The 2003 Hermitage is a beauty that shows the best of this extreme, freakishly hot vintage. Full-bodied, plump, textured and concentrated, it offers ample plums, violets, barbecued meats, licorice and a touch of mint. The tannin showed a touch of worrisome rusticity at first, but this was quickly covered up by masses of sweet fruit and texture as the wine sat in the glass. I'd drink bottles over the coming decade, and assuming its tannin stays nicely balanced and sweet, it will hold for even longer. (JD)
Ripe and concentrated, this shows plum, currant and cherry fruit intertwined with spice, espresso and black licorice notes. Has a tarry, slightly raisined edge to the finish, but the structure and heady fruit take an encore, boding well for cellaring, though you may always wrestle with the tannins. (JM)
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