Served blind. Quite ripe on the nose, with blackberries, plums, cigar ash, and a touch of vanilla, getting more cedary with air. Medium weight with plenty of fruit remaining although the fruit is a bit tart and the and the acid/tannin structure is just slightly out ahead of the fruit. The tannin while a bit drying is nice and velvety. Faded in the glass. Dunns are known for taking forever to come around, but I would bet on this bottle being slightly past peak rather than needing more time.
Beautifully mature, complex nose with ash, earth, soil, green peppercorn, and cassis. Despite this not being a huge wine there's good depth to the fruit on the palate and the tannins are mostly resolved and silky. With air they get a little fuzzier and the wine develops a nice savory edge. Just starting to decline perhaps but lovely right now.
Ripe and black-fruited with a roasted quality, developing a slight green note with air. Simpler and less complex than most of the others. Full bodied with redder fruit in the mouth, richer than I might have expected. Very nice if outclassed on the night.
Wonderful smokey nose with deep dark fruit that with air becomes more perfumed and floral. On the palate the wine is rich velvet with a lovely texture but the tannin dominates the fruit -- you feel the velvet more than you taste anything. Nice but not really more than that, blown away by the Gruaud alongside and probably the biggest disappointment of the night for me among the "correct" bottles, although others seemed to like it better.
Oh wow, now we're talking. Dark and deep, with licorice, black fruit, sweet tobacco, floral notes, good lift, perhaps slightly high-toned, just an intoxicating nose. It's smooth, deep, and powerful, with a great core of cassis fruit and while still structured the balance is there (unlike the Ducru) and the finish is long. Fantastic.
A little funky. Powerful nose but the dominant impression is roast coffee. Someone mentioned VA and while I didn't pick up on it at first that's probably present here. Much better in the mouth, with powerful black fruit, coffee, chocolate, and lots of structure, but air didn't really help here. I liked this more than most but it was probably not correct.
Great classic Pauillac nose of cassis, cigar ash, leather, a bit horsey, truffle. Filled out with air, lots of fruit left, there's a certain exoticism here that it shares with the Lalande, a kind of cumin or curry/Indian spice. Great depth, with a chocolatey finish over slightly gritty tannins that shows great length. Excellent. Faded in the glass. Drink up?
Oh wow. Knockout nose, with black fruit, curry spice, cigar, smoked earth. Richer than the Lynch with complex cassis, chocolate, that exotic spice flavor, and amazing length. The second time I've had this wine in two weeks (it's a tough life, I know), and this showed differently, more evolved, less primary, not as plush or rich, without the same viscosity and power but with more acid, more savory, more complex, more elegant, better length, equally fantastic. I think the other bottle still had a ways to go while this one is fully at peak. Easy choice as WOTN for everyone. Spectacular.
Corked, but despite being corked this was still better than the previous bottle of this I had, with lots of powerful deep fruit and a long chocolatey finish hiding underneath the TCA. 0/2 on this one. Would love to find a good bottle someday.
France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
Lovely mix of plum and raspberry fruit, sweet and smokey on the nose. Smooth and fleshy, chocolate on the back end, very merloty, plenty of fuzzy tannin left, long finish. Easily the best of the right-bankers tonight.
My notes are getting short at this point. Red-fruited, lighter and more elegant than the Canon, velvety, drying out just a touch. Nice but not exciting, I would have liked this better if it hadn't been the 11th red wine of the night.