This is an archive of tasting notes from participants in the UK wine forum, with notes from before 2005








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

N.B. older Bordeaux notes are archived here.

reds - whites

red

03/04 1970 La Lagune (Haut Medoc)
Dark strawberry red, I found soft blackcurrants and light wood shavings. Initially, the acidity and light red fruits bounce along quite merrily to a short finish that was pleasant. With air, it gained body and complexity on both nose and palate. 90+/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

03/04 1982 La Lagune (Haut Medoc)
A very dark strawberry red, with mint, red plums and a little old wood on the nose. The powerful palate showed vibrant acidity to start with and continued with a tannic finish that lasted well. With 30 minutes air in the glass, this wine mysteriously imploded. 92/100 while it was alive. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

03/04 1970 Leoville Barton (St Julien)
Deep strawberry body with an orange rim. I found strong volatile acidity (VA) on the nose and sweet decaying red fruit. The palate was flat with not much happening. This bottle was over the hill. Not rated. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

03/04 1988 Chateau Gruard Larose (St Julien)
Decanted 4 hours in advance. Dark red plum, the nose was animalistic, smoky and exhibited saddle leather, almost like a fine N.Rhone red. Silky palate start, the mature fruit are held well by slightly drying tannins. Good acidity. 91/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

03/04 1975 Leoville Lascases (St Julien)
The gallant friend who brought this along did say it needed plenty of decanting time. With all of the excitement going on, this received no more than 15 minutes double (and trickle) decanting. Dark plum red, I found nuances of cigar box and mint on the nose. A silky palate was mostly closed and I did not get a chance to let it open up. Difficult to rate, but for me 91/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

03/04 Chateau Chasse Spleen 1985
mature brick red, classic claret nose, cedar with a bit of tobacco,attractive, quite structured and chunky on the palate, slightly rustic, but well balanced, reasonable finish with some tannins. Good (Paul Redfern, UK)

03/04 Chateau La Lagune 1985
Brighter red than the Chasse Spleen,nose rather closed and time in the glass and a lot of swirling failed to bring a lot out, much better to drink, quite classy sweetish fruit, elegant and balanced. Good (Paul Redfern, UK)

03/04 Chateau Cos d'Estournel 1985
deep rich red with a little maturity, rich mocha spicy nose, rich, long, complex with a very pronounced finish and nice clean bite.Excellent (Paul Redfern, UK)

03/04 Chateau Vieux Chateau Certan 1985
Lightish red with some maturity,big nose, lot of richness, very plush on palate, sumptuous Pomerol despite the cabernet content.Fully ready.Excellent (Paul Redfern, UK)

03/04 Chateau Certan de May 1985
rather brown colour which did not bode well. Slightly rusty nose slightly oxidized, confirmed a poor bottle (probably storage), surprisingly rich on the palate, with great length. A shame as I am sure that a good bottle would be excellent. Not rated (Paul Redfern, UK)

03/04 Chateau Leoville Barton 1985
V deep dark colour, is this really 18 yearsold?gorgeous nose although still very primary and fresh, blackcurrants,silky lots of depth, rich and silky on the palate with some firm tannins underneath the fruit.A great effort and will still improve. Excellent/Outstanding (Paul Redfern, UK)

03/04 Chateau Leoville Lascases 1985
dark red no maturity, cedar, lead pencil, a lot of depth but really quite reticent, rich at first but did not continue into the middle palate, but then a long finish with lots of tannin still. A difficult one as still immature. When will any of the Delon wines mature?will I still be alive?benefit of the doubt. Excellent (Paul Redfern, UK)

03/04 Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste 1985
clear red some maturity, lead pencils and some mint lovely nose, smooth complex some black fruits, lovely balance with a smooth finish with fine tannins.Delicious mature claret.Very good/excellent (Paul Redfern, UK)

03/04 Chateau Pichon Lalande 1985
Rich red fairly mature colour, sexy nose, coffee beans,chocolate,tobacco, very Pichon, rich smooth seamless, gorgeous, softish,concentrated but lovely balance. Excellent/outstanding (Paul Redfern, UK)

03/04 Chateau Cheval Blanc 1985
mid red with a little browning, nose indescribable, an ever changing wave of aromas, quite fabulous, finely balanced with enough structure to keep it completely fresh, gorgeous combination of fruit and minerals. Oustanding and voted WOTN (Paul Redfern, UK)

03/04 Chateau Haut Brion 1985
brick red colour, another fabulous nose, warm earth and bricks and tobacco, beautifully balanced, elegant, lots of fruit, endless finish. Fantastic wine and just shaded WOTN for me and a very narrow second behind Cheval Blanc for the group. Outstanding (Paul Redfern, UK)

03/04 Chateau Margaux 1985
I was much looking forward to this as I had never previously had it but I was a little disappointed. V dark rich red, a lovely elegant weave of red fruits, very intense, but I detected a hint of something not right as did one or two others but we were in the minority. Much discussion ensued.On the palate it is very young and a bit awkward but with masses of fruit and intensity with loads of tannin. This was not showing at its best IMO but still rates an excellent. (Paul Redfern, UK)

03/04 Figeac 1986
Deep rubis colour turning slightly orange on the rim. Open nose of ripe fruit (plums and overripe strawberry). Two hours later, the structure is getting more complex adding nice tertiary aromas - leather, habana cigar, spices. On the palate, the wine starts on a ripe fruity note, but quickly, tannins dominate. Medium finish which unfortunately stays on the tannin. This type of texture is usually quite unlikely for a 18+ years old wine. I'm a bit concerned by this evolution: the different elements of the structure are ageing normally (ripening of the fruit, tertiary flavors etc.) but the tannins remain strong and even a bit harsh (Alain Bringolf)

