Dark cherries, dark forest fruits, tobacco and luxurious oak in the bouquet. On the palate a good concentration (definitely for the vintage), plums, dark forest fruits, some chocolate, good acidity and slightly sticky and a bit drying tannin. Early maturity now. Imho the wine might improve a bit over the next 3 - 4 years of aging. 90+ for tonight.
Ok, so do not open this for 10 years, or give it a 24 hour slow-ox. The first night it was totally unyielding. Tonight, after 24 hours of air it showed more fruit, better balance and significant promise for the future.
Had a pour from Aaron and David's table, but couldn't really be too contemplative about this wine, as I was the host of a raging party. Nice wine, reflective of the vintage. I put this behind the '02 Lynch Bages which seemed to show more character. David thought this was an off bottle. My daughter's birth year wine, from Uncle Aaron's cellar, enjoyed at her Bat Mitzvah.
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(Chateau Pichon-Lalande (Pauillac)) A remarkably dark hue in the decanter, deep and claretty, certainly no suggestion of maturity from the colour at least. And this first impression translates through onto the nose and palate, which is also painfully youthful. On the nose it is tight and rather ungiving, showing a rather distant pencil-lead fruit with the suggestion of a stony, violet perfume. Although the wine 'feels' very dark, like peering into a gloomy cave, what nuances of fruit it has does possess a rather lifted and chalky red-fruit character which certainly holds some promise. But the palate is really where it slaps you in the face. Moderate in body at best, coffee-tinged, with bright and acidic fruit, this is a wine that looks upon you with disdain for even to daring to approach it so soon. It will be very enjoyable one day I think, but for now this is one to leave well alone to slumber in the cellar, for five years at least. And sadly it took two bottles to discover this; the first was corked (and seemed rather more open and advanced than this one behind the taint). Fine potential.
(Château Pichon-Lalande (Pauillac)) I'm happy to return to this wine which nearly two years ago showed a rather reticent, primary style, and was sufficiently awkward for me to give a rather hedged score. Now though it seems more harmonious, although there's no denying that this is still very tense and taut, with the twang of youthful acidity. In the decanter it has a dark but confident hue. The fruit on the nose seems dark and fresh, although it remains tinged with coffee nuances, and a touch of smoky soot. And the fruit has a gentle, just-ripe character that gives it a slightly green tinge. Surprisingly it seems to reveal more oak the longer it remains in the glass, but it never dominates. The palate is tense like the nose suggests, with chalky substance, and a fresh, stony-sappy texture. It feels very cool-climate in character, all fruit skins and cherry stones. Underneath the tense red cherries and cranberries there are dry tannins, giving it a very fine, taut character, all sappy and fresh. The palate finishes with a real stony grip. An attractive wine, to those of us who like the tenser, fresher, more acidic style.
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