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WTN: 2003 Cantemerle

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WTN: 2003 Cantemerle

by Covert » Sun Nov 12, 2006 11:21 am

My sense of smell was compromised by the odors of browning shallots for the chicken Madeira, and other typical smells of a mountain cabin – such as fresh wood in the wood pile by the stove – but I opened a 2003 Cantemerle anyway to get a sense of it. I need to drink another one soon without competing smells to understand it better.

I got a hint of barnyard early on, I think, but I can’t be sure, so it certainly wasn’t pronounced for me, as it was for Otto,apparently. I love barnyard, in the ilk of Beaucastel and old Cordier stinkers, but this one didn’t show anything like that. The nose initially was very deep and complex, reminiscent of a very fine Bordeaux. The finish was extraordinarily long. In the middle were savory flavors of black fruits, cassis and wonderful tar, a little like 1990 Angelus. Tannins were mild and not at all oppressive.

Interestingly, after about an hour or less, the wine changed its complexion to predominantly red fruit with lots of cherry, and tasted like other 2003s I have drunk. The 2003 Bordeaux taste is unmistakable, like the 1997 is for its own last. You could never mistake the 2003 for another year, but I could have mistaken the Cantemerle for another appellation. It was like its terroir was 90% 2003 season and maybe 10% Haut Medoc/Southern Margaux territory.

I still can’t make up my mind as to whether I really like 2003 Bordeaux as much as other years. It is very different. Definitely Bordeaux, but more like Merlot than Cab, in my opinion.

Looking forward to a second bottle in the suburbs with something mild cooking.
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Re: WTN: 2003Cantemerle

by Otto » Sun Nov 12, 2006 12:01 pm

How very odd. We really should meet up someday to share a bottle of this - talking about it just makes me more confused! :) I thought this was a nice exception to most 2003s in that it's terroir showed so well. I also thought the Cabernets were nicely noticable and the 40% Merlot in the blend was a touch of spice rather a dominant flavour.
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Re: WTN: 2003Cantemerle

by Covert » Mon Nov 13, 2006 11:10 am

Otto Nieminen wrote:How very odd. We really should meet up someday to share a bottle of this - talking about it just makes me more confused! :) I thought this was a nice exception to most 2003s in that it's terroir showed so well. I also thought the Cabernets were nicely noticable and the 40% Merlot in the blend was a touch of spice rather a dominant flavour.


I know, it's crazy. But those cabin smells can change perception.

Jenise! If you see this, please drink a bottle of this stuff and give us your read. Whatever you find, you will definitely enjoy it.

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Re: WTN: 2003Cantemerle

by Jenise » Mon Nov 13, 2006 5:47 pm

Covert wrote:
Otto Nieminen wrote:How very odd. We really should meet up someday to share a bottle of this - talking about it just makes me more confused! :) I thought this was a nice exception to most 2003s in that it's terroir showed so well. I also thought the Cabernets were nicely noticable and the 40% Merlot in the blend was a touch of spice rather a dominant flavour.


I know, it's crazy. But those cabin smells can change perception.

Jenise! If you see this, please drink a bottle of this stuff and give us your read. Whatever you find, you will definitely enjoy it.

Covert


I'm on the look-out for the wine, Covert. Just yesterday I bought my first 2003's--the Pontet Canet. I'm probably not going to buy many others, but Cantemerle is a producer we can trust to get something restrained out of even a hot vintage if anyone can, and I'd be interested in tasting even if I didn't have you and Otto out there egging me on. But you know my shopping methods--might be awhile before I trip over some. :)
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: WTN: 2003Cantemerle

by Covert » Mon Nov 13, 2006 7:24 pm

Jenise wrote: I'm on the look-out for the wine, Covert. Just yesterday I bought my first 2003's--the Pontet Canet. I'm probably not going to buy many others, but Cantemerle is a producer we can trust to get something restrained out of even a hot vintage if anyone can, and I'd be interested in tasting even if I didn't have you and Otto out there egging me on. But you know my shopping methods--might be awhile before I trip over some. :)


