sweet toasty spice and perhaps subtly bretty nuances of leather and phenolic smoky character. Despite the somewhat oak influence, the nose feels quite impressive and attractive. Similar to the nose, the wine comes across very ripe and intense on the palate as well. The overall feel is rather concentrated and full-bodied with bold, dry flavors of ripe blackcurrants, forest floor, some graphite, light oaky notes of cedar and exotic spices, a hint of cigar and a touch of leather. Despite its big size and concentrated nature, the wine comes across as very balanced with its high acidity and moderately pronounced tannins that lend good, firm grip to the mouthfeel. The finish is dry, powerful and remarkably long with intense flavors of exotic spices, ripe blackcurrant, some mocha oak tones, a little bit of leather, light peppery tones, herbaceous hints of leafy greenness and smoky chipotle and a touch of cedar.

A remarkably intense, concentrated and rather robust Bordeaux that seems to rely on power and muscle, not finesse or restraint. Seeing how obvious the oak influence still is even after 20 years of aging, the wine must’ve been quite an oaky blockbuster in its youth. Now it feels as though the years have sanded down the most over-the-top qualities, lending quite a bit of balance to the wine. Furthermore, there seems to be a slightest nuance of bretty funk, which lends its own phenolic overtones to the wine, only adding complexity without taking anything away. For an obviously modernist bruiser, this wine has evolved into something surprisingly enjoyable and - seeing how youthful the wine still is - it is obviously going to continue to develop into the right direction. I heartily recommend to let the wine age for at least another 10 years, if not more - it is going to do nothing but benefit the wine. Despite its oaky overall feel and lack of finesse, this is not a clumsy, monolithic wine, but instead something very enjoyable. Highly recommended. (94 pts.)

  • 2000 Château Lagrange (St. Julien) - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien (25.10.2020)
    A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (76%) and Merlot (24%). Aged for approx. 18 months in oak barriques (approx. 50% new). Annual production 250,000 bottles. 13% alcohol.

Very deep and dark ruby-red color that permits very little light through its core, but noticeably more so through its pale red rim. Quite restrained and somewhat brooding nose of ripe forest fruits, some leather, light savory notes of toasted oak, light brambly notes of black raspberries, a hint of licorice root and a touch of cigar box. No herbaceous notes of any kind here. The wine is ripe, juicy and medium-bodied on the palate with flavors of wild strawberries and ripe black raspberries, blood, some crunchy red plums, a little bit of toasty oak spice, light licorice root tones, an extracted hint of woody bitterness and a touch of gravelly minerality. The overall feel is quite balanced and fine-tuned, not showing much intensity, but not coming across as understated, either. The overall feel is quite accessible and not particularly muscular, as the acidity feels relatively modest and the medium tannins contribute more to the texture than to the structure. The finish is long, dry and relatively light with savory flavors of tobacco, licorice root, some cigar box, a little bit of earth, light toasty oak tones and hints of tart dark berries.

A balanced and quite harmonious St. Julien that isn’t flashy in any way, coming across more like a wine with medium-everything. In our lengthy tasting of fifteen 2000 Bordeaux reds, this kind of middle-of-the-road wine really doesn’t manage to cut through in any way, but it doesn’t really disappoint either. Seeing how smooth and gentle - but not soft or flabby - its structure is now, I really don’t see the wine needing any further aging to soften it up. However, flavor-wise the wine shows relatively little evolution, so I can imagine it will continue to develop probably for another 10 years or so. If opened now, the wine really benefits from aeration, as it is quite reticent upon opening. (90 pts.)

  • 2000 Grangehurst Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot - South Africa, Coastal Region, Stellenbosch (25.10.2020)
    A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (79%) and Merlot (21%). Aged for 27 months in a combination of American and French oak barriques. 14,2% alcohol, 1,6 g/l residual sugar, 6,4 g/l acidity, 0,72 g/l VA and pH 3,75.

