A pristine bottle with impeccable provenance and a mid-neck fill. Deep maroon color with moderate bricking and a nearly-clear rim. Took about 30 minutes to awaken, revealing a haunting, ethereal, beautiful perfume. The spices are layered and Richebourg-like in their complexity and exoticism. Incense, cinnamon, anise, nori, autumn flowers, and a thousand other sensations that jump from the glass, flutter around, disappear, and re-emerge transformed. The palate is mid-weight, seamless, silky, and long, and yet the spectacular fireworks on the nose don't quite come through to the finish. A wonderful but not transcendent wine.
Third time tasted. The perfect, Zen-like confluence of power and elegance. An utterly complete and seamless wine. Its dynamism is the equal of the '82 Petrus, tasted side-by-side (see TN), but the palate here is more vigorous and persistent, and the finish blasts off instead of attenuates. The fruit and spices are intense, hauntingly complex, harmonious, and beautiful. Still youthful and gorgeously structured, this easily has 50 or more years of life ahead.
High-toned, cedar-infused nose. The palate is medium-weight and nicely structured, showing red fruit, leather, pencil lead, and coffee. The flavors are very finely detailed and build to a moderately long finish. A down-the-middle, elegantly balanced, complex wine that seems to be right in the sweet spot of its drinking window.
Second time tasted. Easily the darkest wine of the night. Brooding and a touch rustic, this must have been utterly, forbiddingly backward for most of its existence since bottling. At age 28 it's a quite interesting drink, but still not really open for business. Thick, spicy, concentrated, youthful, very dark fruit, framed by thick, hard-edged tannin. There are some interesting rainwater/iron/mineral flavors lurking here, but they're mostly hidden. This may well grow less rugged and brawny with more bottle age, but I don't think it will ever develop the elegance or charm to balance its sheer power.
Ex-chateau. Intense nose of smoke and strawberries. The palate is large-scaled, long, and beautifully balanced, with intriguing and complex flavors of red fruit, cinnamon, tobacco, and vitamin that build to an intense finish. Supple, almost soft texture, with ultra-fine, suave tannins. Steadily put on weight in the glass. Really impressive.
Softer and a bit more evolved than the '82 Grand-Puy-Lacoste, tasted side-by-side (see TN). Quite approachable on the palate, showing nicely ripe, dark plummy fruit, a touch of brown sugar, and smoky campfire notes on the long finish. I don't know the provenance of this bottle, but it was more advanced than I expected.