This is an archive of tasting notes from participants in the UK wine forum, with notes from before 2001








UK Wine Forum - Bordeaux, red and white
Notes from participants in the UK Forum are added in chronological order.

N.B. some even older Bordeaux notes are archived here.

reds - whites

red

12/01 Château Talbot, St. Julien, 1998
Dark core, solid to edge. Initially a powerful smell of spent fireworks and flint. Then a v. classic young Bordeaux nose with huge helpings of toasty oak, then smoky bacon and dark blackberry and cassis fruit coming through. Some caramel and brown sugar after a while in the glass. Surprisingly silky midpalate with sweet dark fruit very much evident already. Still grippy and tannic at finish, masking the fruit there but no doubt this will turn out a lovely Bordeaux in the medium term. (Stephan Muller, UK)

11/01 ChâteauPavie 1985 - St Emilion
The cork's quality is really poor and it breaks in pieces as I try to pull it out. Hopefully there are no signs of leakage. The wine's colour is light red and rusty on the edge. Discrete red fruit on the nose. Three hours later after decanting, the wine's nose has opened very nicely, dominated by fig and currant. The wine isn't extremely concentrated showing little tannins and a slight acid imbalance, which disappears after a few seconds. Two hours later, the rest of the bottle continues to improve. The nasty acid touch has now completely disappeared and everything seems much more in balance. A pretty nice wine that needs to be decanted. 88 / 100. Anticipated maturity: 2001 - 2008. (Alain, France)

11/01 ChâteauMontrose 1985 - St Estèphe
Mature deep red-brownish colour. The nose is very appealing dominated by white truffle, humus, wet wood and leather. But in mouth, this Montrose seems to be a bit lean with only little texture in it. Curiously the wine isn't round nor very powerful and finishes a bit short and dry. The first impression is fine but further analysis suggest that the wine offers only limited potential. This was confirmed at the end of the meal. The remaining of the bottle was just fading away showing nothing more. I think this wine shouldn't be decanted. Drink now! 85 / 100. (Alain, France)

11/01 ChâteauPichon-Lalande 1985 - Pauillac
Deep ruby turning slightly orange on the edge. Complex nose of berries, cedar wood, liquorice, mint with vegetal tones (cabbage). In mouth, the wine is quite typical of the Pauillac style. Clearly the Cabernet-Sauvignon here is dominating. Well balanced and quite long, one could have expected more integrated fruit in it. Many attendants were pretty sure that it was Lynch-Bages. This rather "rustic" Pichon Lalande is not as elegant as it can sometimes be (1982, 1989 or even 1983 for example). But it was the best sample of the evening - 90 / 100. Anticipated maturity: 2005 - 2010. (Alain, France)

11/01 Château Pavie 1986
Transparent medium cherry ruby, with a minor but well-visible coppery rim. A gentle and elegant nose of macerated cherry, a whiff of kirsch, dried tobacco, game meat perhaps, old wood and mushrooms, some petits fruits rouges and an interesting note of vanilla wafers and icing sugar, all very dry, slightly cooked and slightly austere. Pleasant enough, but not an epiphany. On the palate very smooth, with an underlying liqueur / kirsch character and varying degrees of old wood depending on the bottle tasted. Medium length, with a touch of dilution, or hollowness, on the finish. An evolved wine which however seems stable at this quite drinkable stage, and with a decent amount of fruit left. Certainly the lightest, least intellectually challenging wine presented. (Nerval, UK)

11/01 Château Vieux Château Certan 1986
Slightly darker than the Pavie, more brown and opaque, and with a larger rim I think. Nose is gamey and animal, with some dried fruit, predominantly currants and cherries, followed by lead pencil, grainy oak, chalk dust etc. Much more elegant and airy, if very slightly unripe IMO, but cooler, more perfumed, and hence much preferable to the Pavie. It is also very intense and suprisingly long on the palate, heady, even a bit metallic on the finish, with a soupy texture as marked by wood as in the Pavie. Lots of tannins left, while the acidity is already in decline. Elegant and fused, closes a bit in the glass. I ranked it very high in the first round, possibly as high as third, but in my second passage it showed inferior to e.g. the Ducru. Many people liked it best of all, I was told by a member of the Bibendum staff, which I think is much exagerated. But very impressive for a Right Bank wine in the vintage. (Nerval, UK)

