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1982 Château Margaux on a beautiful day. This is just a brilliant wine, with no notable flaws. This bottle didn’t show any signs of tiring. It’s quite different from the 1983, less floral but with more dark fruit and fresh cedar. I get a sense that this will last longer than the 83, but we probably won’t really know that answer for another decade. The question is, which do you prefer, the 1982 or 1983?

1994 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande from #Pauillac. You may have read in our posts how much we love the 1995 and 1996 Pichon Lalande, so it was interesting to check in on the 1994. As expected, the 1994 is nowhere near the 95 or 96, which are powerhouse wines that are among the best of each given vintage. While there is the signature tobacco/green pepper streak that is so identifiable in their wines, this vintage suffers from a lack of ripeness and depth. This is a classic, rustic style of Bordeaux. This vintage was probably much better when young and just wasn’t built for aging. I would recommend passing on the 1994 Lalande and picking up the 1995 or 1995 instead (or even many other younger vintages, of course).

A fitting end to the Commanderie de Bordeaux dinner, with a bottle of 2011 Château de Fargues. I’m loving the 2011 wines from #Sauternes these days, even if they are very young.

From the Commanderie de #Bordeaux dinner. 1978 and 1998 Château Léoville Las Cases from #StJulien. The 1978 was a nicely matured bottle of Bordeaux, but was clearly not from a blockbuster vintage. For me, some of the left bank wines from 1998 come off as somewhat tannic and austere (with some exceptions. Of course). For this reason, this 98 Las Cases was a pleasant surprise, as it was smoother and more enjoyable than expected. It is likely that many 98s are in an awkward phase and will likely improve considerably. The Las Cases gives me hope.

Second set of right bank bottles from the Commanderie de Bordeaux dinner. Clos de l’Oratoire is one of the best buys from #SaintEmilion, and the 1998 and 2000 are both drinking fabulously right now. This 1999 bottle had a killer floral nose. And while not as much depth as the 98 or 2000, this was very enjoyable and in a perfect spot. The 2005 Château La Gomerie (from the producers of Beau-Séjour Bécot) was a little more generous and open that I expected. I still think it needs a little more time to develop more tertiary characteristics. The 2005 Château Monbousquet, like the 1998, was a bit more unyielding and with a darker fruit profile. Let these age a bit longer.

The 1998 magnums from a recent Commanderie de Bordeaux dinner. I’ve really liked the 1998 Gracia from #StEmilion recently, and this magnum was even better. More restrained and elegant than the brawny, dark fruited 1998 Château Monbousquet, which seemed perhaps earlier in its aging curve.

2004 Château Pontet-Canet from #Pauillac. 2004 is an often overlooked vintage, but in reality, a number of excellent wines were produced in Bordeaux that year (more so on the left than the right bank). Pontet-Canet is a strong wine from the vintage, and is drinking very well for a wine that is only 15 years old. There’s lots of pencil lead and cedar to go along with the ripe black currant. Over the next decade, vertical tastings of Pontet-Canet will be really interesting to see the evolution that took place as it switched into a higher gear toward the end of the decade. I’m betting the wines from vintages like 2004 and 2008 will impress at those tastings as well.

2001 Château d’Yquem from #Sauternes. The best modern day d’Yquem? It would be hard to find a better vintage.

The final bottles from the Pétrus tasting. The 1990 Pétrus was the clear best wine of the tasting. It still seemed so young, and had a knockout nose. It was equally extraordinary on the palate. This 1990 still hasn’t peaked, however. The 1995 was more spicy and exotic, with fresh violets, fruitcake, and damp earth. Certainly not as striking as the 1990, but a strong showing. For my palate, the 2015 was far too young. But this doesn’t mean that it wasn’t mind-blowing. There was so much fresh fruit on the nose, and the wine had incredible complexity and concentration. It had a noticeable sweetness on the palate. This is clearly a legendary vintage of Pétrus.

In the Pétrus vertical tasting, some other Pomerol wines from 1982 were included as well. The 1982 Pétrus was better than the last bottle I had last year, but it was still a bit shy. It did have a really nice nose of plum, spice, and dark chocolate that opened up a bit with time. Overall, the 1982 Pétrus was solid. The 1982 Château l’Evangile was clearly the best 1982 in the tasting, which was no surprise to me. This bottle consistently outperforms almost every other 1982 on the table. Had this tasting been done blind, it may have been chosen the wine of the night. The 1982 Vieux Château Certan was a very structured wine. It was more stoic than sexy, but I loved the iron and truffle aromas. The 1982 Le Bon Pasteur performed admirably. The palate perhaps lacked a little depth, but the wine had a beautiful nose and a perfect level of acidity that gave it a fresh and balanced finish.

Attended a Pétrus vertical tasting recently, along with a few other right bank favorites. This special tasting included the legendary 1961. This was a good, but not a great, bottle. The cork was correct and came out soaked but intact. The color was still dark, but there was a slight oxidized note that never really disappeared. The nose showed cassis, truffle, herbs, and soy. The 1969 Château Cheval Blanc was light in color and weight. It was definitely at its end of life, but it was actually very enjoyable. This was all red fruit, scuppernong, iron, and eucalyptus. The 1975 Pétrus was a little maderized, with some stewed prunes. It was better on the palate, showing off brown spices but lacking in ripe fruit. The 1978 Pétrus was excellent, and was one of the best of the night. It has a beautifully floral nose. Very elegant on the palate, with a medium weight.

1996 Château Léoville Barton from #StJulien. After a whirlwind tasting, it was nice to enjoy one of our favorite bottles back home. The 1996 Léoville Barton continues to be a fantastic wine. This is an underrated vintage of Léoville Barton. While vintages like 2010 and 2016 are blockbusters, one can only hope that they will match the drinking pleasure of the 1996 (though I’m guessing they will). And since the Barton’s are known to be animal lovers, we thought it was appropriate to include Avery in the photo. Cheers! 🍷

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