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In alphabetical order of Château name. Reds before whites


Château d'Agassac, Ludon, Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel 1986
Rich ruby/purple to rim. Rather closed nose, but good blackcurrant fruit, a little vegetal. Very dumb when first opened, but blossomed over half an hour in the glass to show a lovely compact, quite muscular structure, with firm but well integrated tannin, good fruit and a lovely chewy mouth feel. Good body and concentration, lusciousness develops in glass. Decent length too. Very Good. Try again soon (02/97)

Château d'Angludet, Margaux, Cru Bourgeois 1995
Not tasted

Château d'Armailhac, Pauillac, 5th growth 1994
I bought a couple of bottles of this from UK supermarket Tesco a few years ago, when it was reduced to a very tempting price in a summer sale. I'm a big fan of the "big brother" of this wine, the '94 Mouton-Rothschild, but have to confess this was disappointing. The colour is quite young, a dark ruby just lightening at the rim. The nose offers attractive scents of modest blackcurrant and lots of cedar. On the plate the first impression is of rather dried, currant fruit. The sense of juicy blackcurrant richness is missing. Tannins are moderate, but a bit angular and awkward leading to a drying, slightly inky finish. I have another bottle to try in a few years, but I have serious doubts as to whether this will come into balance. (08/01)
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Château Batailley, 5th growth, Pauillac 1982
Solid, mature colour of ruby with a deep orange fringe. Lovely nose. No huge, but packed with ripe, sweet, cassis fruit. Beautifully soft and round on the palate, but well structured with perfectly balanced tannins and good, underpinning acidity. Plenty of alcohol and concentration too. Medium bodied. Very nice wine, with a generous character and fine, medium-long finish. Mature but no hurry to drink. 10 years ahead of it I guess. (01/98). Label image.

Château Beychevelle, St-Julien, 4th growth 1985
I have a soft spot for this wine as it was the first Fine Wine I bought by the case. Stunning example of a nicely mature claret. Deep ruby tinged with brick red. A smokey, blackcurrant and lead pencil nose, full of finesse. Medium bodied on the palate with lots of cassis fruit and cedar. Extremely elegant yet at the same time warm and opulently textured. Long, long finish. Absolutely brilliant. Drink over next 5 years (01/96) Stunning. At the glorious peak of its drinking surely? For me, swept away the excellent '83 Las-Cases drunk at the same dinner. So effortlessly combining elegance, length, structure, sweet fruit and opulence. Wonderful package of components: succulent, cedary bouquet, rich, plummy fruit, warmth, spice, earthiness, tremendous length, finely integrated tannin.....need I go on? (03/98). Open-knit and attractive, this wine has a gloriously seductive and hedonistic style that I love. Opulent, rich fruit, tremendous sweetness, medium-body and fragrant, plummy flavours. This is not as easy-going as first impressions suggest however, as fine silky tannins add depth and a wonderful balance keeps it focused and sharp into a long, refined, classy finish. Gorgeous and drinking beautifully, it also shows no sign of fading so should drink well for many years. A real old favourite. (08/99) Label image.

Château Beychevelle, St-Julien, 4th growth 2000
There is a lovely elegance about Beychevelle which I really like. This has refined strawberry and raspberry fruit, notes of cherry and a touch of briary wood. On the palate it has fine cherry fruit that is very finely-wrought, with a cedary background and lovely freshness. Very good indeed (05/03).

Château le Bon Pasteur, Pomerol 1993
Colour is a dense, glossy crimson red. There is an incredible mocha coffee and chocolate-covered berry nose to this wine. Beneath are refined Claret aromas of blackcurrant and cedar. It oozes concentration and classy, ripe fruit. On the palate a wonderful depth of rich, creamy, dark plum and chocolate flavour. The tannins are very fine, supporting and adding backbone, and the acidity is moderate which adds to the hedonistic style of the wine. There is enough savouriness to stop this being simply flashy fruit, and a terrific sense of concentration and richness. Lovely balance giving length and purity. I paid £14.99 ($23US) for this wine just over 4 years ago from Oddbins. If you see it for less than £20 snap it up! (03/00) Label image.

Château Branaire-Ducru, 4th growth, St-Julien 1982
Pale ruby, browning. Animal nose with good perfume of brown-sugar, meat, game and toasty oak. A full, glycerine-rich palate and plenty of spicy red plum fruit, the tannins are soft leaving it rich and full into a moderately long finish. Drinking better than my previous bottle a couple of years back, and really very attractive. For drinking over next 3 years or so. (08/99).

Château Calon-Ségur, St-Estèphe, 3rd growth 1986
Not tasted.

Château Calon-Ségur, St-Estèphe, 3rd growth 1993
Not tasted.

