2004 Left Bank Bordeaux Top Wines from the Medoc Tasting Notes Ratings


Bordeaux glasses

This report focuses on the top 2004 Bordeaux wines from The Left Bank, with an in-depth look at Pauillac, St. Julien, St. Estephe, Margaux and Pessac Leognan, as well as the Haut Medoc.

2004 Bordeaux wines are as I mentioned in my article on the best wines from 2004 Pomerol and 2004 St. Emilion published a few weeks ago, a mixed bag. 2004 Right Bank Tasting Report However, if you’re willing to experiment, try different 2004 Bordeaux and be open to the experience, there are some nice wines to be discovered. Article after article on Bordeaux discusses the high prices many of the top wines fetch these days. If you’re buying the top names from the best vintages, that is probably going to be your experience.

But for consumers seeking simply good wines, with character and some age for the dinner table, perhaps years like 2004 will hit the spot. The wines are not deep, and they lack the concentration, complexity and age-ability enjoyed in the famous vintages, but 2004 Bordeaux also lack the high price tags associated with those exalted vintages as the overall reputation of the vintage is mixed. This is good for savvy consumers because the best 2004 Bordeaux wines would sell for a lot more money if they were produced in a more collectible vintage.

As you can see from my tasting notes, most 2004 Bordeaux wines are ready for prime time drinking. This is not to say that the wines at the top are all fully mature, or even close to being past their prime. What I am saying is, at 11 years of age, with 2004 Bordeaux, you should have finished your petit chateaux and wines from the satellite appellations and with few exceptions can feel comfortable about opening your wines. As for the best wines, almost every wine can be enjoyed today, without further aging. This is not to say that some 2004 Bordeaux wines cannot improve. They can. But 2004 Bordeaux is not a vintage that is going to make old bones. While there are winners and losers in each appellation perhaps the most consistent appellation is Margaux, as fine wines can be found at many estates.

To give you an idea on the growing season and harvest for the 2004 Bordeaux vintage, the 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 2004 Bordeaux wines were tasted over the past several months. Most of the wines in this report were tasted in Bordeaux at various chateaux, lunches and dinners. Other wines came from my personal cellar and some bottles were generously opened by my friends. those of my friends.. None of the wines were tasted blind. As always, if you’ve tasted any of these wines, or have questions or comments on the wines in this article, please feel free to post and share.

2004 d’Angludet – Light in color, with very little of its red fruit remaining, the wine is better on its earthy, forest and cherry tobacco nose, than on the light, bright, tart, red berry palate. 84 Pts

2004 d’Armailhac – Cedar wood, peppery berries and cassis in character, another year or two could add some softness to the sandy tannins in the blackberry and cranberry end notes. 88 Pts

2004 Batailley – Medium bodied, with fresh cassis, tobacco and cedar wood aromas, the tannins are fine, with no harshness, but there is an herbal, olive note in the finish some tasters will like more than others. 89 Pts

2004 Beychevelle – Leafy, pine, cedar chest, forest, lead pencil and black cherry aromas create the perfume. Blackberry and cassis on the palate, with firm tannins and a strict, spicy, cassis and herbal finish. 89 Pts

2004 Boyd Cantenac – This is a wine a seldom see. Perhaps that’s a mistake based on the elegant, tobacco, cherry, earth and floral charms found in this wine. Instead of concentration, there is a finesse and softness to the wine that makes it a pleasure to drink. 90 Pts

2004 Branaire Ducru – Fresh, elegant, polished and focused on the sweet, ripe, red fruit side of the style range. There is enough ripe berries, earth, mocha and cherries to keep you interested as the wine remains in your glass. 90 Pts

2004 Brane Cantenac – The color of rose hip tea, more interesting on the nose than the palate, with its truffle, tobacco and cassis aromatic profile. Lightly styled, with bright cassis and cranberry in the finish, this is a wine to drink sooner than later. 88 Pts

2004 Branon – Espresso bean, smoke, earth, licorice and ripe blackberry scents open to a forward, round, lush, modern style of wine that was made from a blend of 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon. 90 Pts

