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Old wine offline: Bordeaux and Australia

On Tuesday I attended an offline wine dinner. I’ve attended lots of these events before – where wine lovers who discuss wine online actually get together to drink the stuff – but this event was different. Why? Well, a couple of the participants had bid for a case of mixed old Bordeaux (provenance: English country house cellar) at Sotheby’s, and we chipped in to spilt the cost. To make up the numbers, and provide a useful comparison, several bottles of older Australian reds were also added. Here are my notes on the wines. The Bordeaux were a mixed bag with some nice surprises interspersed among the wines that have seen better days. The Australians did pretty well, and three in particular were very impressive.

Château La Croix du Casse 1990 Pomerol
Savoury, ripe, sweet nose has a hint of animal to it. Delicious, deep and intense. Firm palate is still quite fruity with nice structure. Drinking well now. Very good/excellent 90

Château La Croix du Casse 1991 Pomerol
Initially on pouring there’s a lovely blast of sweet, leafy black fruits, but this fades after a while in the glass. The palate is savoury and quite intense, but beginning to thin just a little. Tannins are a little drying. But that initial pure, open nose is lovely. Very good+ 88

Château Ducru Beaucaillou 1966 2eme Cru Classé St Julien
Green, leafy edge to the nose with some herbiness. Palate is quite firm and acidic, drying out a little. Tannic. Drink up. Very good 83

Château Prieure Lichine 1975 4eme Cru Classé Margaux
First bottle corked, but we had a second. This is a firm, spicy old wine with a leathery edge. The palate is showing some sign of decay with firm acid, but still drinkable and quite nice if you like old wine. Very good 84

Château Leoville Lascases 1978 2eme Cru Classé St Julien
Lovely cedary blackcurrant fruit nose with a minerally edge. Easy drinking palate with savoury fruit and some tannins. Not as complex as you’d expect from Las Cases, but still a mature claret that’s drinking very well. Very good+ 87

Château Leoville Lascases 1981 2eme Cru Classé St Julien
Savoury nose. Spicy, leathery palate is quite firm and structured. I forgot to score this…

Clos du Marquis 1979 St Julien
Classic herb-tinged ‘old wine’ nose. The palate shows a leathery, spicy edge. Drink now; should have been consumed some time ago. Good/very good 78

Château Cantermerle 1979 5eme Cru Classé Médoc
Quite deep coloured. There’s a spicy, smoky edge to the nose. The ‘old wine’ palate is herby, thin and quite spicy. Mouthdrying high acidity. Over the hill but drinkable. Good 75

Château Poujeaux 1979 Cru Bourgeois Moulis
Quite an open, animally ‘old wine’ nose with a touch of cheesiness. Animally, bretty palate. Quite tasty if you like bretty wine. Very good+ 85 (A second bottle was a little less bretty and in better shape)

Moss Wood Cabernet Sauvignon 1987 Margaret River, Western Australia
Cedary, minerally edge to the nose, which is restrained and quite classy. The structured palate displays a minerally core. Lovely restrained style with good balance and structure; tastes remarkably Bordeaux-like to me. Very good/excellent 92

Moss Wood Cabernet Sauvignon 1993 Margaret River, Western Australia
The forward nose displays a spicy, smoky edge to the cedary, minerally black fruits. The palate is hugely concentrated and structured: spicy and full with lots of flavour. Bold and rich, this is lovely. Very good/excellent 94

Petaluma Cabernet Merlot 1990 Coonawarra, Australia
Deep coloured. Cedary, minerally, slightly tarry nose with ripe black fruits. The firm, structured palate shows more black fruits with good acidity and balance. Still quite youthful and tannic, with lots of potential. Lovely. Very good/excellent  92

Cyril Henschke Cabernet Sauvignon 1988 Eden Valley, Australia
Sweet baked, jammy fruit flavours on the nose. Curranty red fruits on the palate with some spicy caramel notes. Disappointing. Very good 84

Cullen Cabernet Merlot 1992 Margaret River, Western Australia
Ripe, rich, tarry blackfruits dominate the nose. It’s sweet and ripe. The palate is bold, spicy, fruity and tannic. Quite moreish and intense, this is a vivid wine in a very Australian style. Very good/excellent 90

Château Tour Blanche 1983 1er Cru Classé Sauternes
Striking evolved nose is gently lemony with some caramel and herb notes. Quite delicate. The gently textured palate shows complex herby, spicy and melon flavours. Drinking very well now I wouldn’t hold this any longer. Very good+ 89

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