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Bordeaux 2004 - Part IV

by Tom Cannavan

St-Emilion and Pomerol



St-Emilion

Château Cheval Blanc (St Emilion) Le Petit Cheval 2004
The second wine of Cheval Blanc. Very dark, opaque crimson. The nose is very dark and brooding at present - quite closed, with spices and an edge of cedar, but there is a really tightly-wound core of black fruit. On the palate it has good concentration, with a liquorice-edge of dark, firm cherry and blackcurrant fruit, some warming caramel and an elegance and freshness from brisk, tight tannins and a clean acidity. This does not have much flesh and weight at this stage, but lots of elegance and good fruit. 88/100

Château Cheval Blanc (St Emilion) Premier Grand Cru Classé 2004
Similarly opaque, dark colour though perhaps a touch more vibrant. This is also quite closed, though again there is a very pure core of glistening dark cherry, a real sense of ripe, almost sweet floral and kirsch nuance, and a softening overlay of crushed blackberry that begins to emerge from the glass. A background of cedar and a sheen of caramel suggests careful oak management. On the palate lovely purity and harmony; medium-bodied, certainly more flesh than the Petit Cheval even at this stage, and a complex spicy background of pepper and cardamom. The warm, caramel quality of the oak fills in on the finish, with an elegant acidity and good sense of purity. There is a real grip of tight, supple tannin. Good length. Perhaps lacking a bit of real fruit depth at this stage? 91/100.

Château Angélus Premier Grand Cru Classé 2004
Dramatically dark, vibrant, intense purple/black. Quite closed at present, but then a dramatically dark, tight, tightly-wound core of black cherry, dark chocolate and spice emerges. Immediately powerful impression. On the palate, a big, striking liquorice and dry black cherry and plum fruit floods over the tongue. It is medium-to full-bodied and has a real grippy, bitter edge of tight, muscular tannins that clamp down and coat the teeth. Lots of spice and a bitterness of dark chocolate add drama and texture into a long finish. Clearly well-structured and full of extract, but has a s Certain freshness and keenness too. 92/100

Château Balestard-La-Tonnelle, Grand Cru Classé 2004
Very dark crimson/black. Much more highly scented than the Angelus, with a red fruit appeal, lots of crushed raspberry and very bright cherry aromas, against a background of cedary spice. On the palate fine, rich, ripe fruit and masses of grip and tannic extract again. Medium-bodied, with a sweetness to the fruit before that tannic and cherry acid structure clamps down. Not quite the flesh and authority of the Angelus, but impressive. 90/100

Château Beau-Séjour-Bécot, Premier Grand Cru Classé 2004
Similarly dark and opaque. Crushed red berry fruits on the nose, with caramel and little hints of sandalwood. On the palate a flood of svelte, quite rounded and plump black cherry fruit, in a medium- to full-bodied format. Lovely richness in this wine, and a real glossy depth of liquorice, keen-edged fruit with lots of cherry-skin grip and acidity. A depth of chocolate and plum adds to the weight of this impressive wine. 92/100

Château Belair Premier Grand Cru Classé 2004
Vibrant purple rim to dark, opaque colour. There's a caramel and toffee oak quality that lies over a dark, plush fruitiness. There are little aromatic hints of kirsch and cherry, but it is quite closed. Good fruit; quite bright and relatively jammy, with a medium-bodied texture and support of coffee and chocolaty oak. This has good balancing tannins and an orangy acidity, but is perhaps less intense and pure than some. 88/100

Château Berliquet, Grand Cru Classé 2004
Dark, opaque crimson/black. Spices and sandalwood, with a caramel quality suggesting oak dominates at present. There's a toffee-like warmth to this. On the palate the fruit comes forward, and is sweet and juicy, with lots of black cherry and crushed blackberry fruit. It is medium-bodied, and perhaps just lacks a little flesh and breadth through the mid-palate, though a certain sweet creaminess emerges and a bitter black cherry skin and plenty of dramatic spice and roughening plum skin tannins grips the finish. This could potentially improve over a score of 89/100.