2004 Calon Segur – Herbal, leaf and cassis and earth aromas, medium bodied, dark red fruits and a dash of bell pepper with some dryness in the finish of this classic styled wine. 89 Pts

2004 Camensac – Herbal, leaf and cassis and earth aromas, medium bodied, dark red fruits and a dash of bell pepper with some dryness in the finish of this classic styled wine. . 86 Pts

2004 Cantemerle – Light, bright and finishing with green olive, crisp red fruits and cranberry. This needs to be consumed sooner than later. 84 Pts

2004 Cantenac Brown – Fully mature, this medium bodied wine serves up more secondary notes of tobacco and wet forest floor than red fruit. 87 Pts

2004 Carbonnieux – Medium bodied, finesse styled, mature, soft textured, strawberry and cherry driven wine. 87 Pts

2004 Les Carmes Haut Brion – Elegant, finesse styled wine, with a complex, smoky, floral, earth, tobacco and cherry nose, soft, refined textures and freshness in the finish. 90 Pts

2004 Caronne Ste. Gemme – Tough, tart and rustic, there was a greenness to the crisp, red fruits and cranberry finish. 80 Pts

2004 Chasse Spleen – Masculine, firm and tannic, this old school, classic wine serves up tobacco, cedar, leaf, cassis and cranberry characteristics. 85 Pts

2004 Domaine de Chevalier – This is all about elegance and finesse. The tannins are soft and refined. The fruit is ripe, but delicate. The nose is complex with its smoky, tobacco, earthy red berry qualities. This is drinking great today. The wine was made from a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 1.5% Petit Verdot and 1.5% Cabernet Franc. 91 Pts

2004 Clerc Milon – Earth, cigar box, blackberry and green pepper on the nose. There is a hint of dryness on the palate in the singed, cassis finish. This is ready to drink. 88 Pts

2004 Clos Marsalette – Medium bodied, fully mature, with a nice nose of smoke, tobacco and red fruits. Past its prime, this should be drunk up sooner than later to get the most of the remaining, sweet cherries in the finish. 86 Pts

2004 Cos d’Estournel – Showing maturity of color, the Asian spice, tobacco, wet earth, forest and cassis scented profile pairs well with the soft, polished, spicy berries in this classically styled vintage. Drink now, or age it for more softness and complexity. The wine has clearly improved in the bottle. 92 Pts

2004 d’Issan – Earthy, truffle, cigar box, cedar chest and cassis aromas pop as soon as the wine hits the glass. On the palate, the wine delivers a nice, polish and mature softness to its character, with a spicy, round, black cherry finish. This has evolved quite nicely. 91 Pts

2004 Ducru Beaucaillou – Developed in its perfume, with tobacco, truffle, wet forest floor, cassis and cedar chest notes, the tannins are soft, with only a hint of dryness in the charming finish. Drink now, or age it for another 2-5 years. 92 Pts

2004 Durfort Vivens – Bright, crisp, red fruits, light in color and concentration, this fully mature wine is better on the nose than the palate. 86 Pts

2004 Gloria – Medium bodied with a bit too much oak, the black raspberry and crisp, red plum and leafy profile are serving up all it has to offer. I’d opt for drinking this sooner than later. 87 Pts

2004 Les Grands Chenes – This blend of 50% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc is showing its tobacco, oak, licorice, cocoa and cherry personality. Ready for drinking, I’d consume this over the next few years. 87 Pts

2004 Giscours – Fresh earth, cassis, wild berries and tobacco scents open to a soft, polished, ready to drink, elegant, classic Bordeaux wine. 90 Pts

2004 Grand Puy Ducasse – Surprisingly fine in this mixed vintage, with polished textures, lots of cassis, tobacco, cedar chest and charm. 90 Pts

