Jeroboam Club: Ch. Margaux Vertical

Bordeaux Quay, Bristol

Tasted November 8, 2006 by wineamateur with 1,347 views

Introduction

A wonderful tasting, introduced by Michael Schuster MW. This was the second of an intended series of Super 8 Bordeaux tastings (Haut Brion having preceded last year). Though the overall quality wasn't perhaps as consistent as with Haut Brion, the top wines were absolutely stellar (there was a big gap between them and the chasing pack).

Flight 1 - 1999 and 1997 (2 notes)

Red
1999 Château Margaux France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux
89 points
Deep saturated purple. Grassy, fumey nose with ripe black and blue berry aromas; some secondary development. Toasty oak to the fore on the nose. Sweet but with a streak of lead pencil / cranberry bitterness. Medium weight. Quite open on the palate. Nice. Good length and a coffeed aftertaste. Showing well but really needs more time.
Red
1997 Château Margaux France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux
86 points
Quite a developed colour. Ripe bubblegum fruit on the nose, minty, with hints of orange peel and mulled wine spices, earthy-meaty-livery-bloody elements, some green grassy fruit, a bit muddy. Open-knit on the palate, a bit watery, some chewy tobacco flavours. A little green, lacks the ripeness of fruit of the '99, rather dry tannins, medium-good length.

Flight 2 - 1998 and 1981 (2 notes)

Red
1998 Château Margaux France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux
90 points
Deep dark purple; a tad more advanced in appearance than the '99 and '97. Very open, attractive nose. Some secondary development, fungal notes, minty. A nice gentle hit on the palate, a bit watery at first, with coffeed notes to the fore; some prickly tannins but slips down without fuss. Nice, but maybe lacks a bit of grip. Quite fresh as compared with the '99, lacks a bit of 99's ripeness, but a bit more flattering now.
Red
1981 Château Margaux France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux
91 points
Still a good deep colour. Meaty-liver-blood notes to the fore on the nose, with honey, tobacco leaf, some very appealing blueberry and blackcurrant fruit, and fungal notes. Herbaceous on the palate, green capsicum, but mouthfilling, open and evolved, with a good mid and rear palate and a long finish. Cranberry backbone but a nice sweetness. Made in an old-fashioned style; I found this more enjoyable than others.

Flight 3 - 1989 and 1988 (2 notes)

Red
1989 Château Margaux France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux
93 points
Good deep plum colour, with a hint of age. Ripe plump fruit on the nose, with plenty of secondary development. Lovely, silky. Nutmeg and cinnamon spice, hint of orange peel, mint. Lovely pure blackcurrant fruit. Lovely sweet attack on the palate, still youthful though not really full-throttle on the mid-palate - the fruit still to evolve. Some odd dusty notes and very dry, dusty tannins. But a nice sweetness overall and very good length on the sweet finish.
Red
1988 Château Margaux France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux
89 points
Appearance: deep plum, stil youthful. One the nose: comparatively restrained, with minty and cedar notes, classically elegant, and some cordial-like blackcurrant fruit. Quite dry in the mouth, austere, slightly muddy tannins. Lacks some generosity of fruit, and a bit short on the finish. A bit green. Like a slender majority of other tasters, I preferred the 89 (in my case, but quite a margin).

Flight 4 - 1996 and 1995 (2 notes)

Red
1996 Château Margaux France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux
98 points
Ripe dark plum colour. Clean, fresh and elegant on the nose, with ripe sweet fruit (blueberry / blackberry / blackcurrant) and minty and cedar notes and some secondary development. Spicy with nutmeg and orange peel. Really quite splendid. In the mouth, clean fresh but mouthfilling. Very good attack and nice mid-palate sweetness and weight. Beautifully proportioned with an excellent, elegant finish. Very fine. WOTN for me and overall.
Red
1995 Château Margaux France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux
92 points
Bright purple, darker than the 96. Initial hit of roasted coffee beans on the nose, with round, sweet, ripe fruit; some funky cola baby notes, sherberty; hints of toffee and caramel. On the palate, larger scale than the 96, a bit heavier, but something green underneath so not as classy. Still, the ripe sweet fruit does come through in the mouth, and there's a good mid-palate and finish.

Flight 5 - 1985 and 1983 (2 notes)

Red
1985 Château Margaux France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux
91 points
Nice medium-red, evolved colouration. Attractive sweet fruit: plums and blueberries, with a hint of sur-maturity (heady). A bit brown-tinged on the palate, but lovely if a tad tired.
Red
1983 Château Margaux France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux
flawed
Corked. Tragic (though I gather this is the most variable, most TCA-prone Margaux around).

Flight 6 - 2000 and 1990 (2 notes)

Red
2000 Château Margaux France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux
97 points
A young brooding monster. Sweet caramel nose, lots of vanilla, deep dark fruit, roasted coffee. Yummy. And it goes on... Rose petals, Turkish delight, mint... Loads of complexity. Cool but muscular on the palate, great strength on the attack but restrained, great freshness and clarity of definition, great components. Simply a great wine. (My only, very slight complaint: some rather greenish tannins.)
Red
1990 Château Margaux France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux
96 points
Deep plum in colour, some signs of age. Lovely sweet fresh nose. Soft and round and appealing. Loads of fruit: strawberries, blackcurrants, cola, blueberries and plums. Gorgeous attack in the mouth; medium weight but mouthfilling; very good structure; elegant; tobacco leaf, with cranberry / lead pencils to balance the sweetness.

Closing

My WOTNs: (1) 1996, (2) 2000, and (3) 1990.

Overall WOTNS: (1) 1996 (40 pts), (2) 1990 (39 pts), (3) 2000 (19pts) and (4) 1985 (5pts).

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