2003 Pichon Baron - Pauillac.
Green peppers & Cassis,but to a certain extent possibly overcooked?Slightly alcoholic whiffs which blow off later - overall pleasing nose with some impact. On the palate however, it just doesn't come across as well even slightly light/thin in relation to the first impression from the nose. To me, the wine seemed a little disjointed and could have been due to the fact that we opened it a just few days after it arrived (~US$75-85). 92+? pts
2003 Lynch Bages - Pauillac.
Again that slightly overcooked Cassis & green pepperish smell. This one doesn't blow off with time and seems to be quite present - to the overall detriment of other elements. Huge lashing of tannins - folks this is not close to the 2000 by a mile(~US$48-50). 88points.
2003 Leoville Barton - St. Julien.
Black fruits, green peppers(slight) - at first has a little hint of the smells from the previous 2 bottles but a) goes away with time b) is not an overpowering factor and adds to the complexity of the bouquet. Very balanced with very nice tannins, multi-layered. Long, gentle and smooth finish with great aftertaste. About 1 hour opened in bottle and another hour in decanter. This one kept getting better (~US$85-105). 95 points
2003 Le Forts de Latour - Pauillac.
Deep dark cassis smells, again that aroma of burnt cassis/green bell peppers. This bottle already has sediment on the shoulder and in decanter. Decanted for 1 hour. The tannins are very present, deep brooding but a bit monolithic - this is no Latour. Surprisingly faded a bit quicker than expected and did not have the stuffing in mid-palate (~US$65-95). 91 points.
2003 Pontet Canet - Pauillac.
Pontet Canet is one a roll - this is probably their best vintage in a long long time. From the few '03s I have had - this one is atypical becaus it didn't smell of overcooked berries and burnt bell peppers. In fact it smells "normal". In the bottle this takes about 2 hours of airtime to unfold. Huge aromas of black fruits/cassis, balance of acidity, tannins, alcohol very good. Nice finish with long aftertaste. To me it tasted more like a St. Julien than a Pauillac but what the heck. Truth be told it is a bit monolithic and one dimensional right now, lacking the layered sensations of the Leoville Barton. Hopefully it will gain some with bottle age. Undoubtedly, this will shut down in a few months. Quality for price this takes the prize for the 2003's so far (~USD$45-$55). Why bother with New World wine at this price point? 94+ points.