2004 Grand Puy Lacoste – Medium bodied, finesse styled Pauillac with slightly dusty tannins, cassis, blackberry, tobacco and forest floor notes that is definitely ready to drink. Tasted from a magnum, as there are no more bottles of 2004 Grand Puy Lacoste remaining at the chateau, this comes with a fun story. Remind me to tell you about it, the next time we meet. 90 Pts

2004 Gruaud Larose – Better on the nose, with its secondary notes of forest floor, tobacco, cranberry and cassis than on the medium bodied, bright, crunchy red berry dominated palate. The tannins leave you with some dryness in the end notes. 88 Pts

2004 Haut Bages Liberal – Quite a surprise. This well-priced charmer serves up ripe cassis and black cherries with a medium bodied, refined, elegant, Pauillac character. 90 Pts

2004 Haut Bailly – Medium bodied, finesse styled charmer that is ready to show off its smoky, truffle, black cherry, tobacco and silky personality. This is showing quite nicely today. 92 Pts

2004 Haut Batailley – Smokey, spicy berries, leaf, cassis and tobacco scents make up the mature aromatics. Medium bodied, soft and ready to drink, the wine finishes with sweet, spicy olives and cherries. 89 Pts.

2004 Haut Bergey – The smoke, tobacco, earth and blackberry characteristics are fully mature and should be consumed over the next 5 years or so. 88 Pts

2004 Haut Brion – Finesse styled vintage of Haut Brion, which offers a perfume of smoke, cigar box, cherries, forest floor and green, leafy aromas. Soft and elegant, the finish, with its ripe, black and red fruits, spice box and plum sensations is refined in character. This drinks well today and should be even better with a few more years in the bottle. This is the first vintage where Jean-Philippe Delmas was fully in charge from start to finish at Haut Brion. 94 Pts

2004 Kirwan – Mature, with a secondary nose of tobacco, earth, smoke, lead pencil and blackberries, the wine is soft, easy to drink and finishes with spicy, earthy, black cherries. From a blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 10% Petit Verdot. There is no reason to hold this any longer. 90 Pts

2004 Lafite Rothschild – Medium bodied, with a nose of cedar, earth, tobacco, fresh, spicy, red and black fruits and cigar box aromas. Soft, elegant and refined, but lacking a depth of flavor and concentration expected from a First Growth in the fresh, mineral driven finish. 93 Pts

2004 Lafon Rochet – Medium bodied with sweet and tart red fruits, soft textures and some green notes in the crisp finish. 87 Pts

2004 La Lagune – Easy to drink, elegant and flowery in character, this soft, fresh, red cherry and tobacco filled wine is ready to drink. 89 Pts

2004 La Louviere – Better on the nose, with its smoky, red fruits, earth and spicy aromas, than on the soft, medium bodied, almost light, red berry finish. 88 Pts

2004 Langoa Barton – Leafy, minty, cassis and spicy aromas lead to a crisp, crunchy, cassis finish. 88 Pts

2004 Lagrange – Slightly rustic tannins, classic in style, with a firm character, red berries and cranberry in the finish. 88 Pts

2004 Lascombes – Lush, round and fleshy, the wine still retains an oaky character that depending on your point of view, adds, or detracts from the smoky, ripe, sweet, blackberries, tobacco, earth and round textures. The wine was made from a blend of 50% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot. 90 Pts

2004 Latour – Surprisingly woodsy, with truffle, cassis, earth, tobacco, cedar chest and blackberry in the developed nose. There is a nice softness to the tannins and fruit. Not yet fully mature, but quite developed for a vintage of Latour at 10 years of age, the wine offers pleasure, refined textures, balance and sweet berries in the finish. Drink now, or wait 5 years for more complexity. 94 Pts

2004 Le Boscq – Austere, firm, crunchy, cassis and cranberry notes with a spicy, earthy, tobacco and crisp red berry finish. 85 Pts

2004 Leoville Barton – With a tobacco, truffle, cedar wood, cigar box and blackberry personality, this is just starting to open. Firm, classic and traditionally styled, there is still some tannin to be resolved Give it another 5 years. 91 Pts

