Aline Conus – 2003 vintage tasting

Aline Conus was born in 1978 in Jura, Eastern France. She is a successful French business woman and marketing expert specialised in luxury goods, e-commerce and the Chinese market who lived in China for over 7 years. She studied at the Institute of Political Studies of Bordeaux in Bordeaux, at the famous University of Columbia and at the London School of Economics.

ST EMILION

ST EMILION

 

By Aline Conus

We had three sessions tasting in St Emilion, as I could not believe we had seen the best samples, and I wanted to be sure, so we went back. Generally this commune is disappointing although there are one or two triumphs.

 

 

 

Angélus (16)                                                                                    

 

A very deep, big wine, with intense fruit, and firm on the palate, but not over jammy like some. This has good length, is clearly a hot vintage year but good nonetheless.

 

Ausone (19)                                                                                     

 

One of the stars of the vintage. Great depth and concentration, sweet but not jammy – this has very complex, intense flavours; a great Ausone.

 

Beauséjour Becot (16.5)                                                                  

 

Another big wine, open complex briar and black fruit, sweet in the mouth – even jammy, enough fruit to balance firm tannin, a crowd pleaser.

 

Canon La Gaffeliere (16)                                                                

 

Attractive, intense flavours of sweet, ripe fruit, good mid-palate, lots of character and good balance, good wine.

 

Cheval Blanc (17.5)                                                                         

 

Elegant, lovely nose, with bright, ripe, red fruit character, very nicely balanced, but not big, or hugely intense. This is long and elegant and very lovely; not a great Cheval, but an excellent result for this vintage. This is a wine for those who love and understand Cheval Blanc.

 

Clos Fourtet (16.5)                                                                          

 

Deep, attractive fruit here, good intensity, tight-knit, and firm but, this is long and will be very good, one of my value favourites.

 

Figeac (17)                                                                                       

 

Open, complex, attractive nose, with good fruit and lovely balance; like Cheval Blanc, not a big wine, but a long, elegant finish – good wine.

 

Grand Corbin Despagne (15)                                                                     

Good, deep fruit, lovely character, with a hint of dry tannin, but enough fruit for this to be okay. An impressive result in an unattractive bunch.

 

Laroque (15)                                                                                   

 

Good, open, ripe fruit, reasonable class, firm, dryish tannins, but balanced by good sweet fruit.

 

Rol Valentin (15.5)                                                                          

 

I liked this amongst a dull lot; – it has some lovely fruit, and excellent St Emilion character and complexity with good intensity.

 

Trottevieille (15)                                                                             

 

Attractive berry fruit, ripe tannins, medium intensity, with good balance, a good result.

 

Valandraud (?)                                                                    

 

Not tasted, but most commentators agree, this is powerful and very good.

 

 

2003 has remained a vintage of high interest to me, not only because of the fond memory of my discovery of these babies, but also because of its unexpected, sometimes even “naughty” cararterictics. A vintage to watch and taste again and again!

By Aline Conus

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POMEROL

POMEROL

By Aline Conus

This commune is where we started tasting on Monday morning, and left feeling incredibly disappointed. Most wines had no core or mid-palate flavour, and the tannins were too dry.

 

La Conseillante (16.5)                                                                     

 

Attractive wild berry ripe fruit, firm tannins but plenty of fruit to balance this. Some good mid-palate intensity; one of the better Pomerols tasted, this is good.

 

L’ Evangile (16.5)                                                                           

 

Very tight knit and a bit closed up, but this wine has some good intensity, sweet berry fruit and good character. This has good length, but it will take a bit of time to mature.

 

Petrus, Lafleur, Trotanoy and Le Gay not tasted, but by all reports, they produced spectacular results, at the 1998 and 2000 quality level.

By Aline Conus

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ST ESTEPHE

ST ESTEPHE

By Aline Conus

Cos D’Estournel (18)                                                           

 

Top form, great substance, rich and firm in the middle and very long finish. I always like Cos but this is exceptional, beautiful balance, ripe, wonderful wine.

 

Cos Labory (16)                                                                              

 

Deep, intense, ripe black fruit, opulent in the mouth, very appealing – and long, very good.

 

Lafon Rochet (15.5)                                                                        

 

Attractive, masculine cabernet character, ripe and round and well balanced, good wine.

 

 

Les Ormes de Pez (16)                                                                    

 

Soft, ripe, sweet, big and round. But still a firm backbone, and not overripe; great result.

 

Montrose (18+)                                                                    

 

Again, back on form, like the amazing 1990, this is black, intense, opulent, a great powerful wine which, without Bordeaux terroir giving the bite of acidity, tannin and mineral spice, would be like the very top Californians, but this is miles better; top stuff.

 

Phelan Segur (15)                                                                

 

Ripe, nice character, open nose, not great class, but very attractive.