03/04 1982 Fourcas-Hosten, Listrac Cru Bourgeois
Just a Cru Bourgeois from a lesser commune to start with, but nonetheless, a pleasant wine that showed quite well. Smooth, soft and mellow, nice dark berry fruit, figs and vanilla. Nice balancing acidity. (Phil Shorten, UK)

03/04 1982 d'Issan, Margaux 3eme Cru Classe
This wine had faded in colour significantly and was barely more than pale garnet. Very soft on the palate with touches of red berries, but the fruit was really starting to drop out of this wine. Would have been better a few years back. (Phil Shorten, UK)

03/04 1982 Palmer, Margaux 3eme Cru Classe
Much the same as the d'Issan, faded in colour. Nicely perfumed bouquet and the palate did show just enough sweet red fruits, but I think this wines best years are behind it. (Phil Shorten, UK)

03/04 1982 Ducru-Beaucaillou, St Julien 2eme Cru Classe
Medium garnet fading to a bricked rim. Very classical mature St Julien nose of tobacco/cigar box and pencil shavings with a touch of vanilla. Silky smooth on the palate with nice dry blackcurrant fruit and minerals. Good finish. At its peak and a better showing than the two Margaux. (Phil Shorten, UK)

03/04 1982 Leoville-Las-Cases, St Julien 2eme Cru Classe
Appearance - read as per the previous wine. Very enticing bouquet of toffee apple, cinnamon, nutmeg and cherries. A very elegant silky complex palate with lots going on - mint, cedar, and ripe berry fruit. Long finish and wine of the night so far. (Phil Shorten, UK)

03/04 1982 Pichon Longueville Baron de Pichon, Pauillac 2eme Cru Classe
Clear medium garnet fading significantly towards the rim. Fully mature nose of earth, tobacco, marshmallows and woodsmoke. Dry smooth palate, slightly creamy red fruits, balanced acidity. I liked it; most preferred the other Pichon that followed. (Phil Shorten, UK)

03/04 1982 Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac 2eme Cru Classe
Appearance - as per the preceding wine. Quite an interesting minty nose with cedar and touches of ripe red fruits. I initially found the palate somewhat disjointed and unbalanced, but revisited the wine later and it had come together - surprised to see so much sweet fruit in a red Bordeaux wine - evidence of the warm vintage (born out further by some of the wines tasted later). Many heralded this wine as magnificent, but it didn't really do it for me. (Phil Shorten, UK)

03/04 1982 Mouton Baron Philippe, Pauillac 5eme Cru Classe
Clear medium garnet core fading to a bricked rim. Weird nose - very pronounced character of biltong and caramel/toffee - for mine, this was the ripeness of the vintage coming through (I also noticed this same character on some of the other wines). Dry, medium bodied, fine grained tannins still providing a bit of structure, but the fruit is dropping out and the acidity is prominent. Tad short and simple.

03/04 1982 Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Pauillac 5eme Cru Classe
Clean developed nose - quite tight and unyielding. Dry, medium bodied, nice smooth palate - mixed berries and minerals - no more to be said - lovely wine that I could drink all night. (Phil Shorten, UK)

03/04 1982 Grand-Puy-Ducasse, Pauillac 5eme Cru Classe
Appearance - as per the GPL. Nose - "Musar-like" dried dog turd, bitumen and caramel - my guess is that the grapes for this wine were picked late and very ripe. On the palate, sweet, ripe red jube fruit, medium bodied. Good, but a tad odd. (Phil Shorten, UK)

03/04 1982 Cos d'Estournel, St Estephe 2eme Cru Classe
Mature earthy nose also showing soft berry fruit and dark spices reflected on the palate. No words needed on this wine. Outstanding, and it's got the structure to easily go for several more years as well. There's still a touch of St Estephe austerity, but in a very positive sense of the word. (Phil Shorten, UK)

03/04 1982 Montrose, St Estephe 2eme Cru Classe
Much like the Cos, but richer and plumper - perhaps there's more Merlot in the blend? Either way, it's a stunner, nearing perfection. It and the Cos were the two joint wines of the night. (Phil Shorten, UK)

03/04 1982 La Mission Haut-Brion, Pessac Leognan Cru Classe
Clean nose, developed - smoky dark fruits. Soft velvety palate, sweet fruit, touches of leather and licorice. Another outstanding wine. At its peak, but will hold for a number of years yet. (Phil Shorten, UK)

03/04 1982 Cheval-Blanc, St Emilion 1er Grand Cru Classe
Clear bright medium garnet fading slightly at the rim - darker in colour than the other wines. Clean nose, still quite tight and relatively youthful - pencil shavings and blackcurrant leaf - the Cabernet Franc aromatics are starting to come through, but the overall impression is that the wine is locked up. On the palate, dry, firmly structured, very fine grained tannins, nice elegant dry wine, blackcurrant, dark chocolate, dark berry fruit. For mine, this wine still needs at least another 5 years in the cellar before it will really strut its stuff, but the structure bodes for a good future. (Phil Shorten, UK)

02/04 Chateau Fonplégade 1979
Red, ghastly, thin, insipid rubbish. Bad news is I have another bottle and I wouldn't cook with it and tonight's was in 'perfect' condition (ie no oxidation, TCA, etc - it was just dull, crap wine0. Why on earth would a merchant keep this for 25 years before selling it?. (David W Smith, UK)