Very deep, developed and almost fully opaque figgy color. Savory, roasted and slightly smoky nose with aromas of earth, some tar, light fruity notes of blackcurrants and red plums, a little bit of freshly ground coffee, a brambly hint of blackberry and a touch of pouch tobacco. The wine is ripe, full-bodied and subtly sweet-toned on the palate with somewhat spicy flavors of ripe blackcurrants, some smoky notes of tar and tar-flavored licorice, a little bit of ashtray, light old leather tones, a hint of peppery spice and a sweeter touch of juicy dark plums. The overall structure is enjoyably firm in relation to the ripe fruit, thanks to the rather high acidity and firm medium tannins that slowly pile up and seem to grow firmer in grip. The finish is ripe, somewhat warm and quite powerful with bold flavors of ripe blackcurrants and sweet dark plums, some wizened black cherries, a little bit of savory wood spice, light notes of vanilla, smoky hints of tar and cigar and a touch of French roast coffee. The aftertaste begins quite fruity but tapers into drier and more dull smoky flavors, while the firm tannins make the wine end on a moderately grippy note.

A surprisingly well-made, serious and quite sophisticated effort in its genre, but nevertheless put into tough competition as a blind wine among fourteen 2000 Bordeaux reds. In comparison, this wine is obviously more ripe in style, showing quite obviously sweeter fruit, higher alcohol and toasty oak spice. Furthermore, there is also a somewhat detectable streak of the South African tar and smoke here, although these qualities do not - fortunately - dominate the flavor profile. Seeing how relatively youthful the wine still is, even after 20 years, I can imagine this will continue to improve for many years more and keep good for even longer. All in all, this is a surprisingly good, pleasant and even quite serious effort, but you really can taste where the wine comes from - both in good and bad. (90 pts.)

  • 2000 Château Batailley - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac (25.10.2020)
    The indicative blend is Cabernet Sauvignon (70%) and Merlot (25%) with the remainder rounded out with Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Aged for 16-18 months in oak barriques (approximately 50% new). 12,5% alcohol.

Somewhat translucent black cherry color that appears neither young nor old. The nose feels already quite developed with somewhat tertiary aromas of roasted bell pepper and savory gamey meat, some beef jerky, light inky tones, a little bit of wizened blackcurrant, a hint of leathery funk and a touch of pouch tobacco. In a tasting of fifteen 2000 Bordeaux reds, this feels probably the most evolved of the bunch. The wine is textural and ripe yet more dry and savory than sweet-toned on the palate with intense and somewhat tertiary flavors of roasted bell peppers and charred game, some smoky notes of campfire and chipotle, light crunchy notes of blackcurrants, a little bit of beef jerky, a sweet hint of wizened dark berries and a woody touch of cedar. The overall feel is still quite structured, thanks to the moderately high acidity and textural medium-plus tannin that still retain quite a bit of grip. The finish is quite long and pretty complex with moderately evolved flavors of leather, fresh and crunchy blackcurrant, some smoky tones, a little bit of gamey meat and blood, light sweeter notes of wizened dark fruits, a hint of raisin and a touch of savory wood spice. The tannins make the wine end on a rather grippy note.

A nicely evolved but also surprisingly tertiary effort, which makes me think that this wine is either at its peak or very near to it. I can imagine the wine will at least keep if not still evolve a bit more for another decade or so, but based on how aged the wine appears now, I doubt it will benefit from further cellaring. All in all, an enjoyable, tasty and quite classically structured claret for what it is, but is slightly lacking in depth and character. Not among the best wines of the evening, but definitely not a disappointment either. Drink now or in the next following years - there’s no need to give the wine more age. (89 pts.)