 

By Aline Conus

 

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PAUILLAC

PAUILLAC

 By Aline Conus

Clerc Milon (16)                                                                              

 

Attractive Cabernet nose, lots of character and a nice weight, with ripeness, yet good balance.

 

Duhart Milon (16.5)                                                                        

 

Intense center, with lovely structure, ripe fruit, yet still elegant, this is long and very attractive.

 

Grand Puy Lacoste (17)                                                                  

 

A favourite for its lovely balance – a claret lover’s wine, delicious, sweet, elegant with bags of character and a long finish. Excellent.

 

Haut Bages Liberal (16)                                                                 

 

Rich, ripe fruit, balanced with fine tannin and bright acidity, a perfect example if not the greatest class in town; certainly one of my favourites of the vintage.

 

Lafite Rothschild (19.5-20)                                                 

 

One of the most profound Lafites I have tasted. Normally young Lafite has a character from the vineyard of elegant restraint. This is for me a wine totally out of character, and even better for it. It has such power and intensity, such structure, yet rapier like ‘Lafite’ elegance, singing through all this youthful vigor. An amazing wine which, along with Lafite ’59, will, I think, go down as one of the great classics. I believe a wine of this structure will not be at its best for at least 30 years, and Lafite of all wines has its moment.

 

Latour (19.5-20)                                                                  

 

Frederic’s team kindly gave me the 2000 to compare; I argued with him over which is the better wine; a waste of time as they are both greats. But I think 2003 is a triumph for Latour. Power, intensity, with silky, firm tannic structure, and a brightness, which only great terroir can produce in a hot vintage. This is sensational, and like Lafite, I hope I am around when it reaches maturity.

 

Les Forts de Latour (16.5)                                                              

 

Very open, ripe, sweet round and wonderfully appealing, an exceptionally good wine, so beautifully balanced, silky, ripe, first rate.

 

Pauillac de Latour (15)                                                                   

 

I do not know if we will be able to get any of this wine, as they produced very little, but it was so good, we have to include in our offering – ripe, round and balanced claret, great to drink young in a few years.

 

Lynch Bages (17)                                                                             

 

This is good, lots of character as ever, sweet, tight-knit, concentrated wine, another crowd pleaser, delicious.

 

Mouton Rothschild (18.5-19)                                                          

 

Great wine, Mouton right back on form. Intense, ripe. “Mouton-like” black, cassis fruit, very round tannins, lovely and for Mouton very elegant and charming. Bravo.

 

Pichon Lalande (18)                                                                        

 

Very open, ripe fruit, classy elegance with a firm, intense backbone. Wonderfully complex and open already, the best example of power without weight; delicious.

 

Pichon Longueville (17.5-18)                                                                      

 

Tasted twice, both notes agree, this is a class act. Everything a top claret should be, ripe, bright, structured, and interesting, full of character beyond just fruit, of which there is plenty – very good indeed, top class.

 

Tourelles de Longeville (15)                                                           

 

Another exceptional second wine, which will offer great value. Ripe, attractive with lovely balance.

 

Pontet Canet (17)                                                                            

 

Good to see the revival of this estate continuing. Good wine with bags of masculine, firm character, some deliciously ripe fruit, nice weight and intensity and good length.

 

 By Aline Conus

 

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ST JULIEN

ST JULIEN

By Aline Conus

Beychevelle (16.5)                                                                           

 

Sweet, round, intense flavours, almost overripe, this is a big wine, lots of alcohol and nice ripe tannins, sensuous, not my style of wine, but good.

 

 

Branaine Ducru (16)                                                                       

 

Very attractive berry nose, ripe and intense, flowery. Very Cabernet with firm backbone and good finish. Probably very good value.

 

 

Gruaud Larose (17.5)                                                                                 

 

Big, complex nose with lovely fruit. A tight-knit, well-balanced wine that has good class. I like this very much.

 

Leoville Barton (17.5)                                                                                 

 

Bright, ripe, lovely fruit on the nose, complex, flowery, elegant, intense wine with lots of charm, and refined, classy tannins and balance. Very good wine.

 

Leoville Lascases (19)                                                                     

 

For me, one of the best wines of the vintage, and one of the greatest Lascases’s. Intense, very rich, ripe, but still bright clean top Claret character, lots of violets, elegant fruit with perfect balance of fruit, tannin and acidity, seamless great Cabernet dominated character. Great class, great wine.

 

Clos du Marquis (16.5)                                                                   

 

Good robe, lots of character, nice, ripe fruit and fine tannins, quite forward, and wonderfully classy for a second wine, this knocks the socks off some much greater names.

 

 

 

Leoville Poyferré (17.5)                                                      

 

Good structure, deep, intense, but not overripe, tight-knit wine with masses of character and opulent sweetness. Very good indeed.

 

Talbot (16.5)                                                                                    

 

Attractive, black fruit with lots of mid-palate fruit and character, quite masculine and round – a most attractive Talbot.

By Aline Conus

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