Having recently been engulfed by a ton of Bordeaux 2004 and trying a fair few as well I figured I may as well share my views on this ‘classic Bordeaux’ vintage or otherly known as the ‘last affordable Bordeaux vintage’. It wasn’t classed as one of those fantastic vintages like the 2005 and 2009’s and neither did it have a specific detail regarding the harvest like the 2003 heatwaves. I guess you could say in all honestly it was a pretty blah vintage to try to describe – not in a negative aspect either.
What I can tell you is that the harvest was later than normal and the vineyards unfortunately seemed to suffer from an uneven ripening quality which in my opinion leads me more to the right bank – Pomerol, Saint Emilion etc. This is especially a safer option if you are buying right off the bat as I have found some of the left-bank vino’s to be much to green – so unless you know what you’re buying I would stick to the lush Merlot on the right bank. One thing I have noticed among all the 04’s I have tried is their vibrant perfumes, particularly so for the left bank. As soon as a bottle of Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse Lalande was opened I swear I could smell it from across the room. It really was breathtaking, though the palate had much to be desired.
By all means don’t write the 04’s off, there are some fantastic treasures and with the hype of the 03 and 05’s surrounding these ones it means you can get some star performers at decent prices. My top pick is the Chateau L’Evangile from Pomerol – not only did this wine make me step back at first whiff and taste but over the hour or so I sipped at it there was milk chocolate seeping through the array of black and red berry flavours – it was like silk in my mouth. It’s not one of those hugely powerful reds that will knock you for six but an elegant wine full of nothing but finesse.