11/01 Château Pape-Clément 1986
Transparent medium to dark purple, with a relatively fresh raspberry rim. Very terroir-driven in the way marble ash and gravel underpin thick cherry fruit; superior in its elegance and airiness to the two previous wines, quite pungent, although rather evanescent and not easily grasped. Some chocolate, French-roast coffee, chalk dust, and even boiled pasta in the second bottle, while in both there is a evident, if minor, degree of greenness on the nose. The palate is less convincing, although gamey and robust, because of a salty broth pungency and an even more evident touch of green lettuce, especially on the finish, which is a shame given the generous amount of sweet fruit which is also present. Moderate intensity. Seems dominated by Cabernet of an unfriendly, rough nature. The less charming wine of the night, and one which IMO will not age further. Are all 1986 Graves like this? (Nerval, UK)

11/01 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou 1986
Very dark, almost impenetrable purple, with a minor dark raspberry rim. Very austere St-Julien nose of chalk dust, marinated olives (a very distinctive note), old wood, talc, and underneath that a layer of sweet cherry syrup, some kirsch and woman's perfume. Not easy or caressing really, undoubtedly noble, but far from greatness I thought. The palate brings very thick, balsamic matter with evidence of a reconstruction being under way, but the finish isn't particularly impressive, although it is long. But a second bottle was much more convincing, with a nice elegance and huge intensity on palate, especially on the finish, which shows lots of potential in its still rather rough tannins. Not charming, but should turn great in 15 years. This bottle safely one of the three best this evening. I checked a third bottle and it was more like the first one, very inky, with a cigar smoke note, but less consistent on the finish. (Nerval, UK)

11/01 Château Gruaud-Larose 1986
Transparent medium to dark purple, minor watery rim; identical in colour to the Pape-Clément. Even dustier than the Ducru, almost herbal and stemmy really, with a thick, compact, very unforgiving perfume, notes of black olives again and some milk. Very dense and inky on palate, certainly the most tannic and acidic wine so far and probably of the entire tasting; slightly hot and soupy, with sour cherry on the finish. Patently too young, but the fruit material is not outstanding here IMHO. The most problematic wine of the tasting, retasted with similar impressions. But I have faith it will turn into something more user-friendly one day. (Nerval, UK)

11/01 Château Cos d'Estournel 1986
Very dark and consistent purple, transparent, but with almost no rim; with Ducru the darkest wine of the night. Nose is very intense and open, with a convincing balance between what I identify as chalky, slightly vegetal Cabernet character and complex small berries, mainly cherry, blueberry and a bit of raspberry, of very ripe Merlot. The nature of fruit here is precisely an almost liqueur-like pungency and ripeness; some milk chocolate appears, together with a touch of extremely aristocratic woman's perfume. Very juicy and fruity in mouth, consistent from attack to finish and with superior potential to age another 15 years, very intense, extremely long, and not losing almost anything of its power on the finish, even if there's a minor green touch. Exudes class and what I believe to be a great purity of fruit for a modern Bordeaux. Simply great, and the best of the tasting when first tried. But a second bottle showed quite differently, with some praline and vanilla sauce notes, still refined, but now seemingly not so much. Very pure and focused on palate, but lacks a bit of complexity and is also substantially less tannic than most other wines tasted. (Nerval, UK)

11/01 Château Rauzan-Ségla 1986
Lighter and less luminous purple than others, though with almost no rim. The nose is very different than all previous ones, with a fuller, fruitier, admittedly slightly cooked character, more feminine or rather motherly, much better integrated than those brutes of young Médocs above. Notes of milky oak, coloured chalk and some quite distinct calamari funk. On the palate this seems quite primary and direct, with a still very discernible amount of oak, some tannins left and what I thought was the best acidic backbone of the tasting. Shows extremely well, probably at the peak of its goodness now - certainly the easiest one to appreciate. (Nerval, UK)

