2004 4ème Cru Classé Saint Julien

Grapes Merlot, Cab Franc, Cab Sauv
Colour Red
Origin France, Bordeaux
District Left Bank
Sub-district Haut Médoc
Village Saint Julien
Classification 4ème Cru Classé

Here the maitre du chai remarked that 2004 was a better year for Merlot than 2003, and that it was September that saved the vintage. The resulting "grand vin" is 40% Merlot (as opposed to 26% in 2003), 55% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot. It has a similar volume to the 2003, but a much fresher character, very pure (not the sometimes medicinal Talbot twang). Ripe and clear cut, very long. Rating: 90 L&S (Apr 2005)

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Concentrated, spicy nose showing good depth of fruit and hints of mocha. Full-bodied, approaching maturiy but with plenty of acidity and drive. Drinking range: 2014 - 2020 Rating: 89 Decanter Magazine (Sep 2014)

A sumptuous, complex, Provencal-like bouquet of roasted herbs, cherries, licorice, and underbrush emerges from this dark plum/ruby-colored 2004. Tart acidity provides freshness, but the overall impression is of abundant currant and cherry fruit presented in a forward, superficial style. It is best consumed over the next 10-12 years. Rating: 88 Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, (Jul 2008)

Raw, unripe, malic notes on the nose. Very solid block-like wine with a little ripe black fruit flavour on the front and a lot of inky tannin on the back of the palate. Very tough, austere finish. Drink 2014-18 Rating: 15 Jancis Robinson OBE MW - (Apr 2005)

Château Talbot

St Julien Quatrième cru 1855 John Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury was sent by King Henry VI to re-impose some English rule on this troublesome part of his Kingdom, but ended up being killed at the Battle of Castillon in 1453. Quite what connection he had with this particular bit of St Julien is unknown but, at least as far back as the 17th Century, the large estate in the centre of the appellation has been known as Château Talbot and it has generally been held that it was named for said John Talbot. Désiré Cordier bought Talbot in 1917 and it is still in the hands of the Cordier family. Sitting right in the middle of St Julien, surrounded by the great names of the appellation, and at 107ha of vineyard, Château Talbot is hard to miss. The vineyards are planted to 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. Fermentation takes place in a combination of traditional wooden vats and modern stainless steel, with the Grand Vin spending 14 months in oak (50%-60% new). There is a second wine named in honour of John Talbot, who's local title was Connétable Talbot. With such big production and with an easy name to read and remember in the English-speaking market, Château Talbot has a healthy following and reliable reputation. It is a reputation that Talbot, by and large, lives up to with well-flavoured structured wines.

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