Cellar Management

Pick My Next Bottle – 2004 Bordeaux

The January installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on 2004 Bordeaux. As I mentioned in the first installment, the purpose of this series is to provide insight into specific wines or producers you may currently have in your cellar. I plan on opening the winning bottle on Saturday and will publish a Bottle Note shortly thereafter.

The 2004 Bordeaux vintage set a record for being the largest crop in Bordeaux history. After the moist spring, flowering took place early, which demanded that vintners make serious efforts at crop thinning to reduce the yields. June was average. That was followed by a cooler period in July. July was followed by a cold and rainy August.  Once again, another Bordeaux vintage was saved by a warm, dry and sun filled September. The grapes enjoyed a warm start to October followed by rain near harvest.

On the whole 2004 was not an ideal vintage. That being said it may appeal to consumers who prefer more traditional Bordeaux. The vintage is more similar to 2001 and 2006 than 2003 and 2005. Value can also be found if you are looking to pick up these wines at auction.

The Contenders:

2004 Leoville Barton – This is an impressively endowed vin de garde that should age effortlessly for 20-30 years. How Anthony Barton continues to fashion uncompromisingly primordial Bordeaux that are always among the biggest and densest of all the St.-Juliens is beyond me, but he does it year in and year out. Moreover, when it’s time to set the price, he appears to have the consumer foremost in his mind. The 2004 is a classic Leoville-Barton meant for long aging. Concentrated, with loads of smoke, creme de cassis, forest floor, and earthy notes emerge from this impressive, but oh, so backward wine. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2030+. 92 points from the Wine Advocate.

2004 Léoville-Poyferré– Along with Leoville Las Cases and a few others, this is among the stars of the appellation. Made in a more floral, supple, Margaux-like style, the deep ruby/purple-hued 2004 Leoville Poyferre exhibits sweet, broad flavors, and plenty of tannin lurking beneath the surface. However, the abundant cherry, black currant, licorice, and smoke notes obscure the tannic clout. This rich, powerful, broad beauty should be drinkable in 2-3 years, and last for two decades. 93 points from the Wine Advocate.

2004 Smith Haut-Lafitte – A sensational effort and one of the stars of the vintage, Smith-Haut-Lafitte’s 2004 possesses an inky/blue/purple-tinged color as well as a sumptuous nose of lead pencil shavings, spring flowers, blueberries, and blackberries. Surprisingly full-bodied for the vintage with stunning concentration, purity, and overall harmony, this is another brilliant wine from the proprietors, the Cathiards, who have done such a spectacular job at this estate since the early 1990s. 93 points from the Wine Advocate.

Which 2004 Bordeaux Should I Open?

  • 2004 Smith Haut-Lafitte (47%, 18 Votes)
  • 2004 Leoville Barton (34%, 13 Votes)
  • 2004 Léoville-Poyferré (18%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 38

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Thanks for voting! I’d love to see a comment below on why you picked one bottle over another. Also, let me know if you have any suggestions for the February installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

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5 thoughts on “Pick My Next Bottle – 2004 Bordeaux

  1. Cool lineup, Tom! The Smith is my pick because I think it’ll be the most drinkable of the three wines at this point in time. I’m most curious about the Barton though. Cheers!

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