11/01 Château Lafite 1986
Dark, but not extremely youthful purple colour with a minor amaranth rim. Wonderful first nose of lead pencil, charcoal-grilled meat, thick and syrupy fruit, and some dust; elegant, almost genteel, with something eminently soft and caressing, despite all its towering presence. The palate is marked by mighty powdery tannins and an austere Cabernet character with lots of acidity, although not lots of body. Good integration, impressive length, even if the finish is not the most consistent tonight. Lacks perhaps a touch of focus and intensity on the palate to prove really worthy of premier cru status. Rated second, after Cos. But a second bottle overwhelmed me with a gorgeously focused nose of intensely sweet cherry, marzipan and fresh almonds, a touch of menthol, even if the palate is still less convincing, with moderate intensity. Tasted for a third time, and now seems quite clearly the most well-focused and elegantly defined of all eight wines tasted, plus with the best acidity to go on for years, although another scribbled sentence in my notebook reads 'not unforgettable'. (Nerval, UK)

11/01 Chateau La Louviere Pessac-Leognan 1988
Deep colour beginning to soften, but no obvious bricking yet (this has been stored in a very cool cellar). Nose slightly reticent, but hints of maturing smoky claret aromas. Still somewhat tannic. Chunky and four-square, but some mellow/tobaccoey complexity peeking through, which will hopefully become more obvious with further aging. Very good. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

11/01 Chateau d'Issan Margaux 1983
Bricky colour with distinctly orange rim. Mushroomy, slight 'spirity' nose. Mature plum/cherry fruit, forest floor, velvetty mid-palate but with a slightly raucous acidic afterburn on the finish. Clearly on the way down. Good/very good. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

11/01 Chateau La Dauphine Fronsac 1990
Still a fairly youthful colour, but on the palate a mellow, mature gently rustic claret. Nothing too special, but satisfying with no rough edges. Very good. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

11/01 Chateau Pichon-Baron Pauillac 1992
Colour only just beginning to weaken and show bricking at the rim. Lovely nose with quality oak, pleasantly leafy overtones and pencil lead. Palate dry but full-bodied, with a firm irony/graphitey entry, followed by plump fruit and a bit of chocolate. Firm but friendly mouthful. 3 hours later, acid beginning to poke through a bit, but still drinking quite well. Very good/excellent. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

11/01 La Chapelle de Lafon-Rochet St Estephe 1995
Not sure if this is the 2nd or 3rd wine of Lafon Rochet(?) This was drunk just after the Pichon Baron, giving an interesting opportunity to play the "better wine, poorer vintage versus better vintage poorer wine" game. Well, the Pichon definitely won, but the Chapelle was not totally disgraced. Colour still quite young and solid. Nose: leafy, but not giving much. Palate dry with dusty tannins, but good red-berry fruit too. A little less 'grip' than the Pichon, but held its head up quite well. Good/very good. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

11/01 Chateau Potensac Medoc 1986
This was a very pleasant surprise after a bottle earlier this year that was clearly well into decline. This bottle was still at peak and very tasty indeed. Colour deep ruby red with an orange rim. Nose of overripe slightly mouldy soft red fruit, but still too fresh to be called mushroomy. Palate fairly classic blackcurrant and cedar flavours, clean, good acidity, nice lingering mellow aftertaste. Very good/excellent (Paul Armstrong, UK)

11/01 Calon Segur 1979/Ducru Beaucaillou 1976
2 Bordeaux wines that show why it`s still the benchmark region. Not the greatest vintages but both excelled in ripeness with the finesse missing in so many New World blockbusters. Both cost less than a premium wine from Chile or Oz. But would they taste this good in 20+ years time? (Neal Martin, UK)

11/01 Château Petrus 1985
ignoring the ludicrous price this is still a great wine. Nothing has the purity on the nose like this although the palate lacked the power you might expect. More St. Emilion than Pomerol, (and Cheval is better.) (Neal Martin, UK)

11/01 Château Margaux 1961
a really great 61. A beautiful leathery, tobacco nose with a silky smooth palate. A bit dry on the finish so probably needs to be drunk soon. But very seductive now. (Neal Martin, UK)

11/01 Les Forts de Latour 1990, Pauillac
A: Deep opaque red. N: Bursting with ripe fruit mainly blackberries and a hint of manure and rotten undergrowth. P: Very ripe on the palate with blackcurrants, cedar and a strong tannic backbone. Long rich finish with a spicy aftertaste. S: Excellent. Drink now - 2012. (Paul Anderson, UK)