02/04 Ch. Caronne St-Gemme 2000, Medoc
Dark in colour, it has an intense, cedar wood nose and is long and grippy in the mouth. I should imagine this is the sort of well made claret that will develop nicely for 5-7 years, and probably last a lot longer than that (the 1979 is still drinkable). Although it has some tobacco flavours, it is not in any way weedy or unripe. **(*) A good wine which tastes just like it should, and well priced at a tenner or so from Majestic. (Joel Hopwood, UK)

02/04 Leoville Las Cases 1962
2 bottles of this shown, one corked TCA - shame. The second was a stunner. Still youthful looking with oinly a hint of browning. Stable farmayard secondary bordeaux nose with well integated tannin- although the tannis were drying out a wee bit. I though 62 was a poor year but once again it's a case of producer, producer, producer. (David Bennett, UK)

02/04 Leoville Las Cases 1979
Looking youthful! pure fruit nose of cassis very well integrated with the now fading oak. perhaps a little light but I really enjoyed it. (David Bennett, UK)

02/04 Leoville Las Cases 1982
The bottle that I have been waiting for - as had everyone round the table...No sign of ageing at all, intially the nose was VERY closed. Good and suficient weight of fruit and definitely "richer" thatn the next bottle (the 83) on re-tasting later. I think the 82 vintage was over hyped slightly (David Bennett, UK)

02/04 Leoville Las Cases 1983
Interestingly my note says that the nose and rim show more age than the 82. still q1uite closed and not particulaly aromatic. Some secondary flavours and Cf the 79 the fruit had all gone. If you pushed me hard the 83 showed better tonight than the 82 but the 83 has more development in the palate and nose. (David Bennett, UK)

02/04 Leoville Las Cases 1985
Classic stuff. Dense kernel fo lovely ripe fruit. This is classy stuff. A point now. (David Bennett, UK)

02/04 Leoville Las Cases 1986
Rich palate full colour and better "purity" than the 85. I think I mean that the acidity is higher and food is need with this. still a delightful drop and I woukld have the 85/86 combo over the 82/83 at this point. (David Bennett, UK)

02/04 Leoville Las Cases 1988
More farmyard on the nose and more fruit than the 86.Slightly harder tannins. Agin I liked it but not as much as the 85 or 86 (David Bennett, UK)

02/04 Leoville Las Cases 1989
From Magnum. Good depth pf colour not much tannin and I thought thin. Disappointing. (David Bennett, UK)

02/04 Leoville Las Cases 1990
Heaven, just sheer heaven. If the world ends tomorrow give me a glass/magnum of this today. Out shone all other wines on the night and STILL was stunnnig the next day on re-tasting. Much, much, better than 82/83/85/86/88. This wine is really classy. (David Bennett, UK)

02/04 Leoville Las Cases 1991
Shame to follow the last wine really but for an awful year this was OK. well Ok then it was thin, weedy, short,not much fruit and really outclassed. Should have been served after the 62. (David Bennett, UK)

02/04 Leoville Las Cases 1993
Stinky.Goold depth of colour. secondary development already and way ahead of the 83!. Good for the vintage though which again was awful.If this was a good price i'd have a case in the cellar for rainy days... (David Bennett, UK)

02/04 Leoville Las Cases 1994
Pure fruit but thin.? vintage rained on? short and not much tannin. the 93 is MUCH better. (David Bennett, UK)

02/04 Leoville Las Cases 1995
Massive concentration of fruit om nose and palate. Huge depth of smooth tannin and the fruit ought to go all the way. This is too young and needs 10+ years. Then i will really shine. (David Bennett, UK)

02/04 Leoville Las Cases 1997
If you have some of this drink it NOW!. It is a point but will go like the 93. The oak is a litle prominent at them moment and the fruit is submerged beneath it BUT the fruit is there and nothing that would stop me from destoying the tannins with cheese to see how much fruit there actually was. Try this with goat's cheese to get rid of the tannin and the fruit will shine...which is exactly what I did the following night. (David Bennett, UK)

02/04 Chateau Fontenil 1995
Allegedly an RP 87 pointer and fit to 2008; sadly - this was a bit poo. It had none of the fruit I remember, looked a little murkier than I was expecting and tannins seemed to have gone up not down (not that I remember it as being anything other than immediately approachable) and suspect if I knew what I was talking about that it might have been touched by the hand of taint. (Chris East, UK)

02/04 Reserve de la Comtesse, Pauillac 1997
Decanted for an hour or so before drinking. Lovely cedarey claret nose and, as Lorna points out the initial impression in the mouth is very promising. The wine then singularly fails to deliver. No stuffing whatsoever. Still a good, maybe very good wine but the gap between promise and delivery is stark. Either this never had the fruit it needs to match all the other good things going on here or it has dried out. My guess is for the former. (Mark Pearce, UK)

02/04 Chateau Batailley Grand Cru Classe Cinquieme cru 1995, Paulliac
Deep purple in colour and quite dense looking. When initially opened it was quite closed and didn't reveal much more than some basic blackcurrant aromas. However it was decanted 3 hours before drinking and after this time it had opened out to reveal lots of ripe black fruits and smokey aromas. Again, initially it was very tight and tannic and, while not brutish, was certainly not giving much away on the palate. Again though, after the 3 hours decanting it had softened up considerably and was showing much more of it's ripe blackcurrant fruit and very good balance with the tannin and acidity. There were also hints of new oak and fresh minerality on the finish. Very good but certainly needs longish decanting at this stage of it's evolution. Drink now - 2015. (Paul Anderson, UK)

