2004 Bordeaux wines are mixed. There are some very fine 2004 Bordeaux wines. But it takes work to find the wines at the top. Fortunately, as far as Bordeaux vintages go, the majority of 2004 Bordeaux wines remain fairly priced. This report focuses on the top 2004 Bordeaux wines from the Right Bank. In a day or so, we’ll publish a light of the top 2004 Bordeaux wines from the Medoc and Pessac Leognan.
2004 Bordeaux wines are the product of a damp spring. When you look at the summer months, June was average, which was better than the cool month of July, which was better still than the cold, rainy August. Once again, Bacchus smiled on Bordeaux when another Bordeaux vintage was saved by a fine September with warm days and cool nights. October started off fine, but Bordeaux experienced more cold and rain by the middle of the month. That scenario sounds a bit like 2014 interestingly. With greater selection, better wine making and vineyard management, 2014 should be even better. But we’ll wait for April to taste the wines before making a decision. Back to the vintage at hand. 2004 Bordeaux wines are marked by very high yields. In fact, the 2004 Bordeaux vintage set a record for being the largest crop in the history of Bordeaux!
The following wines were tasted over the past several months. The majority of wines were tasted in Bordeaux at the properties. That is important to note as the provenance is assured. Other wines came from my cellar and those of my friends. A few bottles were available at random tastings. I know I should have written up these notes earlier as many were tasted in April. Sorry about that. But there was no urgent need to post these tasting notes and every now and then, frankly, I become exhausted from writing tasting notes and need to take a break. None of the wines were tasted blind.
Every Bordeaux vintage is not going to be like 2009 or 2010, and they are not supposed to be. Each vintage delivers a unique signature. That is part of the fun and experience of wine tasting. The variances in vintages work because there are vintages that require decades for the top wines to come around. That is not the case with 2004. As you can see from my tasting notes, at least in my view, the vast majority of 2004 Pomerol and 2004 St. Emilion wines are ready for prime time drinking. This does not mean the wines at the top are over the hill. But it does mean that you should have finished your petit chateaux and wines from the satellite appellations and the Cotes Bordeaux. As for the best wines, almost every wine can be enjoyed today, without further aging.
There are as you can see, a few very strong 2004 Bordeaux wines in this vintage from Pomerol and St. Emilion I highly recommend as their level of quality, character and style are worth your time. Plus, because the overall reputation of the vintage is mixed, the wines at the top sell for a lot less money than they would if a wine of that same level of quality came from a more exalted year.
As always, if you’ve tasted any of these wines, or have questions or comments, please feel free to post your views.
2004 d’Aiguilhe – Smoky, with mushroom, floral and dark berry aromatics. The wine is medium bodied, round and ends with a fennel and black cherry finish. This is fully mature and requires drinking. 88 Pts
2004 Angelus – One of the wines of the vintage, the wine is soft, round and silky, with ample concentration. The nose displays truffle, blackberry, plum, licorice, chocolate and earth. The wine was made from a blend of 62% Merlot and 38% Cabernet Franc. 95 Pts
2004 Ausone – A candidate for the longest lived wine of the vintage, the powerful, rich, deep wine is youthful, complex and full bodied. Air and coaxing were needed to find the floral, licorice, stone, black fruit, earth, smoke and spicy character. This needs at least another decade before it’s ready to drink. 95 Pts
2004 Barde Haut – Licorice, earth and black cherries, soft in texture and fully mature, this is drinking in the sweet spot today. 90 Pts
2004 Beau-Sejour Becot – Medium bodied, soft, elegant and fresh, the plummy, cherry, licorice and earthy, mineral driven wine delivers a lot of pleasure today. The wine was made from a blend of 70% Merlot, 24% Cabernet Franc and 6% Cabernet Sauvignon. 91 Pts
2004 Beausejour Duffau – The stone, cherry, licorice and smoky tobacco nose is the best part of the wine. The soft, but drying fruit on the palate lets you know this wine needs to be consumed. 86 Pts
2004 Bellevue Mondotte – This could be the most intense and concentrated wine of the vintage. Youthful, fleshy, intense, lush and opulent, the wine delivers layers of licorice, espresso, black cherry, truffle and stone in every decadent sniff and sip. 94 Pts