Very dark, saturated and almost fully opaque blackish-red color. The age is starting to show only in the somewhat lighter and subtly maroon-hued rim that permits a little bit of light through. The nose feels cool, savory and quite brooding - not particularly powerful, but suggestive of depth and intensity. Pronounced, perfumed aromas of woody pencil shavings and graphite, cassis, some new leather, a little bit of damp autumnal leaves, light sweet notes of pipe tobacco, herbaceous nuances of smoky chipotle and bell pepper, a toasty hint of charred oak and a touch of spice cabinet. Despite not that powerful, the nose definitely shows remarkable complexity. Contrasting the cool, dry nose, the wine is more voluptuous on the palate with a very ripe and silky overall feel and a full body. Concentrated and even somewhat extracted flavors of sweet cassis and juicy dark plums, fragrant exotic spices, some woody notes of pencil shavings, light sweeter nuances of mocha oak and roasted spices, a little bit of meaty umami, developed hints of leather and pipe tobacco and a bittersweet touch of dark chocolate. Contrasting the nose, there are no herbaceous elements of bell pepper or chipotle in the taste, and the wine comes across as very ripe, juicy and slightly sweet-toned. The overall feel is quite smooth and very approachable, thanks to the medium-to-moderately high acidity and quite gentle, well-behaved tannins that slowly pile up on the gums. The finish is very long, ripe and subtly sweet-toned with sumptuous flavors of ripe blackcurrants, juicy black cherries, some tobacco, a little bit of toasty oak spice, light leathery tones, a hint of exotic spices and a subtly ferrous touch of blood.

An impressively big, ripe and quite voluptuous Pauillac from the noticeably hedonistic end. In our tasting of fifteen 2000 Bordeaux reds, we had a flight of four Pauillac wines, and this wine stood very much apart from the three other wines with its noticeably sweeter and softer overall character, which emphasized more weight, fruit and ripeness compared to the other three wines (Batailley, Pichon-Baron and Mouton-Rothschild). True to the Pichon-Lalande style, the wine is very silky, gentle and accessible, yet still the wine doesn’t feel at all too soft nor has it evolved any faster than the other wines - on the contrary, the wine comes across as surprisingly youthful and I can imagine this vintage will continue to improve for another two decades or so and keep for even much longer. It is very drinkable already, but it will be even better with age. I must confess that the wine wasn’t that much up my alley, as I enjoyed the less sweet and more structure-driven wines a bit more, but there is no denying that this is one impressive Pauillac. Even though not my favorite, this was easily the WotN for many in the tasting and hands-down the best wine by the public vote. I suppose my atypically lengthy TN proves that this is a fine wine by all accounts. (93 pts.)

  • 2000 Château Pichon-Longueville Baron - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac (25.10.2020)
    A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (70%), Merlot (25%) and Cabernet Franc (5%). Aged for 18 months in barriques (60% new). 13% alcohol.

Almost fully opaque black ruby color with a somewhat translucent cherry-red rim. Layered, sweet-toned and quite seductive nose with aromas of noticeably ripe blackcurrants and strawberries, some lush toasty oak tones, light floral notes of violets, a little bit of plum compote and blueberry juice, lifted liqueur-ish hints of kirsch and a touch of baked clay. Contrasting the quite sumptuous nose, the wine is surprisingly dense, sinewy and even quite tough on the palate with a medium-to-moderately full body and intense flavors of ripe blackcurrants, fresh dark plums, some ferrous notes of blood, light woody notes of pencil shavings, a little bit of cigar smoke, a hint of gravelly minerality and a touch of graphite. The overall feel is still remarkably youthful - even slightly backward - and very muscular with its high acidity and assertive, grippy tannins. The finish is remarkably long, quite noticeably grippy and dry yet very juicy with intense flavors of fresh blackcurrants, sweeter red plums, some woody notes of cigar box and pencil shavings, light bloody notes of rare meat, a hint of sous-bois and a touch of gravelly minerality. The aftertaste segues slowly towards more toasty oak tones while the assertive tannins make the wine end on a rather grippy note.

An extraordinary, very structured and surprisingly youthful - even somewhat backward - Pauillac red, where the sweet crowdpleaser nose and very tough, powerful and structure-driven taste stand in stark contrast to each other. Although the wine is very powerful and muscular in style, it nevertheless isn’t particularly big or weighty - on the contrary, there is quite a bit of finesse and elegance to this powerhouse. Seeing how very structured and youthful the wine is even at the age of 20 years, the wine seems to offer only glimpses of its full potential now. Definitely no need to open this now; the wine is yet to arrive in its drinking window. To me, this was the most impressive effort in our tasting of fourteen 2000 Bordeaux reds. Very highly recommended. (96 pts.)