11/01 ChâteauCos D'Estournel 1967
Brick-red colour, fading slightly at the edge but with a good deep core. Lovely deeply perfumed nose, cedary wood, almost sweet, with real hints of depth. Medium-bodied, expansive taste in the mouth, with cigarbox/woody/tobacco taste mingling in with the residual fruit. Great length, little tannin and residual acid providing a good backbone. Almost VA(?) hints - it had that slight perceived sweetness of a 10+yo Musar. I did not expect much of this wine, coming as it did from a mediocre vintage, but I was very impressed, and really enjoyed drinking it. At £28 it was a gamble, but one which paid off handsomely. (Ray Abecromby, UK)

10/01 Chateau Cantemerle 5eme Cru 1993 Haut-Medoc
Decent deep red colour, slightly vegetal nose with some non-specific fruit. Palate has a little fruit, minimal tannin but still an astringent note. Moderate length, but very forgettable. Guess this is what is termed as a resturant claret as its not interesting enough to distract from the food, and prestigious enough to sell for a large amount of money. 11.5/20 (Anthony Taylor, UK)

10/101 Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou 1990 2eme cru St Julien
£52 Oddbins. Again good colour, again boring to the point of being soporific. At least this tasted ripe with reasonable length but could have been any £10 cabernet based wine from anywhere. An utter disappointment 13/20 in absolute terms and 7/20 for value. (Anthony Taylor, UK)

10/01 Chateau Haut Bailly, 1988
Last bottle of a mixed case Of 88 and 86 bought a few years ago. 86's were all poor, the 88's dull. This last bottle was by far the best though. Always read about 88 being tough vintage, but this wine was beginning to soften up. Nose had some initial earthy characteristics, and the wine was easy drinking, dinner party stuff. No great concentration or length. Always find it difficuly to write about the flavours in Red Bordeaux, but there was none of the pepperiness I like to find. (Cameron Clark, Holland)

10/01 Chateau La Tour de By 1989
Miles better. This is great drinking wine with food. This has the earthy, peppery taste I associate the Bordeauxs. Drinking great now, it's been the favourite wine at a couple of dinner parties this summer. (Cameron Clark, Holland)

10/01 1995 Chateau de La Dauphine – Fronsac
(From half). Deep ruby. Initially dumb nose, much swirling produced a hint of stewing plum fruit. Medium bodied, mild tannin and reasonable acidity, overall as smooth as silk. Good but perhaps a bit too 'flimsy' to be very interesting. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

10/01 1990 Chateau Prieuré-Lichine, Margaux
(From half). Very deep garnet, only a slight brick/lightening at the rim. Still oak on the nose, though pleasant enough. Subtle tobacco against a sweet blueberry-plum background develops after 25 minutes. Subdued tannins, refreshing acidity, sweet and very smooth. The fruit is a pleasant with medium length. Still a long life ahead, fine, but given the 1990 hype, I expected more. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

10/01 1995 Chateau Canon de Brem – Fronsac
(From half). Deep ruby, bricking a little at the edge. Nose started not quite as nail varnish (meths?), but certainly volatile with a dank background. Not nice in the mouth, the overly high acid in balance with nothing else. Yuk, I took it back - first one for 18 months. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

10/01 1995 Chateau Leoville Barton, Saint-Julien
(From half). Not checked on the progress of this in the last 18 months so: First sniff in the neck was – "wow! Have I got the wrong wine" - very concentrated blackcurrant like a new world wine with added dimension, the only similar smell I can relate it to is 1995 Lafite in the glass! It lasted only a couple of moments and then was gone. In the glass a deeply coloured ruby wine. Still blackcurrant, though more subdued, a dash of coffee bean and the oak which I remember is starting to fade. With food, you can easily drink this now with it's rich fruit, lovely acidity and quite well covered tannins. Leave it a few more years to savour on its own. Excellent. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

09/01 Domaine de la Gaffeliere 1987 St Emilion
The first mature wine from a "bad year" that I've tasted. It had a surprisingly robust red colour (I'll admit that the lighting in the Hall was poor), but on the nose it was definitely old and in the mouth, all attractiveness was gone (I guess some time ago). It's rare for me not, out of courtesy, to finish a glass of wine, but I could barely sip this one. (Matthew Mellor, UK)

