Cellar Management

Pick My Next Bottle – 2003 Bordeaux

The February 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 early next week.

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. I think it is wise, with a vintage like this, to check in on the wines periodically. At 17 years of age, the proof should be in the bottle.

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 Calon Segur – This beautiful 2003 exhibits a dense ruby/purple color, a vigorous youthfulness, and plenty of mulberry, black currant and cherry fruit intermixed with notions of cedarwood, baking spices and roasted herbs. Ripe, medium to full-bodied, fresh and precise, this wine is just hitting full maturity where it should remain for another 10-15 years.  93 points from the Wine Advocate.
  • 2003 Lagrange  –  I expected to be able to spot the 2003 vintage easily in the vertical blind tasting of the château that I attended back at the start of 2007, but it was not easy to identify. This is of course a pretty strong endorsement for the success Lagrange has realized in this difficult and very hot vintage. The bouquet is already showing lovely, developed complexity in its more black fruity aromatic profile of dark berries, cassis, currant leaf, a bit of black cherry, woodsmoke and spicy oak. On the palate the wine is full-bodied and surprisingly offers up rather cool fruit tones in the mouth, with nice acids, fine focus and well-integrated, ripe tannins on the impressively long finish. A notable success for the vintage. Drink between 2012-2035. 92 points from John Gilman.

Which 2003 Bordeaux Should I Open?

  • Pichon Baron (61%, 11 Votes)
  • Calon Segur (22%, 4 Votes)
  • Lagrange (17%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 18

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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 March installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

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