  • 2000 Château Mouton Rothschild - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac (25.10.2020)
    A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (86%) and Merlot (14%). Aged for approximately 20 months in new French oak barriques. 12,5% alcohol.

Luminous, somewhat translucent and still surprisingly youthful, dark ruby-red color. Brooding, somewhat restrained nose with understated aromas of blackcurrants and black cherries, some perfumed and slightly phenolic notes of exotic spice along with a subtly leathery nuance – might there be a touch of brett here? – that segue into subtle aromas of slightly green-toned herbal notes, a little bit of succulent plummy fruit, an oaky hint of mocha coffee and a touch of chocolate chips. The wine is intense, harmonious and quite full-bodied yet not particularly big or concentrated on the palate with layered flavors of ripe blackcurrants, some fresh cherries, a little bit of crunchy redcurrants, light woody notes of savory oak spice, subtly bretty hints of phenolic spice and leather and a sweeter touch of toasty mocha oak. The overall feel is balanced and quite structured with the high acidity and supple yet firm medium tannins. The finish is very long, quite intense and savory with complex flavors of fresh blackcurrants and sweeter black cherries, some tobacco, light brambly notes of red and black raspberries, a little bit of exotic spices and phenolic peppery character, oaky hints of woody cedar and bittersweet dark chocolate and a touch of leathery funk. The tannins lend a quite gently gripping note to the aftertaste.

A still remarkably youthful and even slightly closed vintage of Mouton Rothschild that is stylistically very balanced and harmonious, but also quite polished - up to the point of being remarkably sophisticated, but devoid of any character. Fortunately there’s this slightly phenolic edge of almost smoky spices and leather that lends a nice, subtly rustic counterpoint to the otherwise very smooth and glossy overall feel of the wine. I do admit that this is a fine wine by all accounts, but in a tasting of fourteen 2000 Bordeaux wines, this didn’t leave a particularly lasting impression. While this particular wine might be a wonderful effort on its own, it really didn’t manage to stand head and shoulders taller above the other wines, despite being the only 1er Cru Bordeaux in the lineup. Fortunately the wine has time on its side: despite its 20 years of age the wine is still remarkably youthful and even somewhat closed at this point; I can imagine it will pick up some points as it opens, evolves and develops some tertiary complexity over the years. But while the wine might keep for decades more, it feels like it is never going to be the grand vin many expect it to be. Compared to how remarkable 2000 Bordeaux wines one can get at the fraction of what this particular wine costs, I really can’t say this wine delivers for the price. (93 pts.)

  • 2000 Château Rieussec - France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes (25.10.2020)
    A blend of Sémillon (65%), Sauvignon Blanc (24%) and Muscadelle (11%). The vintage 2000 was lousy for Sauternes, as the promising weather turned rainy close to the harvest. Ultimately only the first trie of the botrytized grapes was suitable to be used for making Rieussec; all the remaining tries were not used in making the Grand Vin or were just discarded completely. Thus, production of the vintage 2000 is one of the smallest in the winery’s history. 13,5% alcohol.

Medium-deep bronze color. Intense and somewhat developed bouquet with layered aromas of beeswax, classic aged Sauternes note of intense saffron, some sweet notes of orange marmalade, light mushroomy tones, a little bit of lifted nail polish VA, an oxidative hint of nuttiness and a touch of savory oak spice. The wine is sweet, full-bodied and quite concentrated on the palate with intense flavors of orange marmalade and ripe tangerine, honey, some canned pineapple tones, a little bit of saffron, light mushroomy notes of botrytis, a hint of toasty oak spice and a touch of maple syrup. The overall feel is quite luscious yet very balanced, thanks to the moderately high acidity that keeps the sweetness in check. The lengthy finish is sweet, powerful and slightly sticky with bold flavors of orange marmalade, saffron, some butter-fried chanterelles, a little bit of overripe nectarine and tangerine, light nuances of tangy salinity, a hint of toasty oak spice and a touch of maple syrup that segues into subtly bitter notes of burnt sugar. With air the notes of saffron gain even more intensity.

