Following the all the assessments that the '03s are evolving rapidly and need to be tended to, I decided to pull my first of two bottles. Indeed, it seemed more evolved than you'd expect at this age, but this is an '03. I personally liked this vintage on release, and found this estate enjoyable, showing odd raspberry notes on the nose, which were melded with licorice, cedar, mint, and minerals (iron). Good, medium sized wine still packaged in a notable structure, little heat detected, although not especially complex in the mouth, or long on the finish. I'll hold my last bottle another 2-3 years to see what comes of it...
Youthful in appearance. Expressive nose of smoke, coffee, and dark fruit. Palate shows some ripe fruit moving into a mature phase. Dark fruit profile. Chinky coarse tannins on the finish with a little pepper. This is an '03 that is balanced and showing well. Drink or hold, though not sure if there is clear upside for long term holding.
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(Chateau Lafon-Rochet (St Estèphe)) A very dark and indeed rather opaque wine here, near black at its core, with a dusty claretty rim. The fruit character on the nose has a rather deep and roasted feel, with nuances of cherry, cedar and tar. On the palate it has a rather dry, austere feel, although this feeling comes mainly from the firm backbone of ripe, rich tannins. Around it there is a nice presence of texture and fruit, but none of the soft sweetness that you might expect from the vintage. Which is good, but it also feels a little withdrawn and inexpressive. The low level acidity also contributes to the rather dull feel of the wine, lacking definition through the midpalate and finish. There is hope here as the wine has a closed down feel, but I hope time helps this evolve into something brighter and better defined.
(Chateau Lafon-Rochet St Estèphe) Another chance to try this wine. An impressive nose, with a lovely, deep presence of fruit. Ripe and deep and concentrated on the palate, yet still very firm, with a slightly hard, core of tannin. But there is a great presence of fruit which is more than a match for it, it seems. This has fine potential indeed.
(Chateau Lafon-Rochet St Estèphe) A really deep, glossy colour here. Rich and intense on the nose, with ripe fruit in abundance, with a floral, slightly exotic, pickling spice note. Ripe, supple entry, although this favourable impression fades a little through the midpalate, although it maintains a healthy presence of super-ripe fruit and succulent texture. Piles of tannins, quite an exposed unknit structure, but I think there is the fruit and substance to cope with this in the cellar. Very good potential.
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