Cellar Management

Pick My Next Bottle – 2003 Bordeaux

The September Installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on 2003 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. The winning bottle will be opened this Saturday and a Bottle Note will be published shortly thereafter.

We all know the background on the historically hot 2003 vintage. The wines are incredibly polarizing. From my experience, the top wines of the vintage are fruit forward and aging well. That being said, I think it is wise with a vintage like this, to check in on the wines periodically.

The Contenders:

2003 Pichon Baron – This is a brilliantly run property year in and year out, and especially since the mid- to late 1980s has produced one of the top four or five wines made in Pauillac in virtually every vintage. With 13.4% alcohol, the 2003 is one of the most powerful efforts this chateau has ever made. Its dense purple color is accompanied by sweet, jammy creme de cassis notes intermixed with roasted herbs, smoked meats, and chocolate. Although ripe, dense, full-bodied, and moderately tannic, it is silky (because of its low acidity and high glycerin) as well as accessible. It should firm up in the bottle, and be at its peak between 2008-2025. 94 points from the Wine Advocate.

2003 Rauzan-Segla – Forty-seven percent of the crop made it into the savory, complex, fully mature 2003 Rauzan Segla. Notes of coffee bean, white chocolate, forest floor, red and black currants and tobacco leaf are present in this dark plum/garnet-colored 2003. The final blend was 53.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and the rest tiny dollops of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. There is a slight herbal tinge to the wine, but it is fresh, complex aromatically, and exhibits the vintage’s opulence. Enjoy it over the next 5-8 years. 91 points from the Wine Advocate.

2003 Pontet Canet – One cannot say enough about the labors of proprietor Alfred Tesseron, who has personally overseen the dramatic increase in quality of the wines at Pontet-Canet which started in a significant manner with 1994. This is a classic Pauillac-styled wine (meaning oodles of cassis flavors), as one might expect from a vineyard on the plateau of Pauillac, across the street from Mouton-Rothschild. One of the great successes of the vintage and certainly one of the most profound Pontet-Canets made over the last decade is the 2003. Deep purple to the rim with a glorious nose of scorched earth, black currant jam, smoke, licorice, and roasted meats, it is full-bodied, incredibly powerful, dense, with low acidity but high tannin, broad-shouldered, and savory. This is a stunning, pure, classic Pontet-Canet that should be at its best between 2010 and 2035. 95 points from the Wine Advocate.

Which 2003 Bordeaux Should I Open?

  • 2003 Pontet Canet (50%, 18 Votes)
  • 2003 Pichon Baron (36%, 13 Votes)
  • 2003 Rauzan-Segla (14%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 36

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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 October installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

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5 thoughts on “Pick My Next Bottle – 2003 Bordeaux

  1. 2003 Pichon Baron is my pick. I’ve got to follow the lead of @Peteontweet. It should be a great one. Cheers Tom!

  2. Tough choices! I have a bottle or two of the Rauzan Segla and the Pontet Canet but no Baron in that year. I went with the Rauzan Segla. Just feel like it may need to go sooner than the Pontet Canet but looks like I’m not in the majority.

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