A very tasty, balanced and enjoyable Sauternes that is starting to exhibit the developed saffron notes, yet still manages to come across as youthful and concentrated enough to promise good potential for future development. However, the wine isn’t that far away from its apogee, so I can imagine it will peak within the next 10 years or so, meaning that I’d say it’s best to drink the wine during the next 15-20 years. All in all, a classic and hands-down delicious effort that is in a wonderful shape at the age of 20 years. Lovely. (94 pts.)

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Nice notes, Otto. Very cool that there was a ringer in there from South Africa! Thank you for the taking the times to post your impressions.

Ed

That Grangehurst has been a ringer in our tasting group. We have generally had the 2002, which was in our market. It’s a bit variable, but when on it’s great.

Thanks for the other notes. Covers a number of wines I am holding. Very useful.

Great tasting notes thanks for posting. I have found 2000 much more hit and miss, but I have been reminded that part of my disappointment was VS expectations and hype when I bought the wines on release. I still have the words “vintage of the century” imbedded in my mind and on the bottles I bought!

Great retrospective. I’ve bought and been drinking quite a few 2000s recently, so this thread resonates. That Chasse Spleen is a great sleeper, wish I had more. My thoughts are very similar on that Magdelaine. I’m sitting on over a case, and have high expectations, but the last three bottles I’ve had this past year showed similarly. I’ve concluded Magdelaine in years like 2000, really do need a lot more time than 20 years. The 1980s vintages are drinking fantastically well with this estate, my last a stunning 1982 just 2 weeks ago. I missed on the Pichon Baron, my kind of wine for sure.

Interesting comments on the integration of the modern trappings. Do you think subsequent years where perhaps warmer climates, more modern heavy-handed making, and of course the critics and points’ chasing, will resolve the same way? I do not, but I’m often wrong as well! Pape Clement and Troplong seem to have become more Franken-wines as the decade progressed.

Great notes, Otto, thanks for posting. Some I have, others I haven’t got, but interesting to see which ones showed well and which didn’t. The Poujeaux and the Chasse-Spleen caught my eye, especially the Poujeaux because I didn’t think much of it in the past. Also, the Pez sounds like one to track down - I’ve never tried it. As for Maison Blanche, a fascinating discovery - I only knew the Médoc one.
I agree with Robert that it’s interesting about the way the modernist wines performed but I’m not quite as pessimistic as he is - I don’t have any of that sort of wine left, but I was very pleasantly surprised by a Faugères 2000 a couple of years ago - it was never a shrinking violet in its youth, but instead of falling apart as I expected it would, it had blossomed into something remarkably fine.

About a year ago, I attended a tasting of all the 2000 second growth BDX, plus then all of the 2000 first growths other than Mouton, served blind.

The interesting thing was that the second growths were generally tannic and not that pleasurable (at least yet), but the first growths were much more open and enjoyable. After the two flights of the second growths, many of the (highly experienced) tasters around the table were wondering if the vintage wasn’t really as good as we had all thought. Sure, they were young, and the wines were only decanted for an hour or so, but they mostly weren’t a lot of fun and it had been 20 years.

I should have posted notes on that tasting. Like so many of them, I had intended to but never got around to it. I do still have my handwritten notes – it looks like I thought Palmer, Leoville Barton, Pichon Lalande, Montrose and Cos were the better showings of the seconds. Haut Brion (always my favorite first growth) and Latour were my favorites of the firsts.

It is hard to say - I don’t know if they made the wines similarly in 2000 as they do now, nor do I know if the recent, warmer vintages have only exacerbated the problems these wines show at least in their youth. However, this tasting offered a glimpse of hope how some of the modernist wines can actually turn quite enjoyable if just given enough age. Nevertheless, it is possible that while some of these 2000s actually have turned out relatively great, the subsequent, warmer (and possibly even more modern) vintages won’t.

