Saturday, 22 September 2012.
A tasting of clarets from the cellars of Downing College, Cambridge led by Mr Richard Stibbs, President & Fellow Steward. This tasting was part of the Cambridge University Alumni Weekend, 21-23 September 2012. The wine are presented in the order they were tasted; again, some very brief notes on some of them; all were opened just before tasting.
2000 Chateau Lanessan, Haut Medoc
Old school nose, some blackberry and dark fruit showing, with pencil shavings and graphite, touch of polished wood too; proper, mature claret nose. On the palate, good fruit with balancing acidity; filling mouthfeel, good presence on midpalate; still lively, it has life ahead of it, tastes surprisingly youthful. Exceeded expectations.
2003 Chateau Terrefort Quancard, Bordeaux Superieur
Warming red fruit / compote, with some dusty / damp touches too. On the palate, the fruit is starting to fade away, its a lighter, 'luncheon' style wine; touch of drying tannins on the finish. Its not remarkable, but its drinking very nicely; an everyday wine.
2004 Chateau Langoa-Barton, St Julien 3eme Cru
Classic St Julien nose - plenty of dark fruit, woody notes with capsicum, tobacco / woody notes, baked earth / rusty / ashen notes, with pencil shavings & graphite; very open and generous nose. Wonderful concentration of flavours, plenty of ripe, dark fruit, with balancing fruity acidity; very generous mid palate, so juicy and yielding at the moment; ripe tannins at the end. Surprisingly accessible now, this will develop with time, drink now - 2025+.
2002 Chateau Langoa-Barton, St Julien 3eme Cru
Again, textbook nose of dark fruit, with stalky / wooded aromas, bell peppers, and pencil shavings; in comparison, the '04 had a far more overtly fruity nose, this was more subdued and old school and a touch more evolved. On the palate, good amount of dark fruit but not as generous as the '04; feels more closed and hard going; fresh acidity, slightly gritty tannins towards the end. Its well structured, but not particularly accessible now, perhaps at an awkward phase? Drink 2015-2025+.
2000 Chateau Lascombes, Margaux 2eme Cru
Soft, fragrant red fruit coulis, with violets and roses; sweet polished wood like cedar / mahogany; lovely aromas, very inviting, sophisticated stuff. On the palate, the fruit is red cherries and ripe red currants and raspberries; very lush and sweet, with fruity acidity; feels very balanced and supple, ripe and melting tannins on the finish. Very seductive, this is showing so wonderfully now and will develop for another decade; drink now - 2020+. My favourite of the tasting.
2005 Chateau Patache d'Aux
2003 Chateau Haut Batailley, Pauillac 5eme Cru
Classical Pauillac with a hint of maturity - dark fruit with polished wood, rather masculine. On the palate, the fruit is showing nicely, beginning to open up; sweet cassis is there, with some grainy tannins on the finish; for a 2003, it feels very balanced, and doesnt show any ill effects from the very hot vintage. Just entering its drinking window, drink now - 2020