2004 Leoville Las Cases – Still showing nice depth of color, with wet earth, ocean, truffle, blackberry and campfire embers are found with only a little effort. The tannins have softened, leaving you with a classically styled, mouthful of black cherry liqueur and fennel that shifts from black fruit to red fruit and back to black again. Drink now, or age it 5-8 years for more softness and complexity. Due to the vintage, this is probably well priced in the marketplace today. 93 Pts

2004 Clos du Marquis – Cedar wood, earth, tobacco and some cassis are found in this developed perfume. On the palate, the wine serves up soft and cassis and black cherry notes. This is drinking in the sweet spot today. It might improve, but it’s not a wine to age for decades, I’d opt to start drinking it now. 89 Pts

2004 Leoville Poyferre – With a developed color, forest floor, strawberry jam, truffle and cigar box aromas, the wine really serves up a nice, plummy, sweet, soft and round sensation that is ready to start being opened and enjoyed. 92 Pts.

2004 Lynch Bages – Garnet in color, cigar box, tobacco, wet forest floor and stone aromas open to an accessible, soft, friendly, cassis filled wine that is ready to drink and offers a lot of pleasure and Pauillac character. 90 Pts

2004 Malartic Lagraviere – Light, bright and showing a distinctive olive tapenade note, with its fresh red berry character, this will best over the next few years. 88 Pts

2004 Malescot St. Exupery – Developed nose of truffle, tobacco, cigar box, licorice and blackberry get you going. On the palate, the wine is soft, polished, sweet and fresh, ending with fresh sweet, earthy black cherries. You can truly enjoy this wine today. 91 Pts

2004 Margaux – Truffle, tobacco, blackberry pie, spice, herb and forest floor aromas are starting to emerge. Soft with a polished texture to the medium/full bodied fruit, this is starting to open and drink well. Another 5-7 years will add even more depth and complexity to the wine. 92 Pts

2004 Margaux Pavillon Rouge – Medium bodied, fully mature, with soft, delicate textures, sweet black cherries, floral and cigar box notes, this is a not a wine to age for further development. 89 Pts

2004 Marojallia – Soft, silky, medium bodied and seductive, this mature wine serves up a smooth blend of earth, black raspberries, tobacco and earthy notes. 90 Pts

2004 Marquis de Terme – Bright red fruits, freshness, medium bodied and soft textured, the wine is more interesting on the nose than the palate. 87 Pts

2004 Meyney – Past its prime, with crisp red berries, cassis and tobacco notes in the nose, this light wine requires consumption. 84 Pts

2004 La Mission Haut Brion – The wine keeps getting better with age. Showing more weight and density, there is a freshness to the fruit and rounding of the texture that is starting to come through. Another 3-5 years could add more to the wine, which is turning out to be one of the longest lived wines of the vintage. This is the first vintage where Jean-Philippe Delmas was fully in charge from start to finish. 92 Pts

2004 Montrose – Medium bodied and starting to display secondary characteristics of tobacco, earth, cassis, spice, and forest floor, the wine is focused on its subdued tannins, dark cherries and earthy profile. 91 Pts

2004 Mouton Rothschild – Cedar chest, forest floor, cigar box, mocha, wet earth and fennel open the wine. On the palate, the wine delivers blackberry, spice and plum notes with freshness in the finish. Full bodied and less developed than many wines from the year, this youthful wine will improve with another 3-5 years in the bottle. This marks the debut vintage for Philippe Dhalluin at Mouton. 92 Pts

2004 Ormes de Pez – Ready to drink, earth, tobacco, cedar chest and dark cherry create the personality. Medium bodied, short and to the point, the finish is all about the spicy, peppery berries. 87 Pts

2004 Palmer – Floral, sweet cherries, truffle, cocoa, licorice and black raspberries open the complex aromatics. Pure silk and velvet in textures, this wine serves up a soft, sexy delicious, spicy dark red berries, plums and tapenade. Drink now, or age it for more complexity. This is one of the top wines of the vintage and marks the debut of Thomas Duroux at the estate. 94 Pts

