The first Bordeaux vintage of the new millennium has collectors raving! An outstanding vintage, that saw prices skyrocket. Prices for these high quality 2000 Bordeaux doubled and in some instances tripled when compared to 1999! Experts described them as well endowed classic clarets with excellent extract and a solid structure for long aging. Some have reached their peak and should last another decade or more. Fifteen years later, at Les Conseillers du Vin, we decided to revisit this highly regarded Bordeaux vintage with a selection of reputed châteaux that should confirm the high quality level and evolution of this outstanding vintage.
As usual a group of 16 experienced tasters analysed 7 Bordeaux Crus Classés plus a mystery wine in the usual blind tasting format. At this point we must keep in mind a few important factors: 1-the 2000 growing season offered almost perfect growing conditions. 2-2000 is the best vintage since 1990. 3- The wines offer great aging potential. 4- The first vintage of the new millennium produced outstanding wines that will see prices continue to increase.
Results: Is it time to open all our 2000 Bordeaux or should we leave some for future drinking? One thing is for sure: the top wines will continue to evolve another 20 + years!
To establish the order of preference of the tasting panel, 3 points were awarded to a first place vote, 2 pts for a 2nd place vote and 1pt for a 3rd place vote.
Half of the participants (8) chose wine # 8 Clos de l’Oratoire as their favourite wine of the tasting. It also received 2 second and third place votes for a total score of 30 points, eleven (11) more than the second place wine Ch. Quinault l’Enclos (19pts). Finishing tied for 3rd place were two wines from the commune of Margaux: Ch. D’Issan and Ch. Brane Cantenac. When it comes to evolution, most of the wines are quite enjoyable but the most reputed chateaux still have plenty of aging potential. In our tasting five (5) wines showed they could continue to age favourably : Clos de l’Oratoire, Pontet Canet, Quinault l’Enclos, d’Issan and Sociando Mallet. The mystery wine, Te Mata’s Coleraine from New-Zealand was identified by 6 participants. It only received 8 points from the panel, finishing tied for 5th place with Sociando Mallet.
Surprisingly the Château Pontet Canet received only 7 pts and finished 6th. It was my second favourite wine with a score of 94/100. This could be explained by Pontet Canet’s solid structure, great depth and still quite firm tannins. Some tasters might have felt it was a bit aggressive and austere. Needs to be re-tasted in 10 to 15 years!
My top three wines were: 1-Clos de l’Oratoire, 2-Ch. Pontet Canet 3-Coleraine from Te Mata. See my tasting notes below.
The wines : Order of blind tasting:
1-Château d’Issan Margaux (Group score: 10 pts)
Still deep colour. Well evolved typical nose displaying graphite and vegetal scents with a hint of black licorice. Medium to full bodied with fresh acidity and good balance. Still some potential but already drinking quite well. My rating: 93
2-Château Sociando-Mallet Haut-Médoc (Group score: 8 pts)
With its classic green pepper nose, the Sociando was easy to pick out. Floral, earthy and graphite scents add complexity. In its usual elegant style with good structure for more aging. Fresh, balanced with good length. My rating: 92
3-Château Pontet Canet Pauillac (Group Score: 7 pts)
My second favourite wine of the tasting. Very deep colour. Lovely nose still youthful: some ripe fruit, oak, graphite and bell pepper scents. Lots of extract on a solid structure. Full bodied with plenty of aging potential (10 to 15 years). My rating: 94
4-Coleraine 2000 Hawkes Bay, Te Mata, New-Zealand (Group score: 8 pts)
The mystery wine. Typical Bordeaux blend nose: some ripe fruit (field berries) with forest floor and vegetal scents. Refined and elegant New World Bordeaux Blend with soft acidity, good balance and length. Can age a few more years (3 to 5). My rating: 93
5-Château d’Armailhac Pauillac (Group score: 4 pts)
Typical traditional/classic Bordeaux: earthy, graphite, floral and lead pencil scents with some vegetal overtones. Expected high acid with firm tannins. Well structured, lots of character, a bit austere on the finish. My rating: 90
6-Château Quinault l’Enclos Saint-Émilion (Group score : 19 pts)
Very deep colour. Graphite, earthy with lots of ripe fruit. Good extract with firm tannins for long aging. Quite full, with a slight bitter/austere finish. Good length. My rating: 91
7-Château Brane Cantenac Margaux (Group score: 10 pts)
Lighter colour with some evolution. Seemed the most evolved of the tasting. The nose displays scents of graphite, forest floor with a hint of vegetal. In a very elegant style, medium bodied, soft and supple, ready for drinking. Good length. My rating: 91
8-Clos de l’Oratoire Saint-Émilion (Group score: 30 pts)
The group favourite (myself included). In a very modern ripe style with a deep youthful colour. Lots of lovely ripe fruit (blackberry, cherry and currant) with some oak. This reputed château produces wines with great depth and richness. The mouthfeel reveals lots of extract. Will continue to age quite well for at least 5 to 10 years. My rating: 94+
Photo: Nick Hamilton