2004 Bon Pasteur – Ready to drink, this soft, elegant, round, medium bodied, finesse styled Pomerol serves up a beautiful display of dark chocolate, plums and truffle. 90 Pts
2004 Canon – Crisp red and black plums, tobacco, earth and stone aromas create the perfume. Medium bodied, very fresh, bright and perhaps a bit too lively on the palate, with its focus on strawberries, red plum and tart cherry notes. 89 Pts
2004 Canon La Gaffeliere – Floral, cigar, fresh cherry blossom and tobacco on the nose get your focus. With a nice polish to the tannins with fresh plum and cocoa, this is drinking in the sweet spot. 92 Pts
2004 Certan de May – Medium bodied, earthy and filled with plums, mocha and earth, this soft, round wine is ready for prime time drinking. 90 pts
2004 Cheval Blanc – With signs of maturity in the color, the smoky bouquet of cherry pipe tobacco, fresh herbs, kirsch, truffle and cigar box, the medium bodied wine is ready for prime time drinking. Soft, refined and silky, the finesse textures and sweet cherries feels great on your palate. Like many 2004 Bordeaux wines, this is ready to drink. I just wish it had a more concentration. 92 Pts
2004 Clinet – The first vintage for Ronan Laborde where he was completely in charge at Clinet. The color is showing maturity with its light bricking. Secondary notes of truffle, smoke, spearmint, licorice and blackberry. Medium bodied, silky, mature and ready to drink, the wine is an elegant, sensuous expression of Pomerol. 91 Pts
2004 Clos de Sarpe – Tannic, firm and mineral driven, this needs more time for the fruit to shine through and for the wine to come together. 89 Pts
2004 Clos de l’Oratoire – Truffle, wet earth, plum and licorice are joined by a soft, silky, licorice and black cherry finish. 90 Pts
2004 Clos Dubreuil – Mostly secondary notes in the nose with truffle, licorice, smoke and wet earth. The fruit is fading. Fully mature and requiring consumption, drink his sooner than later for the last of its soft, spicy red berries. 88 Pts
2004 Clos L’Eglise – Mostly secondary notes in the nose with truffle, licorice, smoke and wet earth. The fruit is fading. Fully mature and requiring consumption, drink his sooner than later for the last of its soft, spicy red berries. 91 Pts
2004 Clos Fourtet – Truffle, cigar box, tobacco, licorice, plum and coffee bean create the complex aromatics. Soft, silky black cherries, licorice, spice and minerality in the finish. The wine was made from a blend of 85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc. 91 Pts
2004 Clos St. Martin – Soft, silky, elegant and lush, the sweet plums, smoke, licorice and black cherries shine though in this medium bodied, velvet textured, ready to drink wine. 91 Pts
2004 La Conseillante – Lightness is showing through in the garnet color. The truffle, licorice, plum liqueur, cherry blossom and spice box aromas are the best part of the wine. Medium bodied, without the body or depth found in vintages like 2005, but with an elegant, fresh, ready to drink, spicy, red berry personality. This is not a vintage for long term aging. 2004 marks the debut vintage produced by Jean Michel Laporte. 91 Pts
2004 La Croix St. Georges – This ripe, plummy, round, ready to drink Pomerol displays licorice, espresso bean, black cherries, smoke and licorice. There is a bit too much oak in the finish. 88 Pts
2004 La Confession – Lush, round and packed with sweet, black cherries, truffles, licorice and floral notes, this is ready to drink. 90 Pts
2004 La Gaffeliere – Medium bodied, elegant, open and showing secondary notes of earth, truffle, tobacco, stone, herbs and cherries, this is ready for prime time drinking. 90 Pts
2004 Fleur Cardinale – Either there is bottle variation, or I was extremely unlucky as it took 3 bottles to find one that showed the opulent, chocolate covered cherry, licorice and lush profile that we usually expect from Fleur Cardinale. 89 Pts
2004 L’Eglise Clinet – If you like truffles, you came to the right place. Add smoke, licorice, dark red berries, silky tannins, sensuous textures and a rich plummy palate and you get the picture. the wine is in a good place now and it’s only going to get better with a few more years of bottle age. This wine transcends the quality of the vintage. In fact, this is the only 2004 I did not already own that was so good, and fairly priced, I bought a case when I returned home! 95 Pts
2004 Fombrauge – Fully mature, medium bodied, with a truffle, licorice, herb and black cherry personality, this requires drinking sooner than later. 87 Pts
2004 Gazin – Medium bodied, with a rustic, bright cherry and earthy personality, there is a sensation of dryness in the finish. 88 Pts
2004 La Gomerie – At full maturity, this medium bodied, flamboyant, lushly textured wine is filled with licorice, black raspberries, plum, chocolate and wet earth characteristics. 90 Pts
