2003 Gruaud Larose, St-Julien
Aromas of blackberry, toasted oak, sweet tobacco and espresso. Full-bodied, with velvety tannins and a long, fruity finish. I like the texture. Best after 2010. Tasted twice, with consistent notes.
Under the management of Jean Merlaut, this estate has lost some of the super-opulence of the wines of the 90s, and gained finesse and elegance. That has stood the 2003 in good stead, emphasizing solidity and dry tannins to balance the wood and cranberry flavors of the fruit.
Dark crimson with a classic claret nose but not that much fruit weight in the mid palate. Very nice aromatic development though. There are some pretty insistent tannins now in the background and I suspect they will always be there.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2003 Gruaud Larose’s dark plum/garnet color is followed by sweet aromas of damp earth, forest floor, herbs, espresso roast, cassis, licorice, and plums. Medium-bodied as well as surprisingly up-front and precocious, it possesses sweet tannin, very nice concentration, and loads of earthy/herbal characteristics intermixed with black fruits, and an attractive, but supple, evolved finish.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Good ruby-red. Full-blown aromas of black fruits, coffee liqueur, mint and roasted meat. Quite powerful in the mouth without coming across as sweet; shows distinctly southern notes of garrigue and scorched earth. Less silky than I expected; in fact, this seems to be closing down today. Substantial, slightly disjointed tannins hit the palate late and build. I wouldn't even think about pulling a cork for at least four or five years. Not a particularly impressive vintage for this wine, yet there's a bit more here than I originally thought.