07/01 Château Margaux 1982
This 82 was, like all good Margaux, very pretty, with a finely-tuned blackcurrant-based bouquet, cedar, violets and - shock horror! - leather, however upmarket. Chamois? Aromatically deep, admirable, especially with time, but completely without that almost riesling-like spectrum of trembling aromas based on green pear, minerals and graphite that, for me, put Lafite into an entirely different class. On the palate, I expect a small portion of the cabernet got heat-stressed: a few pinching, unlovely tannins detract from a notably fluid (classic Margaux characteristic) but rich impression. Those tannins will wear off (and no doubt give it 100 rather than 98+ Parker points), but you still can't turn a pretty wine into a beautiful wine. From 2006(?) to improve the mouthfeel until you die. Do I have to mark it? Absolute quality - perfect minus the poor tannins; pleasure - only very good rather than great. (George Horton, UK)

07/01 Château La Tour de By 1990
I first had La Tour de By at lunch on my first (and only so far) Christmas in France. Its therefore a sentimental association and I've followed this wine from as far back as 1982 from auction purchases. This is a really nice drop at the moment. Beautiful wide aroma in the glass after fifteen minutes or so. The palate is sweet and the acidity refreshing. Not great, but good claret (as Broadbent said in article in "Decanter" recommending wines for lunch last Christmas). 13% abv. (Daron Fincham, UK)

06/01 1996 Château Chasse Spleen
Dark with little sign of age. Excellent nose of black fruits, vanilla & spice. Plenty of tannin as expected, but not at all harsh - indeed very tolerable with food. Lots of blackcurrants on the palate, with balanced vanilla and earthiness on the finish. Very good length. Noticeable alcohol that hopefully will integrate with further age. In summary, more drinkable than I expected and all the components are there for a fine bottle, but I'd leave it 3-5 years before trying again. (Trevor March , UK)

05/01 Château du Gaby Canon-Fronsac 1998
Rubbish really. little fruit. Tannins very aggressive. Lets hope the new owner gets this sorted out. 12.5% abv. £11.50 Corney and Barrow. (Daron Fincham, UK)

Château Leoville-Poyferre 1982
Wow, this really was a goodie. Wonderfully soft and elegant with great depth of flavour showing through. It still had lovely fruit and cedar on the palate with a subtle touch of leather. The length just went on and on. A proper wine. (David Pearce, UK)

04/01 Château Margaux '85
Surprisingly youthful appearance. Good deep rich ruby colour, with just a hint of brown at the rim. On the nose intense layers of black fruit, cedar, rose perfume and so much more. Absolutely stunning. The palate had something to live up to and it didn’t disappoint. A medley of flavours that just opened up and went on and on: blackcurrants backed up with vanilla, minerals and a hint of liquorice. A truly great wine – certainly one for my desert island. (Trevor March , UK)

04/01 1979 Château Cantemerle, Macau 5th Growth
Lovely lunchtime claret, all blackcurrant leafiness alongside some chewed tobacco and faded watercolour sets combining to set up an enticing nose that prepares one for a slightly herbaceous, yet satisfying palate that relies on its acid structure to keep on pumping till the slightly sweet fruit, mostly delicate finish. It tasted quite Cabernet Franc based, but perhaps that’s a function of vintage as well. (Yixin Ong, UK)

04/01 Château La Cardonne 1995, Medoc
Medium bodied, more garnet than ruby, opened as it breathed in the glass. Blackberry, with rose petal overtones, slightly green flavoured, perhaps celery, medium long finish. Acidity a bit strong for sipping but melded very nicely with the rich meat, a good food wine. The back label identifies this wine as 50% Merlot, 45% Cab S. and 5% Cab F. Still somewhat tannic and may have a year or so of improvement in it. (Stephen Farris, Canada)

04/01 Château Brown, 1995, Pessac-Leognan
Medium to full bodied rich ruby colour to the rim. Very pure and straightforward blackberry flavours with the Graves attributes you read about in the books, stony earth, lead pencil and tobacco. (This almost surprises me: I don't usually taste what Parker etc. tell me I am supposed to taste!) According to David Peppercorn this wine is 70% Cab S, 25% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot. Despite the higher percentage of Cab. S., I thought this was riper and more fully mature than La Cardonne. Both these wines were enjoyable Sunday clarets but I have an increasing fondness for Pessac Leognan and Graves and prefer the Ch. Brown. Unfortunately it was purchased as a bin end but I'll keep an eye open for the chateau. (Stephen Farris, Canada)

