Nez tres séduisant de cèdre, de mûres, mine de crayon, fumée. La bouche montre la finesse d'un Margaux (oui le Château!). C'est parfaitement équilibré, avec une texture en bouche magnifique, qui laisse une impression de noblesse, une véritable caresse au palais. Attention, ce n'est pas pour autant une mauviette, mais le bois a laissé sa marque assouplissante sur le vin, mais sans en imprégner les arômes. La finale est subtile et minérale, seule sa longueur relativement modeste sépare le vin des grands millésimes du domaine. Un vrai vin de repas, aussi facile à boire que délicieux. 93 pts
Tasted blind. Appearance of Dark Ruby with vibrant hues. Sweet ripe fruits on the nose but subtle and still youthful, along with dark cherry, peppery spice, hints of oak and menthol. Still pretty primary on palate with blackcurrant, dark cherry and tobacco. Supple mouth feel, solid midpalate but posses elegant and finesse. Fine soft chewy tannins and persistent spicy finish. Drinking very well, rich and robust. Another excellent '02 left bank that transcend the cooler vintage and over delivered. From a blend of 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc and 6% Petit Verdot.
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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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