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2005 Chateau Arnauld

A very moderately priced Bordeaux, particularly for one from the “Vintage of the Century.” It is also still rather young, evidenced by how much better it showed on the second night. The nose shows blackcurrant, cedar, and tobacco leaf. The taste on the palate is far richer than the aromas on the nose. It leads with blackcurrant, cedar, and mocha, with tart cherries, even a touch of cranberry, and dark chocolate, all showing on the mid-palate. Clearly an old-world wine, high acids and dusty tannins to match offer a food-paring wine, rather than a snack in a glass. Drink with a rib-eye or a great burger. Recommended. DH
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1998 Château Sociando-Mallet – Haut Médoc, France

Just beginning to turn brick-red at the edges, but still tasting young. Secondary floral flavors, violets and dried roses are just starting to come out to play with the pencil lead, blackcurrant, and plums, all with a light background of genuine licorice. After a few hours of air it shows greater depth, with some unsweetened chocolate replacing the licorice. Tannins are soft, balanced with acids, and the finish is mid-length. This is drinking very well right now.
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2003 Château Cambon La Pelouse – Haut-Médoc, France

Like several for the moderately-priced bottles of '03 Bordeaux I have opened recently, this is coming to life, perhaps even peaking now. A year ago it was dead, but now it is showing a pleasant balance of fruit, blackberry and some raspberry, and more aged flavors of violets and cigar box. Tannins are soft and smooth. This has matured into a very pleasant bottle of wine at a bargain price, drinking at its peak right now. Highly recommended as a bargain introduction to a great year for Bordeaux.