02/04 Château La Mission-Haut-Brion 1993
Deep coloured, fine nose of earthy fruity complexity. Lovely, medium-bodied weight, though perhaps a little lacking in concentration (but who am I to fault these people?!). Smooth, very mellow, with a prickle of spice and noticeable but not disagreeable tannin on the finish. I can't imagine that many better wines were made in this vintage. Very good plus. (Matthew Mellor , UK)

01/04 Les Forts de Latour 2000
Very dark purple with violet hues, somewhat darker than the 1999. Meaty, concentrated and ripe Bordeaux nose with a minty Cabernet Sauvignon character dominating. Extracted, sharply delineated (with some rough edges from the acidity notably), almost glassy in fact, meaty, dark and brooding. Shows a lot of breed but clearly to young to be fully assessed today. Quite lovely creamy floweriness in aroma and a general sense of opulence, fuller-flavoured than most Latour wines on this tasting, with a cleaner, riper and more direct cherry character. Very long. Very impressive indeed, showing a somewhat exotic-perfumed style of Cabernet that one would not expect from this château. In fact when retasted later in the course of the evening (say after one and a half hours – note that wines were double decanted 3 hours prior to the tasting but glasses were never refilled) this is showing more and more caramel, vanilla fudge and crème brûlée character on a still discernible coloured chalk-like, Cabernet-typical background, so much that the word “New World” does not seem totally out of context despite the good fresh grape juiciness and quite lovely, if really a bit superficial, thickness and tenderness. Also seems a bit shorter in mouth than initially, and less elegant after a while in the glass? Surely and excellent wine, though one that raises questions of terroir identity and style more than others IMO. Approx. 88-89(-90?) (Nerval, Poland)

01/04 Les Forts de Latour 1999
Very dark violet-purple. This is showing by a degree greener on the nose with a mint- and black olive-scented airy note dominating, followed by a good core of crunchy cherry; more fused and harmonious and more classically Cabernet Sauvignon in aroma than the 2000 above. Concentrated but not very long in mouth compared to other vintages; a slightly spiked bitter-glassy structure emerges on the finish. Yet this shows very attractive density and sweetness of fruit on the palate, and I think deeper and more complete character than the 2000 today, despite just mildly off aromas of fresh-fishy saline extract (from the terroir??), parsley & butter snail sauce, musk and sweat. In fact these aromatic elements grow with time in the glass and the wine seems to fade, retaining only a meaty-almondy extract and losing quite a portion of its fruit, so perhaps long decanting is not recommended with this vintage. But never reaches the superficiality of the 2000, and is perhaps the more balanced of the two IMO, also the one that – thanks to more restraint – I would prefer to drink today, especially with food. Approx. (87-)88-91 (Nerval, Poland)

01/04 Les Forts de Latour 1996
Changing colour just slightly compared to the younger vintages: no violet hues, still a very compact dark purple with not much change at the rim. Much more classic Médoc Cabernet Sauvignon style on the nose here, with bell pepper, mint and almost biting mentholly greenness and iodine; opaque, almost milky-meaty in density, very tight and apparently going through a dumb phase today as any 1996 would be expected to do. Thickness and density are again key words for the palate impression, the whole showing impressively ripe but lacking some freshness to my tastes, perhaps too mouth-coating and meaty-dense to give a balanced impression and more assertive power to the fruit. Lead pencil dry austerity on the finish which I described as “genetic Cabernet Sauvignon” in my notes. Shows some reserve but paradoxically does not seem so strongly structured today; in fact the tannins are much less iron-cast and tightly-knit than in, say, 1999. On the first tasting this seems just too thick and extracted to be really balanced for the very long haul, I thought. Time in the glass helps a bit in that a degree of elegance is adding to the whole, although the finish again seems a bit boiled meat-bitter and I could not help thinking a touch more acidity would have helped for overall balance (see lower for discussion of this in 1996 Latour). In fact, although clearly a very good wine, more typically varietal and by a margin preferable to the 1995, this seems positively blunt in mouth, slightly hollow, and a vegetal, almost corky element is appearing on the nose after a while in the glass. It might well integrate with ageing time but in any case the qualitative leap of the more recent vintages is evident. Approx. 87-88(+) (Nerval, Poland)

01/04 Les Forts de Latour 1995
Colour almost as above. Very different aromatically, far from the cool-climate restraint of the preceding, with notes of vanilla ice-cream and exotic fruit sorbet, woman's perfume and beaten egg, later even some cornichon and chlorine perhaps. Lean, round, immediate, juicy, pleasantly fruit-driven in mouth and more bourgeon de vigne in overall character, as the French put it. Attractive but although the sweet juiciness is undoubtedly a quality here, it seems curiously unanchored as the wine lacks much body and length. Some balsamico sharpness appearing with time. Develops aromatically in the glass, with notes of roasted coffee and crunchy red currant (almost a sweet red wine note really). But remains hollow and slightly boiled throughout, I think, lacking elegance and freshness and the least exciting of the Les Forts de Latour vintage IMO. Approx. 86 (Nerval, Poland)