Château Canon-Moueix, Canon-Fronsac 1986
Quite good. Classic claret nose with hints of herbs and spice. Fairly firm on the palate with good grip and length but a little coarse. Rustic, decent, but lacking a little class. Try remaining bottle in 1998 (37.5cl) (09/96) This has actually improved a little. Nose is cedary with nice cassis fruit, but a definite stalky, herbaceous edge detracts slightly. Palate has mellowed a little and it's a pleasing, chewy, enjoyable mouthful of claret with a long finish and just a lingering impression of leanness and slightly bitter tannin. Not bad. (37.5cl) (02/98)
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Château Cantemerle, Haut Médoc, 5th growth 1983
Just beautiful. Decanted 2 hours. Lovely deep colour, very little sign of ageing. Smoky, swirling blackcurrants and cedar on the nose. Cantemerle always seems so luxurious and opulent and this vintage is no exception. Gorgeous intense flavours - essence of blackcurrant and again a smoky, coffee richness with no harsh edges. Almost too velvety and smooth. Gorgeous, concentrated stuff and only approaching full maturity unlike some other '83s I've tasted recently. (05/97).

Château Cantemerle, Haut Médoc, 5th growth 1989
Beautiful wine showing a dark, almost purple colour. Sweet black fruits on the nose and cedary component. Smooth-as-silk on the palate with sweet tannins and no rough edges. Lovely bright fruit and good structure. Cellar until 2000. (07/96)

Château Cantemerle, Haut Médoc, 5th growth 1992
Superb drinking now. Ruby/purple colour. Lovely cassis, almost minty nose, very luscious, smooth, creamy, classy mouth feel with loads of fruit and real finesse. Finishes well. (12/96). I have drunk this several times over the past five years, and it is now time to drink up. Still a very enjoyable claret. (10/01)

Château Cantemerle, Haut Médoc, 5th growth 1996
Cantemerle’s 1996 is simply a superb wine. Quite a high percentage of Merlot in the blend gives a bold, purple/black clour and a wonderful nose of blackcurrants, plums and exotic spices (a small percentage of new american oak barrels employed as well as limousin). On the palate a glorious, silky mouthful of ripe fruit, firm but fine tannins and a sense of balance and purity. Very good length with delineation and staying balanced and luscious. (08/97)

Château Chasse-Spleen, Moulis, Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel 1989
Very good indeed. Dense ruby colour, clean aroma of cedar and blackcurrant. Very luscious, velvety texture with loads of tannin and a broad palate of fruit flavours - intense and concentrated with fine complexity and a long finish. Very well made. Try again 1999 (10/95). Firm presence on the nose, clean and sharply delineated cassis and coffee-bean oak. The palate is gripped by tannins but there is a lot of depth to this wine. Very muscular and brooding, giving little away - needs several years still.

Château Cheval Blanc (St Emilion) 1985
Not tasted.

Domaine de Chevalier, Pessac (Graves) 1988
Colour is browning but still dark ruby at the core. Classic nose of cedar-wood, spice and blackcurrant. There's a soft middle of tobacco, earth and smoke. On the palate the wine is quite lean with highish acidity and some tannins. The fruit has a slightly vegetal quality but with a spicy and sweet blackcurrant depth that emerges over time in the glass. Good, maturing claret from a half bottle (12/99) Label image.

Château Cissac (Médoc) Cru Bourgeois 1982
Not tasted.

Château Clerc-Milon, Pauillac, 5th growth 1985
Nice bright ruby colour, very fresh to rim. Ripe blackcurrant nose, medium bodied with very understated, refined blackcurrant and damson fruits and a sweet, long finish. Only had a mouthful due to being a bit drunk and pouring my guests too much! Try again before 2000. (12/96)

Château Clerc-Milon, Pauillac, 5th growth 1993
Yum! No notes available from a tasting of this wine on release - very silky and seductive, pure and harmonious (09/95).

Clos du Marquis, Château Léoville-Las-Cases, St-Julien 1989
Not tasted.

Clos du Marquis, Château Léoville-Las-Cases, St-Julien 1990
Gorgeous on the nose which is redolent of cedar wood, mint, cassis and a pleasantly animal note of blood or game. The palate is spicy and concentrated with powerful black fruit that has great sweetness and purity. Medium-bodied, classy tannins and gentle acidity lead to a focused, gentle finish with good length. Lovely quality; a classy wine. (09/00)

Château Cos d'Estournel, St-Estèphe, 2nd growth 1995
Not tasted.

Château Cos d'Estournel, St-Estèphe, 2nd growth 1996
Big, toasty, coffee-bean French oak nose. Quite earthy and animal beneath, with hints of blood and cedary complexity. Must be a classy claret. Earthy, deep and bittersweet on the palate with plummy depth and length. Very good Bordeaux (03/02).

