Cellar Management

Pick My Next Bottle – 2004 Bordeaux

The September installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on 2004 Bordeaux. 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 early next week.

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 Calon Segur – This 2004 comes across like their 1988. An unusually high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon (70%) was blended with 30% Merlot, resulting in a dense ruby/purple-colored, slightly herbaceous Calon-Segur possessing a tapenade/olive characteristic along with plump, rich black cherries, truffles, underbrush, and black currants. Medium to full-bodied with plenty of sweet tannin, excellent purity, and a broad mouthfeel. It will require 3-4 years of cellaring, and should keep for two decades. 90 points from the Wine Advocate.
  • 2004 Pavie Macquin– A noble, complex nose of flowers, beef blood, black currants, licorice, and truffles reveals surprising evolution. The full-bodied, powerful wine exhibits stunning concentration, beautiful richness, sweet tannin, and a long finish. A blend of 75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon (all from a bio-dynamically farmed vineyard), the 2004 Pavie-Macquin is another dazzling success from the brilliant winemaking team of Stephane Derenoncourt and Nicolas Thienpont. 93 points from the Wine Advocate.
  • 2004 Pontet Canet – Tasted at the Pontet-Canet vertical in London, it seems clear that the 2004 Château Pontet-Canet is predestined to always fall under the shadow of the 2005. Don’t overlook this gem. The bouquet delivers pure blackberry, pencil lead and tobacco notes that are more generous than the 2005 at the moment—open for business, you might say. There is an element of dried herbs here, a hint of black tar. The palate is medium-bodied and quite sturdy in the mouth, the tannins perhaps ‘abrasive’ when juxtaposed against the 2005, however they are couched in unexpectedly intense earthy black fruit that frame a tannic finish. If you hanker for a sumptuous Pontet-Canet, then opt for 2003 or 2009, but if your predilection is for a more ‘classic’ Pauillac, then 2004 Pontet-Canet fits the bill. 92 points from the Wine Advocate.

Which 2004 Bordeaux Should I Open?

  • 2004 Pontet Canet (50%, 7 Votes)
  • 2004 Calon Segur (36%, 5 Votes)
  • 2004 Pavie Macquin (14%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 14

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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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