2004 Grandes Murailles – Fully mature. this soft, plummy, silky, medium bodied, earthy, sweet, ripe, smoky, ripe wine is packed with licorice and fresh cherries. 90 Pts
2004 Grand Mayne – Medium bodied and fully mature, this elegant styled wine blends sweet, red fruits with forest and spearmint aromas to create a soft textured wine that is not meant for long term aging. 88 Pts
2004 Hosanna – Roses, chocolate, truffle and black cherry aromas let you know you are in Pomerol. Soft, sweet and silky, this is starting to open and deliver the goods. 92 Pts
2004 Larcis Ducasse – Spicy red and black berries, stone and licorice add to the mineral driven, easy to drink character. There is no reason not to be popping corks on this wine, as it’s drinking great today. 89 Pts
2004 L’Evangile – Medium bodied and dominated by its red fruit and earthy profile, this blend of 89% Merlot and 11% Cabernet Franc finishes with a fresh, red plum and earthy finish that lacks the sought after, lush opulent qualities the wine usually delivers. 91 Pts
2004 La Fleur Petrus – This finesse styled, elegant, soft textured charmer offers plenty of sweet, ripe, dark plums, wet earth and cocoa. 91 Pts
2004 Lafleur – There is a sense of sweetness in the fruit and silky quality in the texture that leaves you wanting more of the fresh, ripe, juicy, plums, truffle, kirsch, wet earth, dark chocolate and floral character. This has really improved since it was last tasted. From a blend of 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Franc, this is probably the wine of the vintage! 95 Pts
2004 La Mondotte – Showing more age in the color than in the wine, with black and white truffle, Cuban cigar, stone, licorice, sweet plum and dark cherry aromas. This is followed by a concentrated layer of fresh, ripe plum and tobacco that is pure silk, stone and velvet in the finish. Drink now, or age it for more complexity. 94 Pts
2004 Nenin – Truffle, dark plum, fennel and cherry notes in the nose open to a masculine, structured style of Pomerol that is ready to drink. 88 Pts
2004 Pavie – Rich, ripe, concentrated and showing a good intensity of flavor, this still youthful wine has velvety tannins and a polished, lushly textured finish. 94 Pts
2004 Pavie Decesse – Youthful, fleshy, ripe, lush and round, there is ample, sweet, dark berries, licorice, truffle and smoke, coupled with black cherry liqueur in the finish to please most palates. 92 Pts
2004 Pavie Macquin – Flowers, licorice, espresso, spicy blackberry and plum notes start the wine, which is further improved with its mineral, fennel and black cherry palate. This could still soften and develop with a few more years. 91 Pts
2004 Petit Village – Secondary aromas are in full force with their woodsy, earthy character. Light in fruit, the wine needs to be drunk sooner than later. 87 Pts
2004 Pierre de Lune – Light in color and fruit, with simple red fruits, spice and earth, this needs to be drunk up sooner than later. 85 Pts
2004 Puygueraud – Tea in color, this light, spicy, red plum wine is fading and requires consumption. 82 Pts
2004 Tertre Roteboeuf – Earthy, smoky, plum liqueur, tobacco and truffle aromas are perfectly paired with the silky, polished, sexy, exotic textured fruit and spice that coats your palate with sweet, fresh cherries. This is drinking in the sweet spot today. 94 Pts
2004 Troplong Mondot – Medium bodied and ready to drink, this is better on the nose, with its plum and truffle scents, than on the palate, which is slightly drying in the finish. 89 Pts
2004 Trotanoy – Not as silky, lush and polished as I would like, still, the cocoa, floral, truffle and plum nose is a treat. The wine finishes with fresh cherries, plum and dark chocolate. There is no hurry to drink this and with luck, it could improve. 91 Pts
2004 Valandraud – Licorice, chocolate, black raspberries, plum and truffle on the nose. The wine is soft, lush and polished on the palate, finishing with a blast of dark chocolate covered cherries. 92 Pts.
2004 Vieux Chateau Certan – Truffle, dark chocolate shavings, violets, Asian spice and plum, soft, supple textures, sweet cherries, silky, red and black plums in the finish. From a blend of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc, the same as the blend used in 2013, this has turned the corner and is drinking in the sweet spot today. There is room to improve from this point forward, but it’s really showing great today. Alexandre Thienpont took even more care than usual to make the best wine possible, due to the problems encountered with 2003, the previous vintage. In fact, it took three passes more than usual to complete the harvest. 94 Pts
I will complete the tasting notes for the best 2004 Bordeaux wines from the Medoc and Pessac Leognan in a day or so.