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.



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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 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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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.

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Cantenac Brown (14.5-15)                                                              


Intense, ripe Cabernet nose with good mid-palate flavour and good grip.


Chateau Margaux (19.5-20)                                               


This is wonderful, sweet fruit, great depth of flavour, ripe, soft tannins and great weight for Margaux. I love this wine; it is very long and still very typically elegant despite its intense fruit. A bit like ’83. Brilliant.


Pavillon Rouge de Margaux (17.5)                                                 


I liked this as well, ripe concentration of flavour, fine tannins, elegant, refined classic fine claret in a ripe year. Bravo.


Giscours (15.5)                                                                                


Attractive, intense ripeness here, really attractive, quite weighty and long.


Palmer (Not tasted)                                                                         


But most commentators I respect say this was fine wine with elegance.



Rauzan Ségla (15)                                                                           


Attractive, deep fruit, open nose, perhaps lacking a bit in the middle, but elegant.


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Chasse Spleen (16)                                                                                      


I liked this, big round, tight-knit tannic wine; it has bags of fruit and structure.


Sociando Mallet (17)                                                                       


Opaque – lovely ripe nose with lots of mid-palate intensity, a big wine with good length; a crowd pleaser – very good.


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By Aline Conus

Overall, I found this region disappointing, for both Whites and Reds. Most red wines had a dearth of mid-palate intensity and dry, unripe tannins.


Bahans Haut Brion (16)                                                                  


Bright, floral, sweet fruit, chewy and very open now, this is quite long and attractive.


Carbonnieux Blanc (15½)                                                               


Bright, floral nose, good class mineral and citrus flavours, reasonable length.


Carbonnieux Rouge (15)                                                                 


Good depth of flavour and mineral and ripe fruit character, tannins a bit dry.


Carmes Haut Brion (15)                                                                 


Attractive concentrated black fruit, good, firm structure.


Domaine de Chevalier Blanc (15)                                                   


Bright citrus flavours with good weight and bright long fruit.



Domaine de Chevalier Rouge (16)                                                  


Lovely balance, elegant mineral and spicy fruit flavours, a long of charm.


Haut Bailly (15.5)                                                                            


Elegant restrained minerality with plenty of fruit behind the tougher exterior. Classic Graves.


Haut Brion Blanc (17)                                                                     


Full, rich character with lots of concentration and powerful in the middle – a great result, complex citric and flower aromas, and mineral on the finish.


Haut Brion Rouge (18)                                                        


A big mouthful of succulent fruit and good bright acidity, great structure, lovely black cherry, mocha, spicy character, nice intensity, with very firm tannins, quite masculine; very good indeed, but for me not at 2000 level.


La Mission Haut Brion (17)                                                


Sweet fruit, good structure and lots of charm, complex flavours of violets and cherries – mineral spicy notes, but not a blockbuster. Good wine with more immediate appeal than its neighbour.


La Tour Haut Brion (16.5)                                                             


Open and appealing fruit, with good structure and firm tannins with a long, spicy finish; very good.


Pape Clement Rouge (15.5)                                                            


Big ripe flavours, sweet and good structure, typical of the vintage, but better mid-palate flavours.

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