d’Armailhac 1999 & 2003

Château d'Armailhac

Label for Château d'Armailhac

My notes on the claret from Pauillac, Château d’Armailhac, for the vintages 1999 and 2003. Tasted blind 13/5/11 as part of a Left Bank claret tasting.

Château d’Armailhac 1999, Pauillac, Bordeaux. Medium-deep ruby in appearance, with a warm magenta rim; notable sediment. Pleasantly fragrant rather than aromatic, yet complex and enticing. Ripe blackcurrants dominate the nose, accompanied by an appealing greenness, vanilla and woodsmoke from French oak; olives and mushroom indicate some bottle age. A ripe fruit entry to the palate is followed up by smoky cedar, hazelnuts and intense bell pepper. This wine is complex, brooding and elegant. Moderate, balanced alcohol, crisp acidity, some viscosity to the body, forward tannins and a very long finish reminsicent of bitter chocolate.

Château d’Armailhac 2003, Pauillac, Bordeaux. Deep ruby in appearance with a magenta rim; cloudy. Fragrant nose, though notably muted compared to the ’99. Slightly soapy, with ripe blackcurrant, plums, vanilla and lavendar/thyme. Only medium acidity on the palate and silky but firm and aggressive tannins. The alcohol is not overt, but feels high due to the lower acid. This wine has a savoury onset to the palate, with licorish, some green pepper but not a lot of fruit. It feels ‘dilute’, and the finish is notably shorter than the ’99. The warm vintage shows through here with the aggressive tannins, lower acidity and muted aromas.

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About James

James Flewellen is a biophysicist at the University of Oxford. He has competed for the University in international blind tasting competitions and won several awards. In addition, James is a wine educator and wine writer, most recently co-authoring "The Concise Guide to Wine and Blind Tasting". He also writes for the international gastronome site "The Rambling Epicure", and can be contacted for wine consultancy and educational courses through the "Oxford Wine Academy".
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