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2000 Bordeaux revisited

by Tom Cannavan, 05/033

Back in June 2001 I tasted the barrel samples of the great 2000 vintage, in Bordeaux. That extensive report is here. A few months ago I had a chance to taste most of the wines again, when the Union des Grands Crus, an association of most of the top Châteaux of Bordeaux, brought the finished, bottled wines to London for a press tasting. The tasting confirmed my initial impression that this was an extremely good vintage, with great promise for the long-term potential of the best wines.

As the annual Bordeaux tasting is so large it is one of the very few where I attempt to score each wines, out of 100. I attended this re-tasting without reference to my earlier notes, and again scored the wines as I tasted them. I have included the latest scores and the scores from the earlier tasting, as it is interesting to compare the two. The tasting was not blind.

St-Estèphe

Château Lafon-Rochet 2000, 4th growth
A striking new yellow label for this wine (of which I have several vintages cellared) certainly makes it stand out from the crowd. There is the usual Lafon-Rochet muscular, brawny character immediately apparent on the nose, with deep grilled meat, plum and leathery aromas. The palate is serious and tannic, with dry, powerful flavours that are meaty and earthy, with plenty of spice and stuffing and a core of black fruit. Long and very impressive, this is very good indeed. 91/100 (91/100 last time).

Château Phélan-Ségur 2000, Cru Bourgeois
A dense sweet fruitness dominates the nose, and another powerful, brooding style of wine. Lacks a little fruit on the palate compared to the Lafon-Rochet, but bold, plummy and spicy. Very good. 87/100 (87/100 last time).

St-Julien

Château Beychevelle 2000, 4th growth
There is a lovely elegance about Beychevelle which I really like. This has refined strawberry and raspberry fruit, notes of cherry and a touch of briary wood. On the palate it has fine cherry fruit that is very finely-wrought, with a cedary background and lovely freshness. Very good indeed, but a total contrast to Lafon-Rochet. 91/100 (91/100 last time).

Château Gruaud-Larose 2000, 2nd growth
Lovely nose on this - fine quality of animal, gamy perfume over rich, earthy red fruits. The palate is tight and has a beautifully delineated fruit quality with excellent ripeness and balance. There is good support from crisp tannins and a mineral acidity. Quality is stamped all over this wine. Excellent/outstanding. 96/100 (95/100 last time).

Château Lagrange 2000, 3rd growth
Gorgeous, animal, bloody perfumed streak against fine black fruit. Lovely quality in the mouth too, with puckering tannins at present, and a dense, serious quality of black fruit. This is a big, broad-shouldered wine, with deep, sinewy quality and a savoury depth. Very good indeed. 91/100 (92/100 last time).

Château Langoa-Barton 2000, 2nd growth
Much sweeter on the nose; more open than the Lagrange. Welcoming, sweet, deliciously focused fruit quality of ripe cherry and cassis. Ripe and forward on the palate too, though framed and eventually swamped by big, meaty tannins. Lovely length and balance though, and very good indeed/excellent. 92/100 (94/100 last time).

Château Léoville-Barton 2000, 2nd growth
Léoville-Barton has a serious, compact, muscular, deeply-set quality. It has notes of leather, cedar and polished wood, also a smoky element. Really deep and complex. Serious and muscular on the palate too, with plenty of power and grip and a substantial weight of fruit. Great structure and balance. Excellent/Outstanding. 95/100 (95+/100 last time).

Château Léoville-Poyferré 2000, 2nd growth
Last time I gave the usually reliable L-P a lowish score of 88 and said "I don't think this showed too well....needs to be re-tasted". Much bloodier, gamier perfume here with a meaty richness, cedar and blackurrant aromas. On the palate it is concentrated black fruit which drives this wine, and it is firm and fleshy with a muscular breadth and depth and a meaty, tannic finish. Much more like it, and a fine 92/100 (88/100 last time).