Château Coufran, Haut-Médoc, Cru Bourgeois 1990
Wonderfully aromatic with a cassis and spice nose and hints of parma violet. Very silky mouthfeel, good weight and lots of soft, plummy fruit well delineated by ripe tannins. Nice sweet and moderately long finish. (09/97). Just delicious: loads of sweet, juicy, blackberry and plum fruit and great, chocolate richness. Structure and length too. Very, very good. (04/98). Last bottle drunk and timed perfectly. Still a lovely composed, sweetly-fruited wine, but showing a little glimpse of drying-out in the finish. (12/01)
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Château Croizet-Bages, Pauillac, 5th growth 1978
First cork crumbled to nothing - no amount of gentle persuasion could hold it together. Open a second bottle. Cork quite crumbly again, but managed to extract it without too much damage. Colour very brown with still some ruby at core. Very overripe, meaty, perfumed nose of game and stewed fruits. A touch maderised. Palate still has a fine sweetness of fruit, ripe and mouth-filling. Very chewy and much cleaner than I'd feared, but still earthy, gamy and savoury with highish acidity gripping the finish, though tannins very subdued. No long-term future perhaps, but a very pleasant, if rustic surprise after cork condition and colour. (06/00) Label image.

Château Ducru-Beaucaillou, St-Julien, 2nd growth 1992
Not tasted.

Château Ducru-Beaucaillou, St-Julien, 2nd growth 1995
Not tasted.

Château Duhart-Milon-Rothschild, Pauillac , 4th growth 1962
Slightly richer ruby colour, though browning. Lovely perfume from this wine, some leathery, vegetal notes and berry fruits. A smoky note too. This wine at first seems more youthful than the Léoville-Poyferré, but the tannins are very old and mellow and the acidity now a little troublesome. Again, it has charm and is perfectly enjoyable, but needs drinking. (08/99).

Château Fontenil, Fronsac 1993
Big wine. Dark, earthy, good black fruit on nose. Dense and highly extracted, a wee bit too much for me? Plenty of character for the money. Look forward to trying again 1998. (04/96) Four years since I last tried it, this wine provides decent drinking. The colour remains solid and deep, and there are aromas of blackcurrant and earth. On the palate it is quite cedary and firm, perhaps just a little hard and ungiving. It certainly has structure, with medium-body, rather firm tannins and decent fruit. For a wine dominated by Merlot it does seem to be a little harsh and possibly over-extracted. (04/00)
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Château Gruaud-Larose, St-Julien, 2nd growth 1990
Vibrant, youthful ruby/purple colour. Incredibly dense. A touch of licorice on the nose, plenty of fruit and oak too. Velvety mouth feel, loaded with fruit and tannin, but extremely elegant too. Cedar, minerals. Tannins still firm and grippy, but really first class. Well integrated, well structured, classy wine with layers of complexity. Will keep. (03/97). Aromatic, with a sauvage fragrance of leather, herbs, coffee, blueberry and cherries. Charry oak underpins and a mineral quality adds another dimension. On the palate quite grippy with excellent concentration, power and balance. This has been a favourite for some time and is clearly a terrific wine with 10 years plus ahead of it. The G-L is always a favourite claret, but this vintage is truly excellent and I suspect a little under-appreciated in the market. (09/00)

Château Gruaud-Larose, St-Julien, 2nd growth 1993
Not tasted.

Château Guillot, Pomerol 1993
Extremely good. Rich, dark crimson colour. Headily perfumed with sweet, plum and black cherry aromas and flowery overtones. Big wine with dense, toffee richness, loads of fruit and very nicely judged oak. Good tannic backbone and a beautiful, long, luscious finish. Will keep (09/96).

Château Haut-Batailey, Pauillac, 5th growth 1996
Not tasted.

Château Haut-Brion, Pessac (Graves), 1st growth 1983
Deep ruby with brick red at the fringes. Very intense, concentrated cassis nose. Luscious, plummy fruit, mineral steeliness comes through. Pronounced but fine tannins evident and tremendous concentration. Oak is well integrated and there is a little prickle of acidity. Quite delightful, smooth-as-silk finish and good length. Stays very pure and balanced. Elevated slightly above most 83s by sheer concentration, structure and balance (04/97). The colour is a rich, browning ruby. The nose displays a lovely hint of horsey, sweaty saddle, old leather and a definite touch of Brettanomyces, which is absolutely not a problem here, but adds to a complex character with some bay leaf notes and deep, sweet, berried fruit. The palate is beautifully balanced with a terrifically polished character of svelte tannins adding grip, and good fruit that still has life about it. Fine length here, and this is drinking better than a bottle I had a couple of years ago. Absolutely a point on this evidence. Excellent (10/03).

Château Haut-Brion, Pessac (Graves), 1st growth 1990
Extremely deep and even, dense crimson. Youthful. Deep and smoky with some toasty oak forming a cushion to dark, plummy fruit and again that bittersweet plumskin and black cherry focus that gives a serious, edge to tobacco and woodsmoke, gravel and steel. Sweet and concentrated fruit on the palate and drying, super-fine tannins dry the mouth. There is just a hint of flatness about the mid-palate at this stage, but the finish regains that wonderful sense of completeness and composure with ripe black fruits, spices, that core of minerality and great length. This balanced, powerful wine will fill out without any shadow of a doubt and is excellent. (10/00)

Château Haut-Brion, Pessac (Graves), 1st growth 1992
Deep, bright ruby colour. Immediately seductive nose of cedar, blackcurrants and toasted oak. Extremely elegant and integrated. Seamless, persistent finish. Very impressive. Try after 2000 (01/96).

