Bordeaux Winemaker With A Golden Touch

By Robert Parker

Bordeaux's Bernard Magrez made his fortune as a négociant, a merchant/wholesaler who buys grapes or wine from small growers, bottling it under his own label. Over the years, he also acquired many estates, and in 2005 he sold his négociant firm to concentrate on winemaking.

Magrez now owns 10 Bordeaux properties and contracts for special cuvées at 10 more in Bordeaux and 5 in Languedoc-Roussillon. His wine interests extend to Spain, Argentina, the U.S., and even Morocco and Algeria. Wherever he goes, Magrez sets the highest standards. Here is a taste of his wines.

Gérard Depardieu Confiance 2003

90 points.

Produced in partnership with the actor it's named for, this wine has a voluptuous texture along with sweet berry aromatics intermixed with toasty oak and earth. This fruit-forward Premières Côtes de Blaye wine should be enjoyed in its first five to seven years. $25-$35

Fombrauge 2003

89 points.

Wines from the largest vineyard in St.-Emilion, acquired by Magrez nearly a decade ago, have soared in quality. They tend to be a blend of 70% merlot, 15% cabernet franc, and 15% cabernet sauvignon. With notes of white chocolate, figs, plums, and black cherry liqueur, the heady, fleshy, seductive medium- to full-bodied 2003 can be enjoyed over the next six to eight years. $26

Les Grands Chênes 2003

88 points.

This Médoc wine is a sexy, sensual effort displaying a ripe black currant and smoky-scented nose, soft, lush, medium-bodied flavors, good glycerin, low acidity, and a heady, expansive mouthfeel and finish. It is a wine to be enjoyed over the next five to six years. $27

Ma Vérité Cuvée d'Exception Gérard Depardieu 2003

88+ points.

This dense ruby/purple-tinged, medium-bodied, muscular Haut-Médoc exhibits classic notes of crème de cassis interwoven with smoked herbs, cedar wood, and spice. The finely tuned cuvée will benefit from two to three years of cellaring and should last for 10 to 15 years. $35

La Tour Carnet 2003

90 points.

From Haut-Médoc, this blend of 55% cabernet sauvignon, 37% merlot, 6% cabernet franc, and 2% petit verdot offers both complexity and pleasure. Already sensual and evolved, it reveals soft notes of plums, figs, black currants, pain grillé, and earth. Although full-bodied, opulent, pure, and rich, it appears to be maturing quickly, so drink it over the next decade. $35

Magrez-Tivoli 2003

90 points.

The dense purple-tinged Médoc boasts superb aromatics—roasted coffee, black currants, cherries, dried herbs, and meat. It has low acidity, full body, and moderate tannins. Give it one to two years in the cellar, and drink it over the following 12 to 15. $35

Pape Clément 2003

94 points.

This Pessac-Léognan estate is Magrez' flagship. The wine's complex characteristics of smoke, meat, lead pencil shavings, sweet plums, black cherry liqueur, blackberries, and a hint of espresso are followed by an opulent, full-bodied wine with silky tannin. Copious glycerin gives it a big, savory mouthfeel, and the finish is long. The wine should last at least 15 or 20 years. $90

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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