Friday, August 1, 2003 - Tasted double-blind at Vintage Wines, Ltd. Bottle provided by Ken Johnson. The wine was opened within 30 minutes of initial tasting and was not decanted. Being labeled as "unknown #2", the identity of the wine was revealed relatively early in the course of the evening. Bright disc. Opaque purple robe with a purple rim. Clean nose, initially showing dominant weedy/underbrush aromas, with currants and cassis lurking in the background. Full-bodied on the palate, with huge tannins and similar initial vegetal/herbal flavors as for the nose. Medium, slightly dry finish.
When tasted completely blind, this recently-opened, un-aerated wine was not pleasant. I incorrectly guessed that it was a '98 California Cabernet. The identity of the wine was then revealed, and my subsequent impressions were accordingly fully unblinded. Allowing the wine to aerate and tasting it sequentially over the next two hours, the wine's aroma profile changed substantially. My score (given as a range) reflects this subsequent unblinded tasting. The "weediness" subsided and aromas of coffee, black cherry and cassis took center stage. While still not particularly pleasant to my palate, I can understand why professional wine critics (who have a much better ability to recognize potential greatness in such young, backward Bordeaux) recognize this wine as a blockbuster. It has the structure to potentially develop into something special, but I'm not sure that this will occur during my lifetime. It certainly is unlike any other Leoville-Barton that I have tasted, and indeed is the most massive and backward 2000 that I have tasted to date.