Château Haut-Brion, Pessac (Graves), 1st growth 1994
Not tasted.

Château Haut-Brion, Pessac (Graves), 1st growth 1996
Very dense black core to ruby rim. Quite high-toned, mint-edged fruit. Real quality of fruit, forest-berries and deep plummy notes. Some leafy blackcurrant, chocolate and sweet vanillin oak. Again, loaded with high quality fruit on the palate. Very dry, through big, all-embracing tannins and good acidity. Some earthy flavours, density and real structure. Very long. (04/99) Very dark, dense crimson/purple colour, opaque at core. Lovely fragrance with sweet blue/black fruits and a hint of violets, with tiny floral aromas, cherry, plum and a frim, mineral core. No sign of oak. On the palate very concentrated and tightly-wound with a steely core to sweet, plummy black fruit wrapped in grippy but fine tannins and plenty of refreshing acidity. There is a little underpinning with smoky oak into the finish, but this is all about lean minerality and focused fruit at the moment, and will certainly develop over the next decade or two into a fine, fine Haut-Brion. Excellent. (10/00)

Bahans de Château Haut-Brion, Pessac (Graves), 2nd wine 1992
Quite brilliant for a second wine in a very poor year. The colour is a deep ruby red, with some warmth. Classic claret nose of blackcurrants and tons of cedary, pencil-shaving aromas. On the palate very classy too, with plenty of dark, plummy fruit, tobacco and fragrant, cedary notes intertwined with a smokey, earthy quality. Tremendous concentration given the vintage. Finish is very elegant and quite long. A supple, chewy, savoury wine of great finesse for drinking now and over the next few years. (03/98). This is still drinking really nicely, with that wonderful cedary nose and smooth palate just a little less rich than it was a few years ago. Drink soon. (12/01)

Château Labégorce-Zédé, Margaux, Cru Bourgeois 1990
Not tasted.

Château Lafite-Rothschild, Pauillac, 1st growth 1985
Not tasted.

Château Lafite-Rothschild, Pauillac, 1st growth 1995
Not tasted.

Carraudes de Lafite, Pauillac, 2nd wine 1993
Not tasted.

Château Lafon-Rochet, St-Estèphe, 4th growth 1970
Not tasted.

Château Lafon-Rochet, St-Estèphe, 4th growth 1986
Excellent. Dark and dense colour with tight, slightly reticent nose which opens up in the glass. Very macho, muscular wine, but showing good complexity with cherry, spice and blackcurrant flavours, framed by good oak and tannin and a good length. A little rustic, but really very good and well priced. Try again 2000. (09/96).

Château Lafon-Rochet, St-Estèphe, 4th growth 1990
Another powerful and inviting black fruit nose with plenty of concentrated, leafy blackcurrant and cedar. Unmistakably claret. This has real structure with a backbone of tannins and acidity beneath fine, sweet, ripe black fruit. This needs time, but seems to have the balance and concentration necessary to evolve into a superb wine. (09/00)

Château Lafon-Rochet, St-Estèphe, 4th growth 1993
Deeply hued, ruby red colour. Big, alcoholic nose of plums and blackberries. Big and brawny on the palate with a meaty, fleshy texture and vivid flavours of blackcurrant, red fruits and pepper. Firm tannins. Medium to full bodied and with a decent peppery finish. A very good wine at this price and probably better still in a few years. (07/97).

Château Lafon-Rochet, St-Estèphe, 4th growth 1994
Not tasted.

Château Lafon-Rochet, St-Estèphe, 4th growth 1995
Not tasted.

Château Lafon-Rochet, St-Estèphe, 4th growth 1996
Dark purple colour, almost black. Very backward. Very earthy too with an edge of mineral scents and a deeply hued set of aromas. Massive wine. Huge concentration of dense, brooding fruit and thick, chewy texture. Very drying new-oak tannins but that plummy depth stands up to them. Very serious and structured. Excellent potential 10 years+. (05/99)

Château Lagrange, St-Julien, 3rd growth 1993
Not tasted.