Hey, come-on, it only costs $20 in stores. It was like a wonderful left bank wine and then suddenly switched into a fruity right bank St-Emilion or something. But it started magnificently. The initial finish was First Growth long - maybe 45 seconds. If you don't drink one, I'm going to have to open another one right away to see if the same thing happens again.
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Re: WTN: 2003Cantemerle

by Jenise » Mon Nov 13, 2006 9:23 pm

What stores? Covert, I live in Bordeaux Siberia. There's Larose Trintaudon, sometimes Greysac, and occasionally one other Bordeaux at about twice what one would expect to pay in Los Angeles. Even at the best wine stores. If I want BDX, I gotta get it by mail.
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Re: WTN: 2003Cantemerle

by Covert » Mon Nov 13, 2006 9:43 pm

Jenise wrote:What stores? Covert, I live in Bordeaux Siberia. There's Larose Trintaudon, sometimes Greysac, and occasionally one other Bordeaux at about twice what one would expect to pay in Los Angeles. Even at the best wine stores. If I want BDX, I gotta get it by mail.


Okay, a case will cost you an extra $34.95 to have it shipped from Sherry-Lehmann to Washington, and 2.5% insurance. Six bottles will cost $19.95 for shipping plus insurance.

There are other shops in NYC that have slightly cheaper prices, but the Sherry-Lehmann website is the easiest one I have experienced to work with. A great browsing function. For example, you just type in 2003 Bordeaux and it pops them all up.

It might be worth it to try the Cantemerle and some other selected newish bottles. I don't remember if they have Lynch Moussas. Gloria is supposed to ge great - haven't popped a bottle yet. Just go on their website and order a few bottles while the weather is perfect for shipping.
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Re: WTN: 2003 Cantemerle

by Covert » Thu Nov 16, 2006 11:54 am

Otto,

Now that I know you sometimes taste a wine rather than drink and be with the whole bottle over time, let me ask you, did you taste or drink that 2003 Cantemerle? Because I would describe the first couple of sips of it similar to your notes. Over a couple of hours, the wine became a different animal.

Tasting at a point in time instead of drinking a bottle over time could be in some cases like a blind man trying to describe an elephant by merely touching its trunk.

Reminds me of an infamous memorable moment on the American game show, Wheel of Fortune. A middle-aged British woman with a thick cockney accent tried to solve the puzzle, in the category of “Thing,” after only a “B” and an “N” had been revealed on the Board.

“Oh!” she cried, “Is it a ‘black penis?!’”

It was the first time I ever saw Vanna White blush.

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Re: WTN: 2003 Cantemerle

by Otto » Thu Nov 16, 2006 4:10 pm

Covert, I drank my bottle over a two day period. With food of course.
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Re: WTN: 2003 Cantemerle

by Covert » Thu Nov 16, 2006 4:23 pm

Otto Nieminen wrote:Covert, I drank my bottle over a two day period. With food of course.


Hmmm. I'll bet this one is like a Rorschach test. I hope Jenise tries it out. What do you think about the maturity plateau? Are we killing babies? I thought it drank well, but it certainly is young.
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Re: WTN: 2003 Cantemerle

by Otto » Fri Nov 17, 2006 4:41 pm

Covert wrote:
Otto Nieminen wrote:Covert, I drank my bottle over a two day period. With food of course.


Hmmm. I'll bet this one is like a Rorschach test. I hope Jenise tries it out. What do you think about the maturity plateau? Are we killing babies? I thought it drank well, but it certainly is young.


Many warm vintages IMO show well young, show well youthful, show well adolescent and show well mature and occasionally show well old (like the lovable lineup of unknown St-Emilions from 1959 that I reported on in the Netscape forum). It seems that often warm vintages don't shut down hard and provide enjoyment throughout their lives (if the warm vintage style is what you like, of course). Taking this into consideration, I won't have qualms about leaving the Cantemerle for another 10-15 years - but I will come back to check sooner. So no, I don't think we killed babies, we drank open and accessible wines which happened to be young. That said, I do prefer my wines with lots of aged character, so for me it will improve.

-O-
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