01/04 Château Latour 2001
The colour is a slightly darker and meatier purple than the Forts de Latour 2000. Deep and brooding in aroma, meaty but clean even in the salted pork note it displays initially, rounded off by some new oak. Lots of spice appearing on the nose with time in the glass but also an impression of aromatic hollowness and simplicity. Very dense, almost soupy in mouth, seemingly woody-dry on attack but then taking off with enticing fruit intensity; in fact this seems impressively integrated and consistent for a wine bottled four or five months before (and compared to the still somewhat disjointed 2000 FdL). Lots of fruit sweetness (cherry and blackcurrant spread), generous, chocolatey; very long finish. But perhaps not entirely clean on the nose, with slightly vapid aromas of stale meat appearing? Stays rather monolithic with time in the glass, with the generosity of fruit and texture accented by a subsidiary caramel note. A well-balanced wine in the modern Bordeaux style, though I think to a degree hollow or immediate (today?), and one that I personally find too soft and lean to be really exciting. Approx. 87-89. (Nerval, Poland)

01/04 Château Latour 1999
Darker if slightly less nuanced purple colour than the 2001. Aged raw meat and roasted coffee dominate on the nose coupled with cherry juice, some lead pencil and old wood, and a welcome touch of citrusy freshness. Textured in mouth, drier and not as generous as the 2001 today, long, though not reaching the impressive length of the above; sharply mint-flavoured on the finish which is very tannic and almost abrupt in power. Not as expressive today, in fact rather closing up in the glass, with the same impression of hollowness of the 2001 tough perhaps less problematic because of that; also one of the few Latour wines tasted today that show any sign of alcohol. Develops more coffee and some fruit compote after a while, as well as some nicely-grained but vegetal-tasting tannins. Relating to the 2001 grand vin in a similar fashion as the 1999 FdL did to the 2000, and I think also in this case I prefer the older vintage for balance and integration. An impressive 1999 in my book. Approx. 88-89 (Nerval, Poland)

01/04 Château Latour 1997
Slightly lighter dark purple than either of the above vintages, with a minor amaranth rim. Very bell-peppery on the nose, again with spiced pork rind and citrusy notes already discernible in the 1999; good elegance, even finesse of perfume here, though fading relatively quickly in the context of this tasting: after fifteen minutes in the glass more vapid, stemmy or chloriney scents appear. Unexpected sweetness and ripeness of fruit on the palate, warm, round, attractive, with a good, medium-long, vaguely marzipan-scented finish. Less backbone than other vintages of course, although I got the impression that the tannins were finer-grained, two things I would not usually associate with one another. Overall quite impressively textured and dense for the vintage, but surely even softer than the already (to me) excessively soft 1999 and 1996, hence the least balanced of the bunch and a wine that relatively speaking delivers little more than sensual pleasure. But then again why should sensual drinking pleasure be deemed less valuable than intellectual pleasure of analyzing a “better” vintage's balance? In any case I would be drinking my bottles now if I had any. Approx. 87-89 (Nerval, Poland)

01/04 Château Latour 1996
Quite amazingly darker (and cooler, less ruby-hued) purple than the 2001, with almost no rim. Very sweet and rather oaky on the nose with dominant notes of vanilla ice-cream and milkshake, backed up by almost flowery suave character and a more austere though still highly ripe meaty depth. A nose of undoubted breed and noblesse, though perhaps less individual than one would expect from the vintage and the producer (I took a small sample home and gave to taste blind to an experienced taster who thought it was a good supertuscan). Less interesting on the palate due to a general lack of fruit expression (dumb phase?), showing very structured and grainy, strongly alcoholic to my tastes, and very long. Airing time – indicated by Mr. Engerer as a crucial factor – helps a bit by introducing a lemon zest aromatic freshness, but despite the enticing texture this remains slightly opaque and muted throughout the afternoon. What appears crucial to me in this wine is the almost complete lack of sensually detectable acidity on the palate, an element which makes the wine taste very lean and soft (though perhaps not exactly flabby), and surely “unbalanced” to my tastes. Of course I am used to different styles of wine (mainly Italians) and a different kind of balance (too much acidity and tannins is what I usually find superlative balance), and of course I have already voiced my distrust towards Cabernet Sauvignon as a grape variety in general. Approx. 88-89 (Nerval, Poland)

01/04 Château Latour 1994
The colour is very dark, almost on the level of the 1996. Lovely fresh cherry and blackcurrant confiture on the nose, plus some lettucey greenness and, again, inviting lemony aromatic freshness. Secondarizing a bit in aroma, with coffee and tobacco appearing at various times; very harmonious and fused. Has quite some backbone on the palate with not exactly charming tannins, if somewhat round and immediate especially on the finish. But the fruit presence and length are superlative for the vintage, and clearly worth of premier grand cru status (if the status has any sense, which to me it hasn't). Getting perhaps drier and meatier on the palate with time in the glass, and loses some of its impact (especially vividness and clarity) on the finish which is the most problematic element of the whole. But a wine that I found succulent to taste today, more human-sized and better-balanced than other vintages here, in part thanks to the sensually more present acidity, in part to a slightly more transparent texture which let the fruit speak more directly. This can usually be found discounted and appears relatively to be a good buy for Latour. Approx. 88-90+ (Nerval, Poland)

01/04 Château Latour 1988
A slightly warmer amaranth shade to a medium purple colour showing a bit of its age. Unfortunately one of the two bottles on tasting, the one I was served from, proved to be slightly off (either light corkiness or another defect), evident in a slightly musty-corky note on the nose and a metallic-glassy sharpness on the palate. Aromatically this was a bit reminiscent of mustard at first, then opening with poultry broth and duck or pheasant meat, soy sauce and garden greens. Since I never was entirely sure the bottle was off (and didn't manage to have a sip from the other) I did take full notes, including the impression of excessive roundness and weakness in mouth, with a woody bitterness on the finish marring an otherwise pleasantly fruity and harmonious whole. The last sip brought a quite lovely mousse au chocolat aroma. Difficult (and perhaps dishonest) to rate but this bottle approx. 87-89? (Nerval, Poland)

