I had been trying to do a 2000 horizontal for the first six months of 2007, and since I was unable to coordinate with my usual drinking buddies, I decided to make this a public event and conduct it through the Wine Workshop. Picholine was the setting, and eighteen of the vintage’s finest wines were assembled for us to taste where this vintage was in 2007. I guess you could say that I finally got to scratch my seven-year itch.
We started with the St. Estephes and the 2000 Calon Segur. The Calon was long and refined in its nose, possessing great t ‘n a and nice peanut aromas. Sweet and sturdy, it was an outstanding nose with its perfume, cassis and minerals. Wendy noted ‘chocolate chip cookie dough.’ The palate had lots of acidity, and the wine was finish forward at first, rounding out yet still spiny in general. Wendy also admired its’ sweetness,’ and the Calon was tasty but a bit muted in the mouth overall (93).
The 2000 Cos d’Estournel was outstanding. If there is one Chateau in the Left Bank knocking on the door of First Growth Status, it would be Cos, which has achieved almost unparalleled success beginning with its great 1982 vintage. The nose on the Cos was wound with lots of cedar and peanut aromas, and Wendy admired its ‘spicy’ edge. There was great pinch and minerality along with ‘fantastic pungency.’ From now on, unless I say otherwise, all quotes are from Wendy. She certainly knows how to share her opinion and is usually spot on. More peanut, along with violet and exotic deep fruits graced its nose and palate. The Cos was incredibly refined, enough so that it would make an oil executive’s heart sing, and it had a long, regal finish (95).
The 2000 Montrose was ‘massive.’ There was certainly more t ‘n a here than in the previous two, and the wine had loads of spice and spine, as well as a nutty edge. The style of St. Estephe shone through all three wines in this first flight, as they all had this similar style underneath it all. Mike found the Montrose a bit ‘angular and sharp,’ while also noting that the Cos was ‘well-connected.’ The Montrose was spiny and long but a bit brutish at the young age of seven (93+).
At this point, Brian asked me of what year did 2000 remind me, and I immediately responded 1982 ”“ the soft, elegant and refined acidity was a dead ringer for me, and I had just done an ’82 retrospective three months prior. Mike added that 2000 was ‘1982 at its best,’ obviously preferring 2000 overall.
It was on to St. Julien and the 2000 Gruaud Larose. The Gruaud was a curious fellow, at first revealing lots of stinky, animal and barnyard action. Behind that, there was peanut, cassis, perfume and lots of pencil. The palate was gamy and meaty, very tasty despite that touch of animal still there, and you know who chipped in with ‘green tea.’ The Gruaud kept improving in the glass (94).
The 2000 Leoville Barton was atypically subtle and wound at first. After some serious coaxing, aromas of brick, fireplace, cedar, coffee, cassis and deep roasted nuts all emerged. Its long and robust nose became very classic and full of spine, and it was easily the most concentrated wine so far. ‘Is it Cali?’ Wendy joked, but then she admitted that it only walked the line. The palate was also very concentrated and long, possessing spine and more noticeable alcohol but still tasty. The more wines that I had, the more I thought about 1982. Wendy admired its ‘fantastic length.’ The Barton got sweeter in the glass and definitely had that Napa Valley Grill to it but was still outstanding (95).
The 2000 Leoville Las Cases was unfortunately corked. Duuuuude, bummer (DQ).
We snuck a 2000 Pichon Lalande into this flight of St. Juliens, and it was a 2000 Pichon Lalande, which had an elegant, sexy nose, so elegant with its flash of cassis perfume, nut, cinnamon, mineral and Asian spice aromas. Stu observed ‘licorice and anise’ while Wendy was on the ‘truffle’ train. The Pichon had pop to it, and Stu was smacking his lips accordingly. The Pichon absolutely exploded in the mouth; don’t try to take this wine through airport security, it was that explosive, which is unusual by Pichon’s usual standards. This was special stuff, and Mike chipped in ‘good green pepper’ (96).
