Saturday, April 25, 2009

2003 Saint-Émilion Grand Cru

2003 Chateau L'Arrosee cap

2003 Chateau L'Arrosee cork

2003 Chateau L'Arrosee

2003 Château L'Arrosée, AC Saint-Émilion Grand

This wine is very near and dear to my heart. A Grand Cru Classé of Saint-Émilion. this property has put out several excellent, rejuvenated vintages of late. Good, because I've bought every vintage of this wine since 2003.

The first time I drank this wine was at a friend's house. He opened a bottle of 1992 for us, and I was struck by the dense, nutty nose, and absolute elegance of the palate. Been thinking of this wine ever since. For 2003, the blend is comprised of 60% merlot, 20% cabernet franc, and 20% cabernet sauvignon. A lot of cabernet sauvignon for a Right Bank wine. My first wine of the night.

I bought this wine for Christmas, of 2006. After more than 2 years, many moves and temperature fluctuations, I had my suspicions about the health of this bottle. Cork protruded a bit, which only added to my worries.

Although stained about a quarter inch from the bottom, the cork drew out easily. Holding onto its colour nicely - bright red, just the slightest clearing at the rim. Luminous.

Initial bouquet of ground coffee, mulch, and wet earth. Some dark fruits, but the merlot is really hidden. With lots of air (about 4 hours decanted), it develops a warmth and a creaminess. Builds power, with booming mocha. On the palate, my initial reaction was a disbelief of how weightless the wine was. Just absolute air in the mouth, absolute silkiness and elegance. Tannins are present but extremely well hidden. Just a stunningly elegant, pure wine.

As dinner went on. the wine displayed a characteristic sweetness of great claret. Becomes so sweet on the palate, layering into spicy notes on the finish. Very, very harmonious, finishing with fantastic length.

The cabernet influence is obvious. A very understated wine, given the extremely hot vintage of 2003. It's a 13% alcohol wine, for crying out loud - very restrained.

I definitely opened this one too soon. But - I'm turning 31, so the occasion called for it. To be clear - I was underwhelmed by this wine, given that I paid $65 for it. Or maybe I just don't like cabernet sauvignon. I have one more bottle. We'll see in a few years. I have to make a major decision in a few months whether to continue buying this estate's wine or not.

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