Château Lagrange, St-Julien, 3rd growth 1995
Very dense and opaque purple/black. Very classy blackcurrant nose, slightly minty. Not giving much though - slightly medicinal but not unpleasantly so. Very tough on the palate with astringent tannins, but over some sweet fruit. Plenty of concentration, weight and good length. Could be very good in time I think. (02/98)

Château La Lagune, Haut-Médoc, 3rd growth 1984
An absolutely fascinating wine. 1984 is written-off as one of the most disastrous vintages of modern times. I picked up a few bottles of this wine not too long ago at a knock-down price, really just as an experiment since I hadn't tasted the vintage. The bottles are in excellent condition, filled to bottom of the neck and good colour. What a pleasant surprise when the cork was pulled: concentrated, classic claret nose of cedar, pencil-shavings and ripe, sweet cassis fruit. Really bold and inviting. On the palate a solid mouthful of blackurrant fruit, with a very attractive earthy, beefy, bloody, robust chewiness. The wine is not acidic (as I'd feared) and the tannins provide backbone without being harsh. The finish is fine, if a little short. Altogether a really tasty and structured claret for current drinking. I can only conclude that since the disaster of '84 was really the blight of the Merlot crop, this wine must be predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon/Franc. Whatever, if you do see a bottle languishing unloved on a retailer's shelf, do try it! (02/99)
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Château La Lagune, Haut-Médoc, 3rd growth 1986
Not tasted.

Château Lamothe Bergeron, Haut Médoc, Cru Bourgeois 1988
Good ruby colour, nice nose of vanillin and new sawn oak. Some currant fruit on the palate, but rather unattractive inky note too and quite a lot of tannin. Past its best I think. (04/97).
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Château Lascombes, Margaux, 2nd growth 1989
Not tasted.

Château Latour, Pauillac, 1st growth 1983
Rich, dark ruby red fading to amber. Wonderfully classy nose with earthy, mineral scents and a seam of blackcurrant fruit. Leafy, slightly vegetal notes beneath. Medium bodied and supple. Mature, beefy flavours of plum and damson fruit, but delightful nuances of fresher violet and floral character and again, a mineral edge that adds complexity. Fine length with a depth of fruit holding up against integrated tannins and some creamy oak. Concentrated and chewy, this is just starting to dry out, but is a very good, balanced wine for drinking over the next 5 or 6 years. Perhaps not a classic Latour, but most enjoyable. (12/98)
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Château Latour, Pauillac, 1st growth 1988
We drank two bottles of this at a dinner for six I arranged in Glasgow in November 2003. There was some bottle variation, with one bottle being very supple, dark and berry scented, with lots of cigar-box and cedary aromas, and a medium-bodied, fleshy palate. It had good concentration and was very refined, without really shifting into top gear. The second bottle was slightly less fleshy and rich, and had a rather dull character (possibly it was mildly corked). On evidence of the first bottle a lovely, maturing claret without setting the heather on fire. (11/03).

Château Léoville-Barton, St-Julien, 2nd growth 1983
Not tasted.

Château Léoville-Barton, St-Julien, 2nd growth 1985
Charming, leafy, cassis fruit on the nose with soft, eucalyptus notes too. Slightly nettly character, but showing abundent, ripe blackcurrant fruit, medium to full body and lovely cedary notes. Good integration of oak and fine tannins. Smooth, long finish.Tasted 4 times with very consistent notes. An incredibly classy wine showing tremendous concentration, purity, length, and balance. A star. Drinking beautifully now, but will hold. (04/97). Nice solid ruby, just browning. Text-book pure, blackcurranty Claret with with pencil-shavings and little dill-weed nuances. On the palate it is just packed with superbly clear, cool cassis fruit . Fantastically smooth, rich and seductive, beautifully focused and delicious into a long finish. Tasted many times, this is drinking very well, but has plenty of time ahead of it. (08/99).

Château Léoville-Barton, St-Julien, 2nd growth 1988
Not tasted.

Château Léoville-Barton, St-Julien, 2nd growth 1989
Deep, solid red colour just starting to fringe with orange. Classic claret nose of cassis and cedary wood. Medium bodied. Still young. A little bit austere at this stage with maybe not enough fruit showing through, though a lovely vanilla roundness and great length. This is a nicely structured wine. Well balanced, and will improve. Try after 2000. (12/97)

Château Léoville-Barton, St-Julien, 2nd growth 1990
Not tasted.

Château Léoville-Barton, St-Julien, 2nd growth 1992
Gorgeous stuff for the vintage. A powerful wine, yet showing real finesse. Very dark purple/black colour, lots of minty, blackcurrant and cedary components on nose and palate, well integrated and finishing sweet and long. A nice backbone of soft tannin. Drink over next 5 years. (12/95).

Château Léoville-Barton, St-Julien, 2nd growth 1993
Dark, almost black. Sweet, expansive nose of black fruits, lead pencil and rich, creamy, chocolatey texture. Some tannin but very drinkable now. Better in 5 years (09/96).

Château Léoville-Barton, St-Julien, 2nd growth 1994
Not tasted.

Château Léoville-Barton, St-Julien, 2nd growth 1995
Not tasted.

Château Léoville-Barton, St-Julien, 2nd growth 2000
Serious, compact, muscular, deeply-set quality. It has notes of leather, cedar and polished wood, also a smoky element. Really deep and complex. Serious and muscular on the palate too, with plenty of power and grip and a substantial weight of fruit. Great structure and balance. Excellent/Outstanding. (05/03).