Château Canon, Premier Grand Cru Classé 2004
Very dark, almost black and opaque. Huge, fragrant nose, loaded with kirsch and soaring floral-edged black fruit and creamy vanillin. Real depth and ripeness, with an almost eucalyptus quality of sweet fruit. Smooth, cool and very fruit-focused on the palate, this is medium- to full-bodied and has a very silky texture. A hedonistic style, with a massive core of very ripe fruit, smooth, silky tannins and cherry acidity adding grip. A chocolate, almost minty depth of fruit is impressive, and though this is stylistically very flashy and ripe, it also has structure. 91/100

Château Canon-la-Gaffelière, Grand Cru Classé 2004
Intense, deep purple/black. Lovely ripeness and fragrance, with floral notes of Parma violet and plenty of ripe cherry fruit. A nice earthy nuance and notes of caramel add depth. On the palate this is quite full-bodied and has a rich texture, with intense black fruits giving a crushed velvet weight and texture. Lots of fruit sweetness here, which melds with the rich texture and chocolaty tannins to give a lovely mouthfeel. Good structure, with a long, grippy finish. 92/100

Château Cap de Mourlin, Grand Cru Classé 2004
Very deep and vibrant colour. Rather vegetal, slightly stinky note detracts from a solid, but closed nose. This is perhaps not an entirely clean sample. Palate is thick and smoothly-textured, with a solid core of black fruit and plenty of grippy, edgy wood and dark plum-skin tannins and acidity. Mouth-coating and fully extracted, this is potentially better than my score of 87/100.

Château Dassault, Grand Cru Classé 2004
Vibrant crimson/black. Fragrant, wild cherry and blackcurrant fruit on the nose, with a layer of silky, vanillin oak and a warming core of coffee and sandalwood. The palate is impressively saturated with sweet-edged, cherry and crushed black berry fruits, a little earthy, truffly note and exotic hints of spices and very dark, blueberry bittersweetness. Thick, supple tannins coat the palate and there is good cherry acidity into a long finish. 91/100

Château Figeac, Premier Grand Cru Classé 2004
Black, with crimson at rim. Figeac has a darker, more warming nose of fudge-like and tobacco notes, with a plumy depth of fruit, chocolate and a milky richness before more smoky and cedary components take over. There's real depth, with a smoky, quite gravelly edge to firm, weighty black fruit. The palate is creamy-textured and full, and the mid-palate has weight, sweetness and richness. Tannins and acidity are less aggressive than in many other wines, or are perhaps better integrated at this stage, in a very powerful, but harmonious and complete wine. 94/100

Château Clos Fourtet, Premier Grand Cru Classé 2004
Dark, vibrant crimson. Solid black fruit, but quite closed and tight, with a spiciness emerging. There is lovely fruit sweetness on the palate here, with a bold, juicy cherry and damson quality. It is pure and has a very solid core of fruit, with a wrapping of chocolaty, smooth tannins that coat the teeth and really dry this wine at present, but a nice sweetness that persists and plays against good cherry acidity to leave a balanced and long, pure finish. 90/100.

Château Franc-Mayne, Grand Cru Classé 2004
Very dark, solid colour. Mint and spicy edges suggest real ripeness and depth here, with a solid black fruit character with lots of black cherry and very sweet, almost raspberry forward fruit. There's a floral note too, in an attractively bright profile. It has a smooth texture and quite full body, with a raft of sweet fruit against a smooth, chocolaty background. Quite lush and sumptuous, this is a plush style, with woodsmoke and spice supporting the finish, and the grippy tannins and fresh cherry acidity creeping up almost unnoticed. 92/100

Château Grand-Mayne, Grand Cru Classé 2004
Very deep and opaque. Silky, crushed blackberry and deep, ripe cherry nose. Lots of lift on this one, with floral notes and kirsch like qualities. There's a dark chocolate background, but fruit is very sweet and powerful. Smooth, silky and medium bodied, with a raft of juicy, chewy black cherry and cherry skin fruit. A real plum skin bite to this wine, with an elegance and coolness to the core of fruit, but a dark, quite dramatic underpinning of liquoricy depth adding structure. Well-balanced, with spicy tannins and good acidity in the finish, but that aromatic quality of pure fruit persisting. 92/100

Château La Couspaude, Grand Cru Classé 2004
Very dark, slightly warmer crimson/ruby rim. Gently aromatic, with cherry fruit and a touch of chocolate, but quite subdued. A little touch of coffee and earthiness emerges. Bright and focused on the palate, this has good fruit, but there's a dark, slightly earthy note that gives a warmth and certain rusticity. Very grippy, with firm, rasping tannins and a good acid base and lots of bitter plum and cherry-skin bite in the finish. Quite complex this. 90/100.