03/01 89 Château Palmer
Very Palmer on the spectacular nose - the alliance between pillow-plump Merlot and Margaux elegance is as Byzantine and entrancing as ever. A little less seamless than the 83, but perhaps a shade finer, less weighty. The mouth is still tight. I'd say wait, but the scent is all there and with meat the rough edges on the palate would be gone. (George Horton, UK)

03/01 1989 Château Pavie Decesse, St-Emilion
A St-Emillion from 1989, this offers a classic claret nose with the usual flavours, although the fruit’s quite massive in a way that’s more reminiscent of Merlot (duh!) than either of the Cabernets, and this carries onto the quite sweet attack, and a rather satisfying (lighter) grip on the palate. Oak begins to show through after a while, but drinking well now, although one shouldn’t be in any hurry. (Yixin Ong, UK)

03/01 1978 Ch. Palmer, Margaux
This is a very good luncheon claret. As such, its elegant and graceful nose that offers every necrophiliac British palate such great pleasure belongs not in the evenings but after a crisp Chablis at lunch, perhaps with some roast beef. Focussed nose of faded fruit, watercolour sets, earth and burning leaves together with roasted peppers and a touch of cedar, this lightness carries on through to the finish on a boat steadied mainly by acid. Starting to drink well, but I think it will improve with some more time. (Yixin Ong, UK)

03/01 Château Cos d'Estournel 1997
Quite deep, solid colour to rim. Nice nose - already quite developed (should it be?), fat, cassis, lots of oak and some bacony smells. Biting tannins, masking fruit completely. Highish acidity, medium length finish. Nose much more open than palate - some fruit there but thin texture and hollow mid-palate. After 20mins nose opening up further, palate doesn't follow. Then some capsicum, green pepper appearing. I'm not sure this has very far to go at all. Drink now if it wasn't for the fierce tannins. (Stephan Muller, UK)

03/01 Château Cos d'Estournel 1996
Touch darker than the '97. More subdued nose, some dark fruit, bacon, lots of toasty oak but very closed now. Fierce tannins, medium length now and good thick texture. Fruit completely hidden at this stage, and a fresh zing of acid at the finish. Needs time, but will be very good/excellent. (Stephan Muller, UK)

03/01 Château Cos d'Estournel 1995
V. dark and solid, to edge. Fat dark black fruit nose, some caramel poking through, dark sugar mingling in - overall still closed. Sweetish entry, good grip in midpalate and very decent length. Huge tannic grip on finish and loads of acidity - nice potential but very hard unyielding wine in the mouth now. Some marzipan on the nose after 30mins. Will be very good given 10/15 years. (Stephan Muller, UK)

03/01 Château Cos d'Estournel 1993
Solid core, just lightening up a touch at the rim. More open nose, red fruit, cassis, less toast - feels like a lighter wine this, with fewer bacony, dark aromas. Mild entry and sweetish fruit on midpalate. Big tannic grip on finish and that high acidity again. Needs more time, but quite a light wine in texture - drink in 5 years? (Stephan Muller, UK)

03/01 Château Cos d'Estournel 1992
Solid colour to rim. Odd nose - peppers. Not quite clean, a bit fuzzy. Soft wine - short finish, mild tannins. Sweetish midpalate. Drinkable now, but not giving much pleasure at all and won't go too far. After a little while in the glass nose somewhat rotten, dank. Palate doesn't develop, stays thin. Hmmm. (Stephan Muller, UK)

03/01 Château Cos d'Estournel 1990
V. dark core, solid unevolved colour. The nose is more like it - Bordeaux! Sweet dark aromas, oak subdued now, and some tobacco. Round, balanced nose overall. Nice palate - good texture in middle and sweet fruit, nicely supported by tannins at finish and fresh acid. Round and very together. Very good now, and with time will be excellent. Classy nose opening up over time - this will be a big wine!!! (Stephan Muller, UK)

03/01 Château Cos d'Estournel 1989
Very dark core, unevolved, young colour. High toned nose, quite spicy. Darkly fruited, very tannic palate, grippy dusty, huge tannins at finish. Fruit still quite hidden, overall as much structure as the '90 but simpler, less complex at this stage. Will surely turn out very good in time though. (Stephan Muller, UK)

