Fortnum & Mason St. Julien Chateau Branaire-Ducru 2003

87+ points

Saint Julien, Bordeaux, France. 13%

The unusually hot 2003 vintage has produced some unusual claret. This is surprisingly approachable with low acidity and soft tannins for a Bordeaux of its youth. Yet it isn’t a new world style, its savoury and tannic still, with no overt alcohol heat or sweetness. Aromas of raisin (yet not sweet). Deep black fruits in a 4-square style more like St. Estephe than St. Julien. Will this ever be charming ? I doubt it. Will it age ? It might.

2003 is still a gamble I think, but the wines may be approachable, and offer big concentrated wines that can be enjoyed while waiting for other vintages to mature.

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