Last night, I was fortunate enough to pour (and sit) at a private Bordeaux tasting. The host urged me to select non-first growth, as he knew them well - the ones that were drinking anyway. So, below are three of my choices, none of which I'd had prior, and my tasting notes.
From Youngest to Oldest, the 2005 Chateau Pavie was immensely powerful, with surprisingly shocking texture with 11 years of age at this point. Notes included tobacco, blackberry jam, new oak, granular tannins, I'd give this 98/100 but not without food.
The 2003 Cos d'Estournel was quite complex and included notes of lavender incense, raspberry cassis, and several exotic spices and herbs which were difficult for me to pinpoint. While it was wonderful now, the tannins drove slightly, and I'd be interested in opening this again in 2019/2020.
Last, the 1998 Cheval Blanc. What can I say? This wine absolutely stood up to the hype and high scores. Leather, plums, raisins and menthol surround the nose and palate, and you're left with a clear balance of full body, polished tannin and ripely pure fruit. Entirely complex, I noticed smokey, campfire and milk chocolate throughout the hour I slowly enjoyed it.