03/01 Château Cos d'Estournel 1988
Dark colour, looks young. Still very toasty on nose, dark fruit poking through, but not quite together at the moment. Spicy, nutmeggy then. Mild entry, fruit just a touch thin (at this stage) but sweet in midpalate, good grip, smoky, cedary finish of good length. Still a big tannic attack on finish, which will need time to soften up further. Will be very good. (Stephan Muller, UK)

03/01 Château Cos d'Estournel 1986
Amazingly dark, still solid colour. High, piercing, much more open nose. Cedary, pencilly, sweet pipe tobacco. Quite mature now I think but no rush at all with this - probably only just opened up. Big tannic grip at finish, supporting lovely texture and sweet fruit in midpalate. Big dusty grip on finish remains after some time in the glass - lots of time to go for this wine, will be truly excellent (Stephan Muller, UK)

white

10/01 HAUT-BERGERON - non-classified - Sauternes
The colour is surprisingly dark for such a young wine (to drink a four years old Sauternes is almost infanticid !). Nice aromatic nose with exotic scents of lychee, floral, not very long. Nice and fat in mouth, lacks a bit of acidity. A bit too ripe. Limited ageing potential in our view. Drink 2005 - 2010. 84/100. (Alain, France)

10/01 SUDUIRAUT - 1er Grand Cru Classé - Sauternes
Light gold colour - Honey, caramel, almonds, quince. Quite fat, fresh butter, tea. A nice and powerful wine but lacks a bit of "finesse". 87/100. (Alain, France)

10/01 GUIRAUD - 1er Grand Cru Classé - Sauternes
Very nice golden appearance, Powerful nose of crystallized fruit and mango. Impressive long finish, very rich. A more massive than elegant type of wine - should do very well with a "foie gras au torchon" course. A perfect example for introducing Sauternes to beginners. 85/100. (Alain, France)

10/01 RAYNE VIGNEAU - 1er Grand Cru Classé - Sauternes
Light gold colour. Complex and delicate nose of citrus fruit (orange zests, apricots, almonds, lychees, roasted bread). This beautiful Rayne Vigneau is extremely delicate and elegant, not very long but very enjoyable. Balanced body, fresh with enough acidity to age for a long time. Botrytis could be a bit more present. I personally enjoyed it very much and most of the participants scored this wine very well too! 90/100 (Alain, France)

10/01 LA TOUR BLANCHE - 1er Grand Cru Classé - Sauternes
The French State owns this château. Very nice nose dominated by banana, honey, and fresh mint, pretty voluptuous. Very well made wine with a precise mouth, very wide and impressive, rich (butter - roasted almonds). A first class wine for a very cheap price - I've seen it for 29 Swiss Francs / equivalent to 17 US$!. A real BUY. 91/100 (Alain, France)

10/01 COUTET (Barsac) - 1er Grand Cru Classé
Pale yellow-greenish colour. Citrus nose, fresh cut grass, buttery, and almond. A bit unpleasant in mouth with a kind of polish wax taste (Sauvignon?) - dry finish (when compared to the other Sauternes wines). Some doubts on the winemaking? 82/100 (Alain, France)

10/01 NAIRAC (Barsac) - 2ème Cru Classé
Pretty dark gold colour. A lot of botrytis, crystallized fruits, oranges. Very fresh, well balanced body and a pretty long wine. A very nice bottle to enjoy all through the next decade 2005 - 2015. 90 / 100 (Alain, France)

10/01 DOISY DAENE (Barsac) - 2ème Cru Classé
Paler than Nairac. The nose is a bit closed but reveals discreet banana, peers, honey and caramel aromas. In mouth, this wine is powerful, but has a lot of finesse too. Long and complex wine, slightly salted (iodized) on the tongue. A Very enjoyable and classical Sauternes wine. 89 / 100 (Alain, France)

10/01 CLIMENS - 1er Grand Cru Classé - Sauternes
Pale gold colour. Weird nose: almonds, caramel, but slightly moisten too. The wine has an unpleasant structure, dry, a bit sour and "dirty". Definitely a technical problem with this bottle (cork?). To be revisited. (Alain, France)