01/04 Cissac 1989
Well I have to say pretty damn good - as people say a slightly dry style but still plenty enough fruit and only marginal browning on the rim. Good deep clear colour and complex nose. Decent length. Medium body. It accompanied a beef dinner with style. No real bottle variation - both opened the same day. I reckon it would have been good for at least a couple of years yet and I don't go for aged Bordeaux normally. (Steve Lane, UK)

01/04 1985 Chateau La Tour Haut Brion (Graves)
Dull rose red, with a slight onion brown at the rim. A nose of green pepper and a nuance of old wood barrels lead to a silky length which was simple and uninspiring. This medium bodied red is fully mature and should be drunk now. 84/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

01/04 1989 Pichon Baron (Pauillac)
This was not for sale and had been brought in by my contact at the company. Tasted double blind. A slightly green nose initially then led to blackcurrants and well balanced oak. The tannic structure supports the fruit at its core, and this certainly has a long length. 93/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

01/04 1989 Chateau Tetre-Roteboeuf (St. Emilion)
This was not for sale and had been brought in by a friend of my contact at the company and I was fortunate to have tried it. Tasted double blind. A soft nose of ground coffee and crème caramel. The palate shows a ripe tannic structure, is balanced and offers layers of complexity. Certainly a profound wine, this stood head and shoulders above the wines tasted that evening. Given its price, that does not surprise me. 95/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

01/04 Leoville Barton 1993
Having had a happy experience over Christmas with Pichon Lalande 1993 I thought I would broach my first bottle of LB last w/e. Medium red/purple good depth, blackcurrant and some lead pencil quite austere at first with a little greenness, quite firm on palate, minerals, but opened later to give fruit and some complexity with a well balanced finish. This wine is very good but could do with a little more time. Not as attractive or classy as the Pichon Lalande.Still widely available at £250 in bond and at that price very good value. On experience so far top end 1993 Bordeaux are showing well. (paul redfern, UK)

01/04 1988 Guraud Larose (St Julien)
A well thought of claret from a classic year, this crowd pleaser was a dark red, with a touch of herbaceousness and a balanced nose of wood and mature fruit. A touch of pleasing sweetness, the acidity is fresh and the good length provides a different cabernet sauvignon benchmark to the previous two wines. It did lack the power of the Californian Cabernets but scored well for subtlety. Ready to drink. 91/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

01/04 Chateau de Fieuzal Pessac Leognan 95
Blackberries, earthy and plummy. Touch of brett. Very dense and a bit "furry" in the mouth due to youth, but good depth and promise. E (Paul Armstrong, UK)

01/04 Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou St Julien 89
Good acid spine. Good iron-y depth of flavour. Lots of blackcurrants, some green hints too. Tannic and impressive but a bit young to enjoy for now. E (Paul Armstrong, UK)

01/04 Chateau Leoville Barton St Julien 89
Sweet fruit, a slight spicy prickle to this, nice integrated acid gives it life on the tongue. VG/E (Paul Armstrong, UK)

01/04 Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Graves 75
This had people confused, with a mature bordeaux palate but a nose that was perhaps more suggestive of a sweet earthy old burgundy. Not great, but an intrigiuing old bottle nonetheless. VG (Paul Armstrong, UK)

01/04 1990 Chateau Cissac (Haut Medoc, Bordeaux)
I bought this on release and cellared it ever since. A dark strawberry red with a strangely muted nose that was earthy and gave a dash of old wood. It did not seem to me that it was TCA affected, although it may have been below my threshold. The elegant palate shows a little presence but the mid palate drops off sharply and the finish is barely there. Some tannins are still evident and I believe that this straightforward claret should have been drunk a few years ago when there was more pleasure to be had. 82/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

white

02/04 2000 Castelnau de Suduiraut AC Sauternes
13%. The second wine of Suduiraut. Mid gold. Not an especially Sauternes-y nose: more Tokay like. Not overly botrytised. Attractive citrussy nose. Lovely attack. Very attractive, very well balanced. Very concentrated finish. (Andrew Stevenson, UK)

02/04 Chateau Filhot, Sauternes 1997
From a half. Struck me as very pale for a Sauternes. Delicate marmaladey nose. Very "pretty" palate with hints of botrytis but not loads. Nice wine, if lacking the density I expect from Sauternes. Very good, but plenty of people did much better in Sauternes in '97. (Mark Pearce, UK)

01/04 1990 Chateau Filhot - 2eme Cru - Sauternes
£26.85 (US$46, 38 Euros). The first bottle I tried was corked and had to be replaced! The second was much more what I had been expecting. Deep yellow, the nose displayed was clean and fruit driven. A lovely ripe fruit sweetness, balanced well by the acidity and good length. This can, and should, be drunk now although it will hold for several years to come. 91/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

11/03 Castelnau de Suduiraut 1997
Warm gold. Orange (including peel), honey, apricot and a touch of botrytis. Not the very sweetest of Sauternes, but has good balance and freshness. (Jan-Tore Egge, Norway)