It sounds like I would’ve loved the second growths! :smiley: I tend to enjoy wines that are more in the side of austerity and toughness than those that are more about easy drinkability and accessibility. Especially with wines like Bordeaux and Barolo/Barbaresco, I expect the wines show some grip and firmness. Hopefully you read the TNs carefully - most of the wines that scored high in this tasting were still quite tough and on the more youthful side.

Thanks for this! I’m curious if Lunch Bags was included in the company of the 2nd growths

I’m so happy for the ‘like’ feature now - would like this 100 times if I could! Not just this note, but the whole thing - thank you!

Happy to have 4 bottles of this wine, however - happier now than I was before.

My note for Lynch Bages reads: “More closed and simple right now. Oakier and simpler. The most tannic of the flight.”

It wasn’t one of my better notes from the tasting, but because it showed that way, I probably didn’t think as deeply about the wine.

This was on 1/22/20.

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Thanks! And I must say I’m envious of those bottles! Even though I’m not so hot on post millennium-Bdx, that particular wine really is something. Just let them wait.

If you weren’t so far away, I’d gladly open another and share with you!

The last one I opened I regretted slightly, as I agree with you, this wine is nowhere near ready

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The last one I opened I regretted slightly, as I agree with you, this wine is nowhere near ready

Yeah, I can imagine one can be disappointed with such a wine, since it is still - at 20 years of age - more about future potential than immediate pleasure. You were lucky, however, as that wasn’t your only bottle!

I started opening my 2000’s just this year. I had a Ch. Talbot that was amazing.

Very interestng panel and report.

I’m still waiting for my 2000, specially Palmer, Pontet-Canet, Lafite and Margaux.

Friends opened a remarkable Beauséjour-Bécot 2000 in july 2019 (18/20).

In 2018, I enjoyed :
Lynch-Bages 2000 (17/20+)
Pavie-Macquin 2000 (17,5/20)
Bel Air Marquis d’Aligre (tasted twice : 17,5/20 then 18/20)
Pichon-Baron 2000 (17/20) : I found this bottle classy/ripe/elegant and quite ready to drink - blind, thought red bank - note that we had two glasses and the other glass contained an excellent Pichon Comtesse 1995, a very different vintage

June 2009 :
Mouton-Rothschild 2000 : 16/20+
Caractère strict du cabernet-sauvignon. Se livre peu, très récalcitrant, extrêmement difficile à déchiffrer. Avis contradictoires dans la salle. Certains misent sur un grand vin pour dans 15 ans, d’autres sur une prévisible implosion aride voire desséchante.

I have a pile of LLC and Pichon Baron. Notes about the latter are great. Any for the former? Thank you.

Nice notes. I mostly bottom fed on '00 Bdx (buying a house, kid a few years from college), so mostly lower-midtier and below (I think only things on this list I own is Lagrange and Magdelaine).

I’m a bit surprised at Pichon Lagrange being described as modern (esp compared to Baron). I thought 2000 P-Lalande was very …Lalande. Elegant, plenty of structure, though not all tannic structure. I remember a big tasting of probably 2 dozen 2000 Bdx where it was probably most divisive wine due to a green (Petit Verdot?) streak- a 1/3 thought horribly green, a 1/3 thought a lovely green/herbal streak (my camp), and a 1/3 “What green?”

Bien-sur, why wouldn’t 2000 Bordeaux still be going strong? They’ll outlive us all!

Agree with Dale - nothing modern about 2000 Pichon Lalande and it was very much not a Black Forest Cake wine on release, nothing at all like Pape Clement either. If the other board were still around you could find a thread there from circa 2003 complaining that this and the 2000 Sociando were too green for their own good. Whatever greenness is there, allegedly an artifact of its heavy dose of the old vine petit verdot I don’t think they use anymore, just adds more character in my book, but it is a still a bit of a controversial wine both in the company of other PLL’s and other 2000s even now. The 2000 Baron is the crowd-pleaser as you note. Nobody doesn’t like 2000 Baron.

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