Château Léoville-Las-Cases, St-Julien, 2nd growth 1983
Even, dense, deep purple colour. Very pure and classy cabernet fruit on the nose. A touch of cedar component on the palate, but really dominated by ripe, concentrated, cassis fruit and sweet oak. To me, the essence of "Claret". Rich and well structured if lacking the final complexity and expression that would make it "great". Long, pure, delightful finish. No hurry to drink. (04/97) Polished and delightful: still youthful example of classic, cedary, elegant, structured and harmonious claret. This is not a wine to send you in to raptures, but it is extremely good. (03/98) Label image

Château Léoville-Las-Cases, St-Julien, 2nd growth 1992
Many of the '92s are giving a lot of pleasure just now. This is one of the best I've tried so far - a fine wine for the year from Las-Cases. A very deep, glossy colour then loads of blackcurrant and plum fruit on the nose. Nice weight in the mouth with little sign of dilution. A good, chewy texture, plenty of soft, already integrated tannin, good, rugged fruit and a nice lemony acidity in the long finish. Most enjoyable, classy, claret and well worth trying though it lacks some complexity. I imagine this has several more years of life ahead of it too. (06/98)
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Château Léoville-Poyferré, 2nd growth, St-Julien 1962
Pale, old ruby colour. Sweetly edged bouquet of cedar and ethereal old fruit. The palate has absolutely delicious fruitiness, of red berries and juicy blackberries. This has warmth from toasty oak and real structure: it's almost quite fat, with body and a lovely sweetness of fruit and enveloping, soft flavours that persist into a long finish. Utterly lovely old claret. Mature. My second favourite on the night. (08/99).

Château Léoville-Poyferré, St-Julien, 2nd growth 1982
Not tasted.

Château Léoville-Poyferré, St-Julien, 2nd growth 1995
Not tasted.

Château Liversan, St-Sauveur, Cru Bourgeois 1996
Not tasted.

Château Lynch-Bages, Pauillac, 5th growth 1994
Not tasted.

Château Lynch-Bages, Pauillac, 5th growth 1995
A little more warmth to the colour, very dense indeed. More upfront fruit on the nose, quite striking. A little bit green? Very tannic and grippy. Bags of bold, ripe fruit too and well extracted. Fine ripeness on the palate, no sign of greenness. Tannins really blunt the finish at this stage. Very promising. (02/98)

Château Lynch-Moussas, Pauillac, 5th growth 1995
Very even, dense purple/black colour. Massive charred-oak nose. Big and vegetal with mushroomy, undergrowth aromas, roasted coffee beans and glimpses of sweet black fruit. Sweet and full on the palate with copious quantities of oaky flavours and tannins, moderate acidity and lovely complexity of sweet blackcurrant and more earthy fruit. Drying tannins into a long finish. Excellent. (05/99)

Château Margaux, 1st growth, Margaux 1971
Medium/pale ruby/orange. Pale, browning rim. There's an immediate aroma of metallic tinned tomatos that is off-putting, but then a lovely sweetness of fruit emerges, with light raspberry and cherry aromas. Very attractive. On the palate the wine is now quite thin, but it is at that wonderful, ethereal stage of old clarets teetering on the brink of dry acidity, but still enough sweet, elegant fruit and cedary, old-wood finesse to make for absolutely lovely drinking. This definitely needs to be drunk-up, but a good bottle like this one is just delightful. (08/99).

Château Margaux, Margaux, 1st growth 1985
Not tasted.

Château Margaux, Margaux, 1st growth 1993
Not tasted.

Château Meyney, St-Estèphe, Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel 1989
I love it. Very dense purple and a huge bouquet showing rich fruit and minerals. Fine attack, firm tannins though quite supple, very chewy and dense with loads of flavour. Excellent length and fine, pure finish. Try again 2000+ (06/96) Rich ruby colour. Big, vegetal nose, quite stinky with cabbagy aromas over a core of sweet blackcurrant. Lovely sweetness of black fruits on the palate. Quite an odd combination of mellow, plummy fruit, old cedary oak but a really grippy edge on the palate that suggests this still needs time. Starting to drink well, but better in 3 or 4 years. (08/99)

La Mission-Haut-Brion (Pessac-Leognan) 1978
Wonderfully sweet, seamless nose merging ripe fruit and spice into cedar and a little hint of musky, floral, tea-leaf quality. Fine palate too, with just hints of drying-up in a slightly tannic finish, but plenty of medium-bodied, berry fruited depth and a warm, expansive core of fruit that is just holding sway at present. Balanced and fine, though as I say, this bottle was showing signs of age. Very good indeed. (02/02)

Château Montrose, 2nd growth, St-Estèphe 1970
Amazingly deep, solid ruby/brown colour. Nose is very closed. Some blackcurrant. The palate has plenty of grip still, the fruit is there - berries, and blackcurrant, also some tobacco and earthy nuances, but all very and ungiving at the moment. Acidity is quite high, but not excessive. Tannins really are firm. This is astonishingly tightly-wound for a 30 year old wine. If the fruit outlasts the tannins it might be great in 20 years - a very difficult one to call. (08/99).