11/03 Château d'Arche Sauternes 1985
Courtesy of Piotr. Medium golden-amber, a mature colour. Much moelleux in style with aromas of baked apples and honey, rather mature and completely secondary now, with (quite typically of aged Sauternes IME) a mild chemical note redolent of lanolin. Slightly drying in mouth, long, already rather soft and un-acidic, with a ripe banana flavour. A distant vestige of orange peel bitterness echoes on the finish. Pleasant to drink and good enough, but probably never was a great Sauternes, and is now completely ready to drink. (Nerval, Poland)

11/03 Château Le Druc de Perran Graves Supérieur 2001
Marek decided to make fun of us and served this blind, being sure that we never heard of the appellation. I came close enough by guessing Cadillac, though; and while Marek was impressed with this 5€ wine when he tasted it at the property, tonight it showed rather poor. Vegetal-woody and unconcentrated nose with a faint aura of corkiness, carrying on the palate with stemmy notes of (cheap) fortified Muscat, quince gelée and an overall impression of dilution. Not really recommendable. (Nerval, Poland)

11/03 Château Coutet 1983
Good year, good château, so why this wine? Served from a half with a very creamy and not overly acidic lemon tart. This had a beautiful gold colour, slightly burnt nose and no fruit whatsoever! Caramel in the mouth and sweet, not light but not full-on either. The wine has definite breed, but not on top form here. On this evidence, I wouldn't hold on to it any longer. Good plus plus. (Matthew Mellor, UK)

11/03 Siglas-Rabauld 1975
Creamy, apricotty nose. Very ripe and round, but with good acidity and a minerality to it. Very long. Most pleasing. (David Strange, UK)

11/03 Chateau Suduiraut 1989
Beautiful mature golden orange colour showing its power (14.5% alc. from memory) and glycerol. Very typical and intense honey and cough mixture nose. On the palate the wine holds it's sweetness and alcohol incredibly well, huge quantity of fruit, dark marmalade and apricot together with spice and creaminess. Tremendous length with a great streak of acicity keeping the wine very well balanced. A really lovely wine, with only a slightly overly alcoholic finish detracting from the overall impression. A- (Tim Haddon, UK)

11/03 La Fleurie Peyraguey 1996
showing as usual a plastic high nail varnish va nose which behind lurks a full-bodied, seriously botritized palate. Apricots, peaches, orange peel and vanilla flavours abound on the thick unctuous fungally fat palate. Good long finish-however I have never had a bottle of this that didn't show high va. (nick wise, UK)

11/03 1975 Chateau Y'quem
As soon as we realised the 1989 Huet was TCA affected, Nigel gained the attention of one of the waiters and whispered for a few seconds in his ear. Approximately two minutes later a golden bottle appeared. So, the rumours were true. Nigel raided his personal cellar at the restaurant to get this bottle. Very generous of him and we were grateful. Amber gold, the nose held our attention with a laser focus of ripe pineapple and barley sugar. The long and luscious mouthfeel had a good level of acidity and was excellent. As someone at our table remarked, “Y'quem is Y'quem”. 93/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

11/03 Chateau Dois-Vedrines 1990
Deep gold colour. Lovely, rich nose - this is at the marmalady, dense end of the Sauternes spectrum, although it does have some lifted, almost green notes in there as well. Not unsubtle, but perhaps a little bit clunky and heavy. Certainly very moreish :-) A good rather than great example. 3/5 (Lucian Holland, UK)

10/03 Ch. Rayne-Vigneau 1986
Gorgeous mature sauternes colour - deepish tarnised gold. Elegant honey and marmelade nose. Very good attack. Very clean and fresh tasting. Great acidity, and although there's a touch of caramel sweetness in the mouth, it is not at all cloying in any way. Very elegant. Very Good. (Andrew Stevenson, UK)

09/03 1986 Rayne Vigneau (half bottle)
This one was surprisingly pale but with a fine zingy nose, plenty of botrytis, medium sweet but plenty of vigour and good balance. Not the most powerful of Sauternes but a delicious well balanced bottle.Very good. (paul redfern, UK)

09/03 Rayne-Vigneau 1986
Strong botrytis, very honeyed and attractive. Palate that followed was somewhat simple though, with straight forward barley sugar flavour. Reasonable acid but short finish. Perhaps has nothing more to give, but good drinking nonetheless. (Nick Alabaster, UK)

09/03 La Tour Blanche 1983
Not as much botrytis, some honey but simpler on the nose. Palate not as dense in comparison. (Nick Alabaster, UK)

09/03 Lafaurie-Peyraguey 1997
Very volatile, really up your nose varnish remover styley. Some botrytis but the VA is off-putting. High toned palate too; OK but for me spoilt. (Nick Alabaster, UK)

09/03 Château Filhot 1997
A strange wine. Already a deepish yellow hue. Funny mix of classic Sauternes and unclean notes on the nose. Lots of botrytis, some subdued honey and apricots, but just not balanced. This wine reflects a good vintage in possibly unsuitable hands?) Moderate / good (in the context). (Matthew Mellor, UK

09/03 Château Roquefort 2001, Bordeaux Blanc
Deeper colour than expected. Must be a high proportion of Sémillon. But a grassy nose, Sauvignon-dominated, full and round in the mouth with cut-grass, sweet gooseberries. Very pleasing, well-balanced wine. Great value at £6.99. Very good. (Matthew Mellor, UK)

