However, what we actually have, literally jumping out of the glass, are red berry fruit aromas, freshness and purity. We can even find, as in 1996 and 2000, a mingling of floral and slightly spicy notes, coming through delightfully in this very complex cocktail, in which the new oak has already been totally integrated, as if it had been “digested” by the body of the wine.
And what body! We knew, of course, that all the wines were extremely concentrated. It has to be said that when you add, so to speak, a very low yield to the hot weather conditions in the summer, plus the blending, in which there was an excellent press wine, the result is a wine which possesses a density which has been unparalleled in recent vintages. This density gives the wine not just power and strength, but depth and length too ; and above all, a tannic structure which is so tightly-knit that its texture has taken on a silky feel.
A lot had been said, that year, about acidity and the mysteries of it. It is true that grapes had rarely been picked at such low levels of acidity as in 2003. And yet, through the combination of the acids being produced during the fermentation process, a lesser tartaric acid precipitation and a low malic acid content, we actually ended up with a total acidity which was exactly the average of the last 20 vintages. This vintage, with its extreme weather conditions (as we thought), in fact gave birth to a great classic claret!
2003 was a very early vintage which will above all be remembered for its exceptionally hot summer weather. Such conditions, which at times were described as extreme, caused many questions to be asked and sometimes gave rise to concerns; however, the greatest terroirs fared remarkably well, producing grapes of perfectly balanced ripeness.
The picking began on September 10, as in 1989, which was the earliest vintage since 1893.