Wine snapshot: Château Sociando Mallet 2003

By Panos Kakaviatos for 

11 May 2020

Welcome readers to my first wine snapshot: a weekly feature.

Each Monday, I will do a profile of a single wine that I like. And we start things off on Monday 11 May with the fine Château Sociando Mallet.

With impeccable gravel over clay and clay limestone terroir that “sees the river” to better temper weather extremes, this fine estate in the northern Médoc fared very well in the heatwave 2003 vintage, which had very early picking dates for most estates.

Fine tone and color for its age.

While some wines can taste jammy and/or superficially ripe, this “Montrose of the Haut Médoc” kicked ass. Note the tone and color that reveal “normal” evolution. The wine exudes ripe fruit and a hint of jam, but hardly overbearing. Nearly 16 years in bottle, one senses pleasing tertiary notes of Cuban cigar and creosote but also primary (and juicy) black fruit. The tannins are already well integrated if still thankfully present to lend structure, and the long finish is marked by freshness, indeed rather tangy: A major plus for this vintage. It lacks the peerless balance of the 2005 vintage, but it is excellent and can stay on this plateau for many more years in your cellar.

Quarantine in France, but enjoying fine Bordeaux with steak and mushrooms.

Kudos to the former owner, the late Jean Gautreau, who died in October last year and had invested many years since acquiring the estate in 1969. He and his team made excellent wines year in, year out. Not that it needs it commercially, because it has a deservedly strong brand, but if any Haut Médoc has long merited promotion to the 1855 classification, then Sociando is it.

Nice match with grilled steak and mushrooms.

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