Château Moulin-Haut Laroque, Haut Médoc, Cru Bourgeois 1985
updated Fading colour though still dense. Nose is mostly spice and pepper. Black fruits on the palate in a very muscular framework that is robust and chewy, tannic and lacking a little charm. finish is decent with peppery notes and edge of roughness (10/97).

Château Mouton-Rothschild, Pauillac, 1st growth 1994

Vibrantly purple/black with gorgeous dark roasted coffee bean and tobacco notes on the nose. Smooth as silk on the palate with opulent fruit and firm tannins evident. Very chewy, concentrated flavours though only medium bodied. Loaded with woody tannin in the finish, though these were not unpleasant and promise decent longevity for this wine. Extremely fine. (05/97). Distinctive nose of strong, creamy cappucino. Beneath there is dark, sweet berry fruit and an earthy note over a ripe blackcurrant base. Quite minty and intense. The palate is rich too, with full body and a plenty of glycerine. The long, spicy finish is perfectly focused. Really lovely, concentrated stuff that should show well in 5 or 6 years once the dominant oak that is driving it currently mellows a little: there is plenty of fruit. If I had any criticism to offer it would be a little lack of complexity, but given the vintage this is a terrific effort. (08/99)

Château Pichon-Lalande, Pauillac, 2nd growth 1983
Tasted 4 times with consistent notes. Previous tasting 01/97.
Just a fabulous wine. Deep, deep colour with little sign of age. On the nose a wonderful, sumptuous depth of sweet cassis fruit, with elegant hints of cigar-box and mineral notes. The wine is thick and powerful in the mouth, but has layer upon layer of blackcurrant, plum and black cherry fruit, beautifully integrated tannins and barely noticeable acidity. The background of supportive, sweet vanillin oak floods the palate filling-in any hint of space left by the opulent fruit and adding delicious complexity. This is not at all a "flashy" style of wine. Huge length and a fine, firm finish, but still that lushness of pure, concentrated fruit. This really is a spectacularly good '83 - better than the Latour, Haut-Brion, Las-Cases or Ducru of that year. Magnificent (12/98).
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Château Pichon-Lalande, Pauillac, 2nd growth 1988
Not tasted.

Château Pichon-Lalande, Pauillac, 2nd growth 1996
Not tasted.

Château Pichon-Baron, Pauillac, 2nd growth 1993
Not tasted.

Château Rausan-Ségla, Margaux, 2nd growth 1986
Not tasted.

Château Suau, Premières Côtes de Bordeaux 1994
A minor claret from an unfashionable appellation, but it has a good reputation. The colour is a solid, earthy ruby. The nose has very sweet, cedary fruit and soft notes of vanilla and summer berries. The palate is quite fruity, but is dominated by silky tobacco and new-oak flavours, underpinned by decent tannins and low-acidity. There's reasonable depth and richness to the fruit and wood balance. Really rather a nice wine for not a lot of money, for current drinking as it is drying just slightly in the finish. (08/99)
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Château Talbot, St-Julien, 4th growth 1990
Not tasted.

Château Talbot, St-Julien, 4th growth 1992
updated 2nd bottle of this (only £6 in France) confirms it to be a decent wine showing sweet, ripe, blackcurrant fruit and quite an elegant style, but rather dilute and lacking body and depth of character. Pleasant drinking at the price. (07/97).

Château La Tour de By, Médoc, Cru Bourgeois 1985
I am a huge fan of the 1985 clarets, finding almost every example I have tasted to be amongst the most charming and delicious red Bordeaux wines of the past 20 years. Whilst they may not have the structure of 1986, or the sheer class of 1982, they are delicious and attractive wines. When this modest Cru Bourgeois came up in a job lot for sale I snapped it up. The colour is good and solid, still with some ruby at the core and an overall brickish hue. The nose is very attractive, with a cedar and leathery suggestion of dryness but plenty of black fruit character. On the palate a simple, but really enjoyable wine, with a soft, plummy fruit character and still plenty of sweetness, and rounded, slightly rustic tannins adding grip. Smooth and with decent length, this is very good indeed and will probably drink well for a few years yet. (11/03).
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Château la Tour-St-Bonnet, Médoc, Cru Bourgeois 1990
Rather macho but good cru bourgeois. Dark ruby colour with nice fruit on nose. Firm, tannic, vegetal, but very nicely made with hints of vanilla, spice and green beans/asparagus. Needs cellaring until 2000 (08/96). La Tour St Bonnet, Medoc Cru Bourgeois 1990 Holding a lovely, solid colour, this has an immediately alluring nose: smoky, with a hint of vegetal, herbaceous character, but cedary black fruit now beginning to dominate and a lovely blood-streaked, gamy edge. On the palate firm and medium bodied, still quite an authoritative wine with a muscular framework of tannins, crisp acidity and not much alcohol (12.5%). But the fruit is beguiling. The best of Bordeaux's juicy but stern, sweet but savoury, muscularly tough but gently layered character. Spices and a touch of leather in the finish which is long and harmonious. 90/100. (2012)

Château la Vieille-Cure, Canon-Fronsac 1990
Excellent. Dense crimson/purple with bold aromas of smokey oak and ripe red plums. A beautiful mouth feel, with rounded tannins - still a little harsh - lots of cassis and plummy fruit and a touch of earthy, leathery character. Evolved nicely after a night's vacu-vin storage and tasted even more open and welcoming. High QPR, great stuff. (07/96).