09/03 Chateau Masserau 1970 (Sauternes)
This bottle was a gift to me. It had been stored in a French cellar from the early 1970's until about two years ago. Bright gold and very clear. There were faint aromas of bees wax, marzipan and apricots. The palate is medium bodied, the barley sugar sweetness gathering steam and persisting for a good length. A clean finish, not cloying at all, this is fully mature. 92/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

08/03 Clos d'Yvigne Cuvée Nicholas Bergerac Sec 2000
13% abv (Booths). Quite a deep colour - coppery gold at the centre, fading to clear at the rim. Attractive nose - deep, buttery toast with more than a hint of gooseberry. Very good attack. Rich and rounded. Very ripe fruit. Good use of oak. Quite complex on palate. Very full and rounded. A pleasant spiciness develops on the finish with a certain floral note. Decent length. [Back label says it's a blend of Sauv. blanc, semillon and muscadelle, and fermented in oak for 9 months.] Very good. (Andrew Stevenson, UK)

07/03 Chateau Y'quem 1986 (Sauternes)
This was decanted a few hours earlier by its owner. A medium gold colour, I smelled barley sugar all the way. The intensity of sweetness on the palate that carries the barley sugar taste is impressive. Had our palates not been overwhelmed with the big reds earlier, I may have detected more subtleties. Excellent. 95/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

07/03 Chateau Richard Saussignac 2000
Rich and peachy, moderate botrytis, good but smooth acidity. Very moreish. VG/E (Paul Armstrong, UK)

06/03 No.1 Bordeaux de Dourthe, Bordeaux Blanc 2001
Enjoyed this, spritzy, clean, simple good quality brand. Well-made and decent value at £5.03. It went very well with a haddock fillet in roquefort and sourcream sauce. Good plus. (Matthew Mellor, UK)

06/03 Chateau Doisy Vedrines 70
Orange-liqueurish, good acidity, quite good botrytis. Being picky, it's just a shade "hot" to scale the heights, but this is a very satisfying sip indeed. E (Paul Armstrong, UK)

05/03 Suduiraut 1923
Wow... It is allways a thrill to open a 80 years old bottle (this one was for my father's 80th anniversary). The level in the bottle is upper shoulder. The cork was a bit difficult to get out as it broke into bits inside the bottle. I had no other choice than to decant the wine. Deep golden - caramel coloration. The nose is jumping out of the glass with rich and elegant caramel, sour orange, vanilla and floral flavours. On the palate this wine is sweet and smooth, not heavy at all and still with a strong core of fruit behind this wine. Some acidity comes by the end as the finish lasts for well over a minute. The next day I finished what remained in the bottle. Believe me - it had improved significantly as all the acidity had completely gone away! Such wines are the evidence of the extraordinary powers of Sauterne's ageability. 90/100. (Alain, Switzerland)

04/03 Chateau Doisy-Daene, Barsac, 1989
The bottle insists it's Sauternes, Mr Hugh Johnson says it's Barsac. Whatever. Classic nose, very rotten, very ripe peach and pear, lovely concentration and masses of RS on the palate, years in hand - not the most complex, but powerful and very much to my liking. (Stephan Muller, UK)

04/03 Ch. Richard, Saussignac, 2000
Golden, thick. Massive, monolithic nose of botrytis, botrytis, and some noble rot. Super sweet palate, quite sticky, but it certainly wasn't unpleasant. Just not hugely interesting, and won't do much in the future, but went nicely with crème brulee. (Stephan Muller, UK)

03/04 Fieuzal Blanc 98
Very similar. This was much older tasting that I was expecting. Slight grasiness on the nose, but this was hidden under candied fruits and caramel. Better balance in the mouth than the Beaucastel, it was a very full, mature old white Bordeaux. Only ever drunk these wines very young or very old, so perhaps its going thru a bad phase. (Cameron Clark, Holland)

02/03 Chateau Coutet 1988 – Barsac
I have a bottle of this and so was interested to see how it was developing. Light gold, the nose was strange, showing some VA. There was some sweetness on the tongue but the high acidity overpowered it. Out of balance, the consensus on my end of the table was that this needed much more time to straighten out. Nick suggested 20 years, I think I will need to retaste this wine in the years to come. Not rated. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

02/03 1971 Château Rieussec
I have had the '71 Yquem and Climens a handful of times each, but never before tasted Rieussec from this heralded vintage. Darker than the Climens and more in tune with the hue of Yquem, it is a brilliant golden color. Rich, but a lighter style more akin to Climens than the typical body density of Rieussec. I have yet to taste a '71 Sauternes/Barsac that I did not love and this is no exception. Shipped by Barrington-Limbert in London the alcohol was listed on their label as: 11-14° by volume. Lemon, waxy and lychee flavors here in a wine that is more about finesse than power. Great complexity and a finish that lingers on and on. Too bad this wasn't a Magnum! 95 points (Roy Hersh, USA)

02/03 Château Rieussec 1986 (half bottle)
pale gold (much paler than mature Rieussec usually is) elegant nose tropical fruits and a little botrytis (not the usual power and barley sugar I associate with Rieussec) on the palate lovely balance of fruit and sweetness with a touch of orange peel and a balanced finish. Not a flashy rieussec and more Barsac in style,but ready and verygood/excellent (Paul Redfern, UK)

02/03 1989 Château Filhot, 14% ABV Sauternes
Gold with pale hint. Nose closed to an extent (too cold?). Honeysuckle, mandarin and satsuma flavours, with lovely initial bite, but flavours fade quite quickly and the length is moderate only. Good. (Ray Abercromby, UK)

N.B. older Bordeaux notes are archived here.