A disappointment. Robert Parker wrote this up in Decemeber '04 and gave it a great review, saying that it had managed to avoid the harsh tannin and astringency that has plagued many wines from the south of France (and Spain) in this vintage of unprecedented heat. On the strength of that review, I snagged a couple of bottles at Cost Plus several months ago at $23.99 (a great price for a good Chateauneuf!). Stashed 'em in the closet. In the most recent Wine Advocate, however, he re-reviewed it and apparently changed his mind: says it's astringent and tannic.
So I opened a bottle to see what was up. Crap. It was indeed astringent and harsh.
Deep, yet dullish black ruby color (I've noticed that many 2003s from the Southern Rhone, Provence, and the Languedoc have dull color). Nose of scorched earth and graphite, with some simple blackberry fruit in the background. Fairly full-bodied, with straightforward black fruit and peppery charcoal flavors. Rough tannin and astringency are the main components of the finish. Rustic and simple, this wine is not in any way identifiable as a Chateauneuf -- tastes like a generic and pedestrian Cotes du Rhone instead. 79.
I'm going to let the second bottle sit for a year or so and see if anything changes for the better, but I doubt it will.