Château la Vieille-Cure, Canon-Fronsac 1994
Medium density garnet red. Mature, woody, yet refined nose with pencil-shavings, spice and bacon-fat. Complex and well-structured, there is a leathery, mature quality on the palate, but good blackcurrant fruit leads to a cedary, supple finish which is long, chewy and classy. Nice, mature Claret for drinking now. (11/98)


Château Coutet, Sauternes, Premier Cru 1988
My oh my. Medium straw/gold colour. Intriguing nose offering tropical fruits, flowers, minerals, sweet candied fruit and botrytis. The palate is medium bodied only, though quite luscious because of the well developed botrytis. Great purity and finesse. All the complexities of the bouquet carry through in the mouth with really zippy acidity that keeps the whole thing fresh and appealing. I could drink a lot of this without fatigue. Wonderfully complex and with a tremendously long, pure finish full of subtly evolving flavours. Superb. (03/98)
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Château Coutet, Sauternes, Premier Cru 1990
Not tasted.

Château La Tour Blanche, Sauternes, Premier Cru 1989
This wine has a crystal-clear and refined nose of honey and fig botrytis, citrus fruit and an almost minty purity. It is obviously a baby, and on the palate reveals its complexity only very slowly. The overall impression is of fine, pure sweetness and honeyed, luscious fruit, but interesting nuances of spices and minerals appear fleetingly. Long, composed and rich, this will develop over 20 years. (08/99).

Château Liot (France) Sauternes 1996
The colour is a youthful pale gold. There's an elegant subtlety about the nose with restrained botrytis notes of honey and fig, with buttery, cool white-fruit to the fore and an oatmeally, biscuity note. On the palate it is quite luscious with sweet peach and orange fruit drizzled with honey. The fruit doesn't quite persist through good citrus acidity in the finish, but this is a balanced and refined Sauternes of good quality. Bought from Sainsbury UK , Christmas '99 at only £9.99 per half bottle, but is now discontinued. You may find some old stock. (03/00).
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Chateau Suduiraut (Sauternes) Premier Cru 1984
A wine that gave a lot of pleasure, not least because I picked it up as a bin end a year or so back for £4.00! ($US). 1984 was just about as poor in Sauternes as it was elsewhere in Bordeaux, but then I've had some lovely '84 Clarets, like the Château Lagune. The colour was surprisingly light, lemony-gold. The nose was quite fresh, with little botrytis notes of honeyed fruit, but mostly clean pear and citrus. On the palate, medium-bodied, but perfectly fresh with nicely sweet orchard fruits and a lemon acidity which is integrated and not at all dominant as I'd feared. Decent length, and went well with a thin crusted, French style apple tart. Very good - and an astonishing bargain at that price! (07/00)
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Chateau Suduiraut (Sauternes) Premier Cru 1990
The glowing, burnished golden colour of this wine promised a really luscious character and so it proved. The nose has lovely botrytis notes of marmalade and figgy fruit, with a butteriness and floral nuances. On the palate it is very pure and softly constructed with moderate acidity and plenty of sweet, unctuous fruit. Maybe lacks just a little grip because of the lowish acidity, but it is tight and focused; not lacking in length or in any way flabby. Just very accessible and utterly delicious now. (09/00)

Château d'Yquem, Sauternes, Premier Cru Supérieur 1989
Tasted 4 times now with very consistent notes. Beautiful honey gold colour. Rich botrytis nose of honey, nuts, candied fruits, orange marmalade and amaretti biscuits. Little bit of vanilla custardy new oak. Amazing complexity on nose and palate. Tropical fruits - dried pineapple, banana, guava, mango. Texture is rich, luscious, almost syrupy. Acidity is round and expansive and maintains the finish which is long, pure and fills the senses. Wonderful now but hinting at quite a future. (10/97)

Château Berbec, Premières Côtes de Bordeaux 1989
Gold colour. Heady bouquet of ogen melons, mango, guava. Good, full body, not at all cloying. Very good. (01/96).

Château Berbec, Premières Côtes de Bordeaux 1990
Either a slightly off, oxidised bottle or not a good showing for this usually reliable cheap Sauternes imitator. Colour is quite a fresh golden yellow, though just a hint of amber. On the nose a slightly metallic edge, but honey too and some tropical fruit. Palate confirms metallic flavour which mars enjoyment of the wine. Less botrytis than the 1989 but difficult to judge on this evidence. (12/97).