Pauillac

Château Clerc-Milon 2000, 5th growth
This adds a dimension of more charcoally, mineral quality on top of briar and chestnutty aromas, with classic cedarwood and cassis. Good fruit here, with a nice axis of tannin and acidity that braces the palate, but plenty of sweet, creamy cassis fruit. Good balance. Very good indeed. 91/100 (not tasted previously).

Château d'Armailhac 2000, 5th growth
There is an earthy, slightly dank quality here, with animal aromas, coffee and cedar. There is good black fruit too. The palate is concentrated and rich, with a big tannin backbone and juicy structure that is currently overpowering the fruit slightly. Seems a little disjointed, but may well improve. Very good/very good indeed for now. 89-90/100 (not tasted previously).

Château Lynch-Moussas 2000, 5th growth
Quite tight and straightforward at present, with hints of sweet perfume, but mostly concentrated black fruit. Lovely quality on the palate; quite rich and muscular, tightly packed with fruit but good background structure of oak and tannin. Balanced acidity and good length. Very good/very good indeed. 90/100 (90/100 last time).

Château Pichon-Lalande 2000, 2nd growth
This has a big, open-knit, forward nose crammed with generous fruit of cherry and blackcurrant. Perhaps lacks a little complexity on the nose. Palate also has that open, generous character with plenty of tannic structure, but extremely poised, cool, classy blackcurrant fruit and fine length. Very good indeed. 92/100. (not tasted previously).

Château Pontet-Canet, 5th growth
Quite a deep, inviting, coffee-bean and cocoa nose. The fruit is deep-set and concentrated. On the palate it is muscular, with plenty of bracing acidity, it is grippy and sinewy, with a serious seam of savoury black fruit. Long, juicy and well-balanced, this is very promising. 93/100 (91/100 last time).

Margaux and Haut-Médoc

Château Brane-Cantenac 2000, 2nd growth
Very nice nose, with lovely perfume suggesting game and coffee, with fine red fruit aromas. There is decent fruit on the palate too, though perhaps this is lacking a little when set against drying tannins. A lighter style for sure, and though balanced, slightly disappointing and rates only as very good on this showing. 88/100 (91/100 last time).

Château Cantenac-Brown 2000, 3rd growth
Rich, ripe, zinging clarity of raspberry fruit with a background of tobacco and toasty oak. Quite crisp and light on the palate; elegant, with good fruit and crisp tannins and acids. Good balance and length. Very good. 89/100 (not tasted previously).

Château Dauzac 2000, 5th growth
Nice warmth of coffee and leather, with chocolaty depth and gamy nuances too. An attractive picture, backed up by kirsch-like cherry fruit. Good concentration on the palate, with a fine quality of ripe cassis fruit and good tannins. Good length, and really quite attractive for a wine I don't know very well. 90/100 (not tasted previously).

St-Emilion

Château Balestard-La-Tonnelle 2000, Grand Cru Classé
Lovely berry and cherry-scented nose. Beautifully sweet, with a touch of gamy perfume. This has lots of fruit sweetness on the palate too, with fine, delicious cherry flavours and touches of savoury leather. Fleshy and well-structured, this is very good/very good indeed. 90/100 (90/100 last time).

Château Beau-Séjour-Bécot 2000, Premier Grand Cru Classé
Fabulous depth, with plenty of coffee-bean, spice and animal aromas. A dark, earthy, plum and chocolate depth. On the palate ripe, sweet, lush fruit that is braced by firm tannins and a juicy cherry acidity. Long and balanced, this is excellent. 93/100 (94/100 last time).

Château Canon-la-Gaffelière 2000, Grand Cru Classé
Lovely ruby hue to this, with a juicy, dark, very polished, svelte fruit quality. Tight kirsch-like aromas, very pure and deep. More of that svelte, blue/black fruit character on the palate with lots of structure and power. This seems like a real baby, but with obvious potential. Very good indeed/excellent. 92/100 (93/100 last time).

Château Canon 2000, Premier Grand Cru Classé
Firm, juicy, black cherry and mineral nose. Lots of fruit that is very tight and focused, with just a background of oak. Firm and tannic on the palate, the fruit is sinewy and muscular, with great concentration and spicy depth. Good length, and very promising. Very good indeed/excellent. 91/100 (not tasted previously).