Château La Dominique, Grand Cru Classé 2004
The coffee and toasty oak dominates at first, in this very dark wine with a certain warmth to the colour. There is chocolate and a silky, plummy depth and a certain nuttiness that is hard to pin down. On the palate that smoky, toasty character continues, and the dark, soft, molten quality of dark fruit is subsumed in tobacco and toffee-flavoured oak. A liquorice and plum-skin tannic grip is powerful in the finish and there is good acidity, but perhaps not the freshness and elegance of the best here. 89/100

Château La Gaffelière, Premier Grand Cru Classé 2004
Very dark, very vibrant. There's a really shiny, glossy, svelte dark cherry and Blackcurrant darkness on the nose here, especially compared to the previous wine, with a blue/black quality of fruit and bitter plum-skin depth. Silky and rich on the palate, this has a harmony about it, with the dark fruit flavours well-melded with smooth and solid, but grippy, edgy tannins that have some liquorice and burnt toast grip and definition. Acidity is good but quite gently positioned, leaving the smooth, full fruit to dominate the finish. 91/100

Château La Tour Figeac, Grand Cru Classé 2004
Very solid, dark and opaque. Caramel on the nose, with a silky impression that is chocolaty and deep, with a supple, quite tightly-wound core of fruit beneath. On the palate this has a silky, smooth blueberry and ripe, juicy black cherry fruit quality, with masses of extract and bitter plum depth. There is a solidity about the tannins too, with a muscular concentration and grip of spicy, dark wood in the finish. The cherry-skin acidity is well judges, in a long and harmonious wine. 91/100

Château Larcis-Ducasse, Grand Cru Classé 2004
Raspberry and crushed, quite jammy blackberry fruit dominates the nose of this very dark, crimson/black wine. There's a sheen of vanilla and a chocolaty coating of smooth, very dense black fruit that is harmonious and attractive. On the palate there is a fine, smooth, elegant balance, with a silky texture and medium- to full-bodied weight. A liquorice and bitter plum depth begins to grip, and there is good support from tight, supple and very polished tannins. Without the depth of complexity of the best here, this was nevertheless most impressive. 91/100.

Château Larmande, Grand Cru Classé 2004
Very intense, vibrant purple/crimson. Lovely aromatics here; crushed raspberry and floral notes with a gentle hint of herbs and pot-pourri. On the palate a brightness and focus, with raspberry and cherry fruit quality in a medium-bodied, quite crisp format. There is fine sweetness of fruit, and a certain schisty, earthy quality, before a firm edge of tight, supple tannins and bold acidity grips. Nice freshness into the long finish. Lovely wine and 90/100.

Château Pavie-Macquin 2004
Dark and opaque with a vibrant purple rim. A certain smooth, custardy quality of oak at first, with sweet, silky black fruit beneath. The palate has round, sweet, and very juicy black cherry and plum fruit that is bold and forward. The pure core of fruit is wrapped in a shiny coating of vanilla, with edgy, tight tannins and drying acidity adding complexity. Smooth and creamy in the finish, this is an attractive and open style and has lovely fruit quality. 90/100

Château Troplong-Mondot, Grand Cru Classé 2004
Very opaque with a bold purple rim. Little notes of coffee and chocolate are layered over a bold, intense dark fruit core, with blackcurrant and berries, and a minty ripeness evident. Smooth-textured and quite full, the core of fruit here shimmers through the mid-palate, with a big backbone of bold, drying tannins sweeping in behind adding a dusty dryness, and subtle but persistent acidity. The sweet, rounded quality of fruit hangs in on the finish, in a very stylish wine. 91/100

Château Trottevielle 2004
Intense, deep colour with a ruby tinge to rim. There's a subtle incense note to the nose, with some cedary oak over composed, tightly-wound red and black fruits. Smooth, creamy oak dominates the medium- to full-bodied palate at first, with a dramatically dark core of cherry and plum fruit, that is deep and sonorous, wrapped in a sheen of vanilla and with a liquoricy bite on the finish. The tannins are supple but grippy and dry, and this wine has a harmony and good, smooth, length. 92/100.

