Cellar Management

Pick My Next Bottle – 2003 Bordeaux

The April Installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on 2003 Bordeaux. 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 Sunday 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 20 years of age, the proof should be in the bottle.

The Contenders:

  • 2003 Canon-La Gaffelière – One of St.-Emilion’s most consistently high quality estates…the 2003 is a soft, relatively evolved style of wine. Up-front and forward, with a complex, perfumed (smoke, incense, fruitcake) style, it offers creme de cassis, cherry, plum, fig, incense, and cedar characteristics on the palate. The round, opulent attack quickly fades in the finish. Nevertheless, it possesses plenty of appeal, and is the most accessible Canon-La-Gaffeliere I have tasted. Drink it over the next decade. 89 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 Smith Haut Lafitte  –  A beauty of cassis, plum, tobacco leaf and spice, this dark plum/purple-hued, medium to full-bodied 2003 reveals sweet, round, cassis flavors. It has reached full maturity, but shows no signs of decline, and should continue to hold at this plateau for another decade. Although the 2003 is not up to the perfect levels of the 2009 and 2010, it is unquestionably a noteworthy success in a vintage that did not favor Pessac-Leognan. 91 points from the Wine Advocate.

Which 2003 Bordeaux Should I Open?

  • 2003 Canon-La Gaffelière (56%, 9 Votes)
  • 2003 Rauzan-Ségla (25%, 4 Votes)
  • 2003 Smith Haut Lafitte (19%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 16

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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 May installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

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