Past Wines of the week

Chateau Motrose, AOC Saint Julien 1855 2nd Cru Classé 1996 

Tasted at the chateau, October 2013.Montrose is a wine that is known for being a slow burner, often tasting tight and powerfully tannic for many years after en primeur. This now has over 15 years of age, and is really coming in to its own, just sliding into itself and getting that smoky, seductive feel that good Médoc wine excels at. The fruit has evolved from the black-skinned cassis to a more autumnal brambly feel, rich and relaxed, with the tannins now showing a hint of sweetness, still supporting the fruit but loosening up. A high 73% of cabernet sauvignon in the blend, as is typical from Montrose. A beautiful wine that will make you smile, and that shows you what claret can be when the weather and the chateau play ball. If you have a bottle, you can happily about open it up now (I'd still decant for an hour before drinking), but it easily has another 15 to 20 years of life in it. 95 / 18.5. Highly recommended. Drink from now (2013) until 2025.

Recommended price: approx €85


Chateau Figeac, AOC Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé B 2001

Tasted at a friend's house over a sunny lunch, May 2013.
We tasted a corked example of this wine around one month ago, and Figeac very kindly replaced it with a new bottle. This time around, it was in perfect condition. This is so far removed from the modern-style of pumped up Saint Emilions - gentle, well balanced, tannins soft and sweet, a mineral edge, fruit clearly ripe but no hint of overripeness. Typically 70% cabenet sauvignon and cabernet franc, with just 30% merlot - and you can feel the slight austerity given by the cabernet grapes, and the acidity that is a touch higher than some of its neighbours in Saint Emilion. Surprisingly, this was aged in 100% new oak, not that there is a hint of any torrefication notes. This can easily be opened and enjoyed now - but if you have a bottle, there is no great rush, I would suggest another 8 to 12 years to ensure that the fruit is still at its best.   94 / 18.25. Highly recommended. Drink from now (2013) until 2025.

Recommended price: approx €80

Chateau Margaux, AOC Margaux 1998
Tasted at Faculty of oenology, April 2013.

Dense violet and rose nose, hugely aromatic. THis is now 15 years old but lost almost no density in anthocyanins, still a young bullish red. On the palate, there is truffle, nuances of mint, llquorice and pepper. Attack is fresh and suave, tannins imperceptible but a source of freshness and grip. No hint of dryness, really a superb wine that is at the beginning of its drinking window. A real treat, and should easily give another few decades of pleasure.

Recommended price: approx €225