Pomerol

Château Beauregard 2004
Bold dark colour with purple rim. Big, dark, coffee and chocolate nose, with a meatiness and supple dark plum richness. There's fine grip and a keen-edged cherry and liquorice depth on the palate, with very bold, assertive fruit and displaying a certain wild, herbal quality but plenty of glossy, black power. Tannins are edgy and liquoricy, with lots of tight, chicory-like grip and crisp cherry-skin acidity. Lovely bold, confident stuff. 92/100

Château La Cabanne 2004
Dark crimson/black, though marginally less opaque than some. More tight and closed on the nose, with a clamped-down, quite muscular quality. Dark cherry fruit is slow to emerge. On the palate a very solid style, with a firm, tight core of black fruits and a liquorice and very compact, black plum skin grip of tannins and acids. Not quite the attractive openness and vigour of the Beauregard, but very powerful and should improve. 89/100

Château La Conseillante 2004
Sweet fudge-like notes of caramel and toffee oak are present, with little floral, violet and intense blue/black fruit notes emerging. On the palate that custardy quality of oak is layered over the fruit at present, with a dark, bold, bittersweetness of chocolate and intense blueberry fruit beneath. Grippy and intense, this has lots of concentration and a solidity to the fruit that is very appealing. Good structure too, in an impressive package. 92/100

Château Clinet 2004
Particularly opaque and solid black colour. Clinet is very closed and tight at present. It has a shiny, black carapace with just hints of espresso and plum emerging. On the palate it has a smooth, full-bodied weight and texture, with an extremely plush, dense core of bittersweet black fruits. There is real concentration and depth here, with plumskin and massive, liquoricy tannins that spread over and coat the teeth and mouth. Dark espresso and damson fruit supports and a fine acidity into a long, harmonious but very muscular and tightly wound finish. 93/100

Château Vieux Certain 2004
Dense and black with just crimson on rim. Intense, fragrant, blue-black crushed fruit quality with a little spice and kirsch-like cherry notes. On the palate there is a real sweet intensity of fruit, with a bold, assertive quality of blackcurrant and ripe, sweet plum and glossy, deep, rounded character. There is a harmony about this wine, with grippy, polished tannins well integrated with a dark, cedary oak quality and a gentle but incisive cut of acidity freshening the finish. A generous suggestion of chocolate and juicy plum is the parting suggestion in a very elegant, powerful wine. 92/100

Château L'Evangile 2004
Toasty, coffee-ish oak dominates the nose of this very solid, blackish coloured wine at first. That coffee aroma begins to give way to solid, ripe and substantial black fruit, but it remains dark and rich, with a muscular structure rather than fruity intensity. The palate is supple and rich, with a bold, full texture and a raft of dark, creamy black fruit flavour backed up by that solidly dark, toasty and espresso-bean oak. There is lovely grip and fullness here, and an orangy acidity adds lots of crisp elegance on the finish. Great potential. 93/100

Château Gazin 2004
Very dark crimson. The nose is fairly closed, with an earthy quality and gently spiciness, over compact, glossy black fruit. The palate is quite rich and supple, with a nice sweetness of fruit emerging, with lots of glossy black berries that are quite generous and rounded, with a wrapping of chocolaty, deep tannins and fruit depth. Dry, grippy oak and tannin dominates into the finish, but the balance is good and this is stylish and composed with a latent sweetness of fruit. 91/100

Château La Croix de Gay 2004
A very dark and solid colour with a chocolaty, dark and glossy richness on the nose. Black cherry and dark, glossy berries dominate, backed up by some supple, smooth oak. Lovely fruit sweetness on the palate, with an espresso and bitter chocolate smoothness and depth, a dense fruit quality and lots of bitter plum skin and cherry grip. Supple and concentrated, the acidity is good and this retains lots of freshness into the finish. 91/100

Château La Pointe 2004
Very opaque and dark, crimson rim. Harmonious and generous nose with a layering of coffee and toasty oak over ripe, dense, shiny black fruit. There's a cedary quality, but a very ripe and compact, glossy character of black fruit. Very full and smooth on the palate, this has a tight, full ,very composed structure with an obvious quality of sweet black fruit and well-rounded, supple tannins and acidity. 91/100

Château Petit-Village 2004
Quite a bright crimson quality to the colour here. Fresh, quite bright more raspberry-like quality to the fruit here. There are nice aromatics, with hints of exotic sandalwood and plenty of floral and cherry nuances. Nice kirsch like components too. Supple, cherry fruited palate with again harmony and elegance to the fruit with out the blockbuster extraction of some others. Dry, elegant tannins are forceful in the finish, and balancing cherry acidity adds a lift. Scores well on elegance and harmony. 91/100

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