The third flight was all First Growths: the few, the proud, and the increasingly wealthier. The 2000 Haut Brion was sweet, smoky and spicy. Aromas of cinnamon, sweet perfume and cassis were present in its bready and nutty nose. The palate was long, balanced and elegant, quite regal and fine. Wendy was all over its ‘walnuts,’ while Mike keenly observed its ‘smoked wood and hickory.’ There was great gravel to this outstanding wine, and tremendous definition and pop to its finish (96).
The 2000 Margaux had a fabulous nose with its hallmark elegance but still great intensity. There were buckets of t ‘n a and great spine and spice. The palate was rich, concentrated, spicy and long, packed and compact, dense and exotic with almost blue fruit flavors smothered in soy (96+).
The 2000 Mouton Rothschild was the least impressive of this impressive quintet but still excellent wine; don’t get me wrong. The nose was deep, dark and dank; rich, creamy, nutty and sexy. The palate had more polish and a soft, elegant finish although Stu liked its tannins. The wine was rather approachable at this stage (94).
The 2000 Lafite Rothschild was incredibly refined with a core of spine and cedar. ‘Accesible?’ Mike questioned. Jim called it ‘guarded’ but still loved it. This wine was beautiful with a flash of flesh and a thick finish. Stu picked up on ‘graphite,’ and the wine got gamier in the glass. Although not usually a Lafite fan, I have to admit the 2000 was stupendous. Mike concurred that of all the First Growths, his money was on Lafite for the long-term. He was then interrupted on his cell phone with an important call from China (97).
The 2000 Latour, however, was appropriately served last in this superlative flight. ‘Is that a powerful wine or what?’ Someone rhetorically asked. It was a penetrating beast, sinus-clearing with its t ‘n a, along with aromas of cement, cedar and a touch of milkshake. Rich, concentrated and dense, the Latour was the biggest wine of the evening and also the thickest and the longest. Game emerged in this behemoth of a wine. It reminded me of that Kayne West song where the chorus goes, ‘bigger, longer, faster, stronger.’ While I am hesitant to give young wines scores in the 98 and 99 point territory because my convictions are that those scores are for wines that stand the test of time, the 2000 Latour left me no choice (98).
We hopped across the river to the Right Bank, and the 2000 Cheval Blanc had the disadvantage of being served after the Latour. Its nose was gamy with taut red fruits and wintergreen. It was still long and rock solid, possessing great t ‘n a as well as high pitch. A touch of fig joined its gamy side. The palate was toned and defined, a bit shy and more closed with a dusty, nice finish. The Cheval was exotic yet square at the moment (95+).
The 2000 L’Angelus was meaty and also gamy, edgy and rich with dried, gamy fruit, prompting Brian to call it ‘in the closet.’ There was lots of spice in the nose as well. Thick, cedary and polished, there were flavors of dates and raisins to this gamy wine. Brian likened its flavors to ‘roadkill’ because it was that gamy. He loves the stuff lol. The finish had a touch of explosiveness (93).
The 2000 Pavie was, as Josh had said a couple weeks prior when one was opened at one of our auctions, ‘not bad.’ The nose was dusty, spicy and cedary with a touch of vanilla. The palate was rich, big and long with impressive length. Quite meaty, there were also lots of coffee flavors here, but like I said, it wasn’t bad. I could actually polish it and its cinnamon-y French toast flavors off. As a side note, the ’05 out of barrel, however, I found gross, so perhaps it, too, needs to scratch a seven-year itch (93).
A trio of Pomerols finished up our evening, beginning with a 2000 La Conseillante. It had that classic Conseillante gaminess in its nose, with great t ‘n a, ‘superbad’ and deep. There were also big and solid aromas of plum, cassis and spice. The palate was a bit softer than the nose led me to believe but still popped (95).
The 2000 Trotanoy was more Campbell’s soup but still gamy and possessing plum and cassis aromas as well as sweet flavors of the same. While I preferred its structural and spice components in the nose to those of the Conseillante, its palate was a bit shut down at the moment (93+).
Last but not least was a 2000 Hosanna. It was about that time where my note-taking skills were shutting down, but I still managed to find it good, solid and big with the most power of the Pomerols but also rugged (94).
To me, 2000 is 1982 all over again, perhaps even better and aided by the gains in technology and knowledge that the last two decades have seen.
In Vino Veritas,