(2018) At 33-years old, in a more or less perfect place for me, pouring with still a healthy ruby at the core and the nose absolutely à pointe with some herbal Cabernet character, but loads of precise graphite and black fruit and a waft of rose-like perfume somewhere in the background. In the mouth still rich and substantial: a wine that has shrugged off its three decades, still a hint of muscularity and taut athleticism, but there is a softening touch to the fruit, a little Muscavado sugar caramel, but lovely, lovely resolution of the tannins and acids into a harmonious and quite long finish. Could it be a tad more complex? Maybe, but I'm very happy to have one more bottle left in the cellarfor drinking over the next few years.
(2018) Mainly Sangiovese with small amounts of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, this is fermented with indigenous yeasts in concrete tanks, before spending around two years in a mix of old 500-litre barrels and concrete. What a lovely nose, bloody and gamy, and yet suffused with ripe summer berries, elegant tobacco spice adds another layer. In the mouth this is really juicy, the black and red fruits combining to give both some lusciousness and freshness, more of that gamy character and cherry-pit acidity into the spicy, long finish. Wine-searcher shows no UK stockists for this particular vintage at time of review, though 2013 is available.
(2018) This is a blend from younger vines, led by Cabernet Franc and Merlot along with Cabernet Sauvignon and some Syrah too, fermented in large oak casks with indigenous yeasts and aged in barriques and French tonneaux for about 14 months, with15% of new wood. I really enjoyed this hugely authentic and expressive wine, very reminiscent of right bank Bordeaux, with a wild gamy, balsamic and stewed plum character, lovely graphite and cedar notes, and a sense of lush generosity. In the mouth it is sweet-fruited, but that gaminess and slightly wild edge adds loads of savoury interest, the sweet tannins and good, sour cherry acid structure freshening and lengthening the finish.
(2018) A very dry year - even drier than 1994 - a Mediterranean vintage with hot summer and low rainfall. Lots of coffee and more torrefaction character, dense and svelte. Again the colour very youthful. Supple, plush, the deep fleshiness of the plum and mocha fruit and the warming creaminess of the oak. Such a dark pool of fruit here, spices and modern in style, but absolutely beautifully done. Hugely impressive and sumptuous, but on personal taste, the edge of the 2004 just sneaks this battle. Bottle price equivalent given, but only half and full case stockists at time of review.
(2018) In Bordeaux, 1985 is my favourite vintage bar none. Yes, '61 may be more legendary, '49 more revered, but I have bought and drunk a lot of '85s over the past 30 years with unfailing success in the wines being both sumptuous and structured, in an immensely pleasurable vintage. This Margaux may be the pinnacle, a heavenly depth of graphite and cedar-touched ripe, but not overripe, black fruits, the lightest nuances of game and vanilla, and just a gorgeous, ethereal Margaux perfume. In the mouth the tannins are now resolved of course, but the fine-grained, supple nature is lovely and the fresh acidity gives this an alert, still energetic character at 33 years of age. Wonderful fruit, again just touched with cedar and game on the palate, but a depth of blackcurrant and edged by black plum and chocolate bittersweet notes. Long, not fading in the glass after an hour, and possibly with substantial time ahead for well-cellared bottles.
(2018) It seems most years ending with “9” experienced hot summers, delivering exceptionally ripe fruit. 1999 was no exception. Initially a very generous cuvée, with yellow fruited ripeness, the wine has shed a little weight and has matured into a lovely, creamy Champagne. Powerful, but not excessively so. Drink 2018-2028.
(2018) I really do love this vintage, such beautiful toasty richness, a real palate staining intensity of fruit. This Champagne is a sinewy, broad shouldered beast, but never feels overly fat or heavy. A long finish you can almost chew on, and so complex. Solid potential for a score of 96/100. Drink 2020-2045
(2001) Lovely seam of deep, dense black fruit that is creamy, with chocolate and plum depth and a little bit of earthy richness. Gorgeous palate, a really silky texture and flooded with sweet berry fruit intermingled with vanilla and lots of pure, silky finesse from fine tannins and balanced acidity. Very pure, very long, and excellent. Surprisingly approachable, but seems balanced and built for the long haul.
(2001) More compact, muscular, richly powerful nose. There’s a core of lightly toasty oak, with aromas of brazil nut, apricot and peach. Full-bodied, the palate has a nutty quality again with juicy, tight, apricot and peach skin fruit that has a bittersweet quality. Lovely balance an length again. This is very youthful and powerful and need considerable time. Very good indeed/excellent.
(2001) Colour assessment is difficult in Raeburn’s 16th Century cellars. This was bottled in late September 2001, and has a beautifully limpid nose that is honeyed and rich with notes of vanilla, nuts, little floral aromatics and hints of fig. The richly-textured palate has fine but bold fruit. It is very punchy, with gripping acidity and powering concentration into a long finish. A baby, but very good indeed/excellent.