(2021) Having last tasted this 18 years ago, 'en primeur', when I rated it 87/100 and suggested that it was for early drinking, my expectations were tempered. There's still good colour, though that is pale and edged with brick. The nose is gamey and cedary, with a touch of green leafiness, but there is a black fruit in there too. The palate is a touch lean, but I really enjoyed this, a coffee depth of oak and juiciness there to the black fruit, actually the balance pretty solid. Probably not for extended cellaring but enjoyable for sure, perhaps surprisingly so, and proper mature Bordeaux.
(2021) From an east-facing vineyard of limestone soil in the Côte de Nuits, where large blocks of stone give the vineyard its name, vines were planted in 1950-1951. Deep, and relatively saturated garnet in colour, the nose is suffused with spiced black fruits, a little wild cherry note, and sweet earthiness hinting at menthol in this very young wine. In the mouth there's a phalanx of tannin and keen cherry-pit acidity driving for now, the firm, savoury fruit more in the red fruit specturm, a little umami and hard, steely precision of cool concentration. A tightly-wound wine that will need years to properly develop its aromas and flavours, and will cellar for decades. Intensity and balance are both superb already. Price and stockist quoted is for the previous vintage at time of review. Around 280€ per bottle in France.
(2020) Not tasted since 2000, this was decanted off the sediment and poured almost immediately. Shy at first, within 10 minutes in the glass the sweet red and black fruit began to emerge, joining game and light cedary scents that grew and grew, becoming richer and firmer in the glass. On the palate a gorgeous iron-oxide, dried blood streak to this, the finesse of the tannins and acidity just beautifully balanced, the wine structurally elegant and yet muscular, a great depth of savoury fruit really beginning to dominate the mid-palate and the long finish. Superb. Drinking really, really well now, but will hold for several years I suspect.
(2019) First released in 2003, 2013 brought a rainy spring and early summer, but followed by a hot, but not extreme, summer providing ideal ripening conditions. 100% Sangiovese harvested at 34 hl/ha, the wine spent 24 months in Slavonian oak barriques, only 10% of which were new. Perfumed and lifted compared to the Luce, tobacco and spices dominating the sappy cherry. More sour acidity here, proper Italianate acidity, draped with the red and black fruits into a long, spicy finish.
(2019) The dosage here is 6gl, in a wine disgorged in March 2018. Fully mature (perhaps overly so). Honey, apricots, dried fruit, and oxidative spiciness are the themes here, and I certainly wouldn’t age it further. Instead, enjoy the evolved nature of the bouquet by pairing with food. Drink upon release. £622 (case of six), Crump, Richmond & Shaw.
(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.