Médoc and Graves, 2004

2004 was a classic Bordeaux vintage. A return to the more traditional style of elegance and finesse. There was consistency across all appellations with wines redolent of their individual terroirs.

Growing conditions were not ideal however. Spring budding was late, and then the number of buds flourished in May giving early signs of what was a large crop. Temperatures were above average, but sunshine hours below average, and August was wet.

Those producers that excelled (primarily first growths and super seconds in the Médoc, and the elite of Pomerol and Saint-Émilion) did so by maximising their grapes’ exposure to sunlight by thinning leaf coverage on their vines, crop thinning, picking late, and limiting their produce: producing classically ageworthy wines (due to high tannin content), rather than super-concentrated. Below this top tier, there are both under-performers and over-performers. Many producers, who could not afford to limit their production, produced less interesting wines - but amongst the over-performers there are some real bargains, especially as the vintage was originally underestimated by critics.

It was a very good year for dry whites, which have a nice balance of fruit concentration and acidity, but a poor year in Sauternes. 

The Wines

A good year for the Médoc, particularly for those châteaux who picked their Cabernet in October and restricted their produce for their grand vins. Not the best year to be sourcing good value Cru Bourgeois or petite châteaux who were financially unable to restrict their crops to make exciting wines. That being said, there are also some bargains to be found at this level. A vintage for laying down, due to high tannin levels in Cabernet Sauvignon.

There were some very good reds and whites from Margaux and Pessac-Léognan who picked their Sauvignon and Merlot early, and some good values are to be found here.

Médoc and Graves, 2004

2004 was a classic Bordeaux vintage. A return to the more traditional style of elegance and finesse. There was consistency across all appellations with wines redolent of their individual terroirs.

Growing conditions were not ideal however. Spring budding was late, and then the number of buds flourished in May giving early signs of what was a large crop. Temperatures were above average, but sunshine hours below average, and August was wet.

Those producers that excelled (primarily first growths and super seconds in the Médoc, and the elite of Pomerol and Saint-Émilion) did so by maximising their grapes’ exposure to sunlight by thinning leaf coverage on their vines, crop thinning, picking late, and limiting their produce: producing classically ageworthy wines (due to high tannin content), rather than super-concentrated. Below this top tier, there are both under-performers and over-performers. Many producers, who could not afford to limit their production, produced less interesting wines - but amongst the over-performers there are some real bargains, especially as the vintage was originally underestimated by critics.

It was a very good year for dry whites, which have a nice balance of fruit concentration and acidity, but a poor year in Sauternes. 

The Wines

A good year for the Médoc, particularly for those châteaux who picked their Cabernet in October and restricted their produce for their grand vins. Not the best year to be sourcing good value Cru Bourgeois or petite châteaux who were financially unable to restrict their crops to make exciting wines. That being said, there are also some bargains to be found at this level. A vintage for laying down, due to high tannin levels in Cabernet Sauvignon.

There were some very good reds and whites from Margaux and Pessac-Léognan who picked their Sauvignon and Merlot early, and some good values are to be found here.

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  1. Château Ferrière, 2004 - Cadman Fine Wines

    Château Ferrière, 2004

    Margaux, Bordeaux, France

    Optimum Drinking: 2019-2022
    Reviewer Rating: 88 - CFW

    “Aromas of plum and blackberry. Medium-bodied, with silky tannins and a medium finish...caressing and refined.” Wine Spectator

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    £37.50
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  2. New Domaine de Chevalier, Rouge, 2004 - Cadman Fine Wines

    Domaine de Chevalier, Rouge, 2004

    Graves, Bordeaux, France

    Optimum Drinking: 2019-2022
    Reviewer Rating: 90 - Robert Parker

    "...classic southern Graves version of elegance...lead pencil shavings, sweet cherry and strawberry fruit, cedar, spice, and subtle smoke. Medium-bodied with outstanding purity, richness, and texture..." Robert Parker

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    • Case of 6
    • Case of 12
    £55.00
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  3. 103043 - La Croix de Beaucaillou 2000 TN

    Croix de Beaucaillou, 2000

    Saint-Julien, Bordeaux, France

    Optimum Drinking: 2019-2020
    Reviewer Rating: 89 - Robert Parker

    “Ducru's high quality La Croix de Beaucaillou generally contains more Merlot than the grand vin...Readers should seek this one out.” Robert Parker

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    £60.00
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  4. Château Smith Haut Lafitte, 2004

    Château Smith Haut Lafitte, 2004

    Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux, France

    Optimum Drinking: 2018-2022
    Reviewer Rating: 93 - Robert Parker

    “A sensational effort and one of the stars of the vintage...this is another brilliant wine from the proprietors, the Cathiards, who have done such a spectacular job at this estate...." Robert Parker

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    £80.00
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  5. Château Ducru-Beaucaillou, 2004

    Château Ducru-Beaucaillou, 2004

    Saint-Julien, Bordeaux, France

    Optimum Drinking: 2018-2034
    Reviewer Rating: - eRobertParker.com

    “One can’t say enough about the efforts Bruno Borie is pouring into this wonderful estate that I have often called the “Lafite Rothschild of St.-Julien.” An undeniable success...” Robert Parker

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    £130.00
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  6. New Chateau Pontet Canet 2004 (magnum)

    Château Pontet Canet, 2004 (Magnum)

    Pauillac, Bordeaux, France

    Optimum Drinking: 2019-2025
    Reviewer Rating: 93 - Wine Spectator

    “A brilliant effort...Pontet-Canet’s 2004 may ultimately prove to be a better wine than its more famous neighbor, Mouton Rothschild....” eRobertParker.com

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    £175.00
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  7. New Pavillon Rouge du Château Margaux, 2004

    Pavillon Rouge du Château Margaux, 2004

    Margaux, Bordeaux, France

    Optimum Drinking: 2019-2040
    Reviewer Rating: 92 - Decanter

    "...may turn out to be outstanding. Its deep ruby/purple hue is accompanied by fleshy notes of black currants, cherries, smoke, earth, and spring flowers. Lovely, ripe, and opulent..." Robert Parker

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    £180.00
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  8. Château Palmer, 2004

    Château Palmer, 2004

    Margaux, Bordeaux, France

    Optimum Drinking: 2020-2030
    Reviewer Rating: 94 - Robert Parker

    “This stunning wine is one of the vintage’s great successes. Long, classic, and medium to full-bodied with stunning texture and richness, this superb effort is a candidate for the finest Margaux of the vintage." Robert Parker

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    £190.00
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  9. Château Latour, 2004

    Château Latour, 2004

    Pauillac, Bordeaux, France

    Optimum Drinking: 2020-2045
    Reviewer Rating: 95 - eRobertParker.com

    "...one of the finest Left Bank wines of the vintage. It has that quintessential graphite-scented bouquet intermixed with blackberry and cedar...” eRobertParker.com

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    £450.00
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  10. Château Lafite Rothschild, 2004

    Château Lafite Rothschild, 2004

    Pauillac, Bordeaux, France

    Optimum Drinking: 2020-2050
    Reviewer Rating: 95 - eRobertParker.com

    "...a regal sense to this Lafite, understated compared to the other First Growths and yet the persistence on the finish deserves a round of applause...could possibly turn out to be the pick of the Firsts." eRobertParker.com

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    £660.00
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