2004 Palmer Alter Ego – Likable, easy to drink, soft, delicate and mature with soft red fruits, earth, tobacco and cedar, there is no reason to age this any longer. 89 Pts

2004 Palmer Historical – The debut vintage of this special cuvee’ shows a light touch of oak, charcoal, smoky tobacco, cigar box, medium bodied, soft, the tannins lack the softness found in Palmer, but they are not obtrusive. Mature, ready to drink, enjoy this now and over the next few years. 92 Pts

2004 Pape Clement – Rich and concentrated, the ripe dark berries, soft tannins and round textures make this easy to drink. 90 Pts

2004 de Pez – Fully mature, medium bodied, more red fruit than black, this earthy, tobacco, leafy scented wine requires drinking over the next few years. 86 Pts

2004 Phelan Segur – Leafy, forest aromas, with tobacco and dried fruit, the wine is medium bodied and a bit dry and dusty in the red berry finish. This is probably drinking at peak and requires consumption over the next 3-5 years. 88 Pts

2004 Pibran – Distinctive herbal and cherry pipe tobacco nose, the wine is mature, slightly tart and spicy in its fresh cassis and cranberry finish. 86 Pts

2004 Pichon Baron – From a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc, this is the last vintage where the estate used any Cabernet Franc in the assemblage. From a developed nose, with bell pepper, cedar wood, leaf, cigar box, vanilla, tobacco and spicy cassis flavors, the wine is medium bodied and on the fresh, crisp, spicy, strict, classic side of the style range. There is a hint of dryness in the cassis and cranberry finish. 90 Pts

2004 Pichon Lalande – Showing secondary characteristics of truffle, tobacco, cigar box, black cherry and floral notes, the wine is soft, silky and smooth, classic in style, with a minor hint of dryness in the finish. 91 Pts

2004 Potensac – Tobacco, earth, forest floor and hints of blackberry make up the perfume. The finish is all about the fresh cassis. Still tannic, time will help soften the dusty texture and add more complexity to this classic styled wine. 87 Pts

2004 Pontet Canet – Fresh herbs, cedar, cassis and oak in the nose, the wine is medium bodied, open and finishes with a cassis and olive note in the red berry finish. 90 Pts

2004 Rauzan-Gassies – Light in color, fruit, complexity and probably fully mature. 83 Pts

2004 Rauzan Segla – Medium/full bodied, with a nose that is starting to show secondary characteristics with its floral, fresh black raspberry, tobacco, cedar and forest scents. The tannins are still there, but they are not obtrusive. This will improve with a few more years in the bottle. 90 Pts

2004 Smith Haut Lafitte – From a magnum, which could explain the wines youthful qualities, there is a richness to the fruit for the vintage that stands out. The nose serves up smoke, licorice, black cherry, earthy, oak and wet forest scents. The texture is smooth and the dark, spicy fruits come through in the finish. This is ready for prime time drinking. 91 Pts

2004 Sociando Mallet – Crisp red, sweet and tart fruits, firm tannins and an austere personality with a cassis and cranberry finish that reminds me of what some tasters would call classic. 87 Pts

2004 Talbot – Mature, medium bodied, with a focus on bright red fruits, cranberry, herbs and earth in its personality. 88 Pts

2004 du Tertre – Cedar wood, leaf, forest floor, herb and cassis, medium bodied, the tannins are resolved, the ready to drink wine ends with light, clean strawberry notes. 88 Pts

2004 La Tour Carnet – Still oaky, with licorice, tobacco and black fruits. Round textured and easy to drink, this is probably not going to get much better with age. 88 Pts

2004 La Tour Haut-Brion – Better on the nose, with its smoky, cherry pipe tobacco and forest floor scents, than on the black cherry and leafy palate. 89 Pts

2004 Tronquoy-Lalande – Black raspberry and oaky aromas, medium bodied, some dryness in the finish and green flavors are found in this fully mature wine. Drink up. 85 Pts


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