Bordeaux That Will Age Gracefully

By Robert Parker

In recent tastings of Bordeaux's 2003 vintage, the quality of the best wines has been spectacular. And wine lovers have taken note. In fact, now may be the last call for these sumptuous wines before prices really climb out of sight. (The prices listed below are for a 750-ml. bottle and are based on a daily survey of wine merchants by WineAlert.) Here are some terrific 2003s that should age well for two decades or more.

Duhart-Milon

93 points.

The 2003 may be the finest Duhart-Milon...ever! A blend of 73% cabernet sauvignon and 27% merlot, it has a deep ruby/purple hue in addition to a big, sweet perfume of black fruits interwoven with roasted herbs and meat juice. Full-bodied, dense, and well-structured, this stunning cuvée is best consumed from 2010 to 2030. $45-$86

Sociando-Mallet

94 points.

This is a spectacularly concentrated, inky-blue/purple-colored wine with a marvelous nose of blackberries, raspberries, and a hint of lead-pencil shavings. The wine is powerful, extremely full-bodied, and quite tannic. It needs five to six years of bottle-aging, but it should keep for 30-plus years. $46-$84

Branaire Ducru

95 points.

The wine boasts a saturated plum/purple color as well as a remarkably complex nose of black currants, blackberries, espresso roast, white chocolate, minerals, and truffles. It displays amazing freshness and definition for such a complex, complete, and full-bodied wine. Its low acidity and huge, extravagant fruit-forwardness should keep it drinking well for many years. $80-$100

Léoville Poyferré

98 points.

I have had this wine three times, rating it 97 once and 98 twice. It is a colossal success and a potential legend in the making. Its saturated, dense inky-blue/purple color offers notes of crushed rocks, acacia flowers, blueberries, black raspberries, and crème de cassis. A synthesis of power and elegance, this multilayered wine has spectacular concentration, sweet but high tannin, and low acidity. Anticipated maturity: 2009-30. $120-$208

Ducru Beaucaillou

96 points.

A blend of 80% cabernet sauvignon and 20% merlot, this is a powerful, tannic blockbuster revealing a mineral component mixed with crème de cassis, raspberry, and flower characteristics. There's also an atypically high 13.5% alcohol level. It is a wine for patient connoisseurs. Anticipated maturity: 2010-25 and beyond. $125-$187

Montrose

97+ points.

The enormous 2003 boasts a dense black/purple hue and a wonderful bouquet of scorched earth, blackberries, and cassis, fabulous purity, plenty of texture, and substantial tannin in the finish. This superb wine is one of the vintage's most prodigious offerings. However, patience is essential. Anticipated maturity: 2010-35. $170-$189

Wines rated from 96-100 are extraordinary; 90-95, excellent; 80-89, above average to very good.

Robert Parker is the world's most influential wine critic. Visit www.eRobertParker.com to see tens of thousands of tasting notes, buy his books, or subscribe to his newsletter, The Wine Advocate.

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