Château Couspuade 2000, Grand Cru Classé
Focused, elegant cherry and raspberry fruit. This is dark and dense, with good concentration but a sense of precision. On the palate plenty of juicy acidity kicks in, and a sour, bittersweet plumskin tannic roughness. Very attractive, with good length. Excellent. 92/100 (not tasted previously).

Château La Dominique 2000, Grand Cru Classé
There's a fine sense of fruit ripeness and sweetness here, with an undercurrent of lush, vegetal, undergrowth, coffee and vanilla. Plenty of acidity on the palate again, making this juicy and firm, with keen tannins gripping the finish. More butch than I remember it, with plenty of stuffing. Very good indeed/excellent. 91/100 (93/100 last time).

Château La Gaffelière 2000, Premier Grand Cru Classé
Sweet, slightly lighter style with raspberry fruit. Attractive hints of dark chocolate and aromatic violet. Sweet, medium-bodied palate, but big plush tannins fill it out and there is good length. Cool and elegant in style, this is excellent. 93/100 (not tasted previously).

Château Troplong-Mondot 2000, Grand Cru Classé
Rich, ripe, round and sweet with loads of lush, ripe, blackcurrant fruit supported by charry oak. Lovely palate, with fine cassis and bitter black cherry flavours. Ripe tannins are silky and fine, with lovely balance and length. Excellent. 94/100 (92/100 last time).

Pomerol

Château Beauregard
Plenty of spicy, charry, toasty qualities here; a real spice cupboard nose over deep, plummy fruit. Lots of sinewy depth on the palate too, and seems promising. Very good indeed/excellent. 91/100 (not tasted previously).

Château Clinet 2000
This has a definite herbal edge on the nose, which does not distract from sweet, ripe black fruit. Very juicy and bright, with only background oak. Big tannins swamp the palate; it is loaded with sweet, tobacco-tinged black fruit and has a lovely weight and texture, certainly well up to battling those tannins. Long and excellent. 94/100 (91/100 last time).

Château Conseillante 2000
Toasty, nutty warmth, with a deep-set vein of black fruit. Lots of fruit sweetness. Nice palate too, with a fine quality of black fruit and warm, earthy notes. This has structure, with good tannins and acids, but seems very flattering and delicious at this stage. Excellent. 93-94/100 (not tasted previously).

Château Petit-Village 2000
Coffee-bean, espresso nose with bitter chocolate and very dark, fine cassis fruit. Pure, sweet, and blackcurranty palate with smooth, elegant tannins. really nice fruit quality, with good balance and a sense of elegance. Good length. Very good indeed/excellent. 92/100 (93/100 last time).

Sauternes and Barsac

Château de Malle 2000
Light, but fine botrytis. Delicately honeyed notes with vanilla, almond and light apricot fruit. Not terribly profound, but good quality and very good/very good indeed. 90/100 (not tasted previously).

Château Rayne-Vigneau 2000
Good botrytis notes of honey and a touch of fig. Buttery too. The palate has good fruit, but quite light with a delightful sweep of clean melon and pear flavours and a sense of richness. Well-balanced, and very good indeed. 91/100 (not tasted previously).

Château Doisy-Védrines 2000
Tight, bright, focused floral and tangerine fruit. Nice full palate, with a honeyed edge to racy, bright citrus flavours. Good length, and very good indeed. 91/100 (not tasted previously).

Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey 2000
Minimal botrytis evident, but attractive aromas of overripe melon, guava and pineapple syrup. Good definition on the palate, which is rich and full with sweet, racy, crisp pear and citrus fruit. Very good indeed. 91/100 (not tasted previously).

Château Suduiraut 2000
Again, quite a delicate wine, with more honeyed botrytis notes and floral nuances. This is very attractive. The palate has lovely fruit; sweet and pure, with concentrated apricot character and quite lush. Good balance and excellent length. Best Sauternes here, and 92/100 (not tasted previously).