10/01 LAFAURIE-PEYRAGUEY - 1er Grand Cru Classé - Sauternes
Deep gold. Very open nose with flavours of citrus, crystallized fruit, quince jam. Lots of fruits - peers, mirabelle plums, remarkable balance and freshness, long and powerful. Ends on a floral note (roses). A marvellous wine! 95 / 100 (Alain, France)

10/01 RIEUSSEC - 1er Grand Cru Classé - Sauternes
Beautiful gold. Very fruity nose: peers, apricots, mangoes, buttery and velvety impressions. Beautifully balanced structure, fat and thick substance. Excellent persistence. A wonderful and accomplished wine. 94 / 100 (Alain, France)

09/01 1989 Chateau de la Chartreuse, Sauternes
Beautiful golden colour (so much so that I was concerned it might be too old), but it was excellent on the nose, classic mature Sauternes, on the palate rich with noticeable botrytis, but a lightness of touch which made it far too drinkable! Not a long finish, but then I was gulping the next sip before the previous one had time to diminish! (Matthew Mellor, UK)

04/01 Château Climens 1991 1er Cru Sauternes-Barsac
Smoky, toasty, crème brulée nose leads to a sensationally rich spicy palate with some apricotty botrytis notes and great length and complexity. As in all great Sauternes, the sweetness is well balanced by acidity. Excellent (Jamie Goode, UK)

03/01 86 Yquem
Greengage and barley-sugar are both within it's infinite range - an extra octave at each end compared to any other Sauternes. Complexity has emerged, but through nuance rather than the compelling paradoxes of maturity. A fraction less penetrating than it might be aromatically, so it's one notch from perfection. Absurdly concentrated and long. Drink according to how you like your Sauternes. I'd wait. (George Horton, UK)

03/01 1995 Ch. de Fargues
Orange gold. Some obvious alcohol, but a ripe, forward nose of apricots, peaches, figs, botrytis, some cream. Quite sweet, lots of herb tea, this is fairly well-balanced and weighty, with some alcohol on the finish. Lots of pear on this as well. Very nice wine, with some way to go. (Yixin Ong, Singapore/UK)

03/01 1989 Ch. de Fargues
Same colour. More obviously Semillon with lanolin, coconut but also fresh milk, honey and botrytis with tons of fruit. A bit too cloying in the mouth without sufficient balancing acidity, but with a nice smoky finish. Less impressive than the 1995. (Yixin Ong, Singapore/UK)

03/01 1986 Ch. de Fargues
Slightly darker. Quite open, with tons of melons and figs, but some canned fruit and candy notes that I’m not quite sure about. Very giving, but somewhat lacking on the palate, and a very slight bitter edge that I’m not too pleased about. Well-structured, though, and quite drinkable now. (Yixin Ong, Singapore/UK)

03/01 1983 Ch. de Fargues
This had a very nice evolved nose with lots of smoke, minerals, straw, citrus fruit and botrytis. A lighter, more lithesome wine, but with some real serious concentration and a lot of elegance, this was probably my favourite of the Fargues, with a great finish. Yummy wine. (Yixin Ong, Singapore/UK)

03/01 1994 Ch. d’Yquem
Medium gold. Concentrated nose of pears, pineapple, very primary right now. Thick and full of flavour in the mouth, but very refined and long. Not showing everything right now, but this is good stuff. (Yixin Ong, Singapore/UK)

03/01 1990 Ch. d’Yquem
The bottle we got was slightly oxidised, I reckon, although the palate was wonderful and packed with fruit and honey. Very nice in the mouth, but I think I have to reserve judgement on this. There’s also the problem of having very high expectations of this wine, I suppose. (Yixin Ong, Singapore/UK)

03/01 1988 Ch. d’Yquem
This was also slightly out of condition, but it got somewhat better to reveal a very rich nose, with rather (for me) obvious oak. Lots of herbs in the background, with impressive structure, this is a definite keeper. (Yixin Ong, Singapore/UK)

03/01 1982 Ch. d’Yquem
My oh my. Wonderful nose bursting with nuts, caramel, coconut, fruit, honey, lavender and botrytis. Very nice on the palate, with so much going on that it’s difficult to pin down, and a real lively acidity that makes this wine stand out. Very fresh indeed, and a great clotted cream and honey finish. My wine of the night by far. Showing very well indeed. (Yixin Ong, Singapore/UK)

N.B. some even older Bordeaux notes are archived here.