2000 Claret 1: St Estephe, Pauillac, St Julien
2000 Left Bank Northern Médocs
Growing Season After a satisfactory flowering, there was a tricky start to the growing year, with an atypically cool and rainy July. But from the last week of July, through August, September, and the first ten days of October it was a long, hot, dry and practically flawless end to the season. The harvest, from mid September to the 10th October, was almost rain free for the first time since 1990. All the red grapes ripened successfully, and at harvest they were uniformly healthy, small, thick-skinned, high in sugar, tannin and acidity.
The wines are the most consistently good and homogeneous across the region since those of 1990. The best have an overall balance of fruit to tannin, and a fineness of tannin texture which has made for classy, classic reds; firm, dry, elegant wines now in their early maturity. Within their overall firm poise, wines at all levels have a delightful fruit emphasis at their heart, and look like making most satisfyingly complete and harmonious clarets. It was drinking some of the 'lesser' wines over the last twelve months (Sénéjac, Charmail, Chasse Spleen, Sociando Mallet) and deriving such pleasure from them, that was the impetus for this pair of tastings. At a decade and a half, they are clearly starting to provide delicious mature Bordeaux satisfaction.
Quality Range: A small handful of Cru Bourgeois precedes a Fourth and Third Growth St Julien, followed by a large clutch of Second Growths and 'super' Seconds from St Julien, Pauillac and St Estèphe, including some of the finest Left Bank wines of the year outside the Firsts, with prices ranging from £25 to £200 retail.
Ch. Cissac; Cru Bourgeois, Haut-Médoc
Ch. Charmail; Cru Bourgeois, Haut-Médoc
Ch. Chasse-Spleen; Cru Bourgeois Exc., Moulis
Ch. Branaire-Ducru; 4th Growth, St Julien
Ch. Lagrange; 3rd Growth, St Julien
Ch. Gruaud-Larose; 2nd Growth, St Julien
Ch. Léoville-Barton; 2nd Growth, St Julien
Ch. Ducru-Beaucaillou; 2nd Growth, St Julien
Ch. Grand Puy Lacoste; 5th Growth, Pauillac
Ch. Lynch-Bages; 5th Growth, Pauillac
Ch. Montrose; 2nd Growth, St Estèphe
Ch. Pichon-Baron; 2nd Growth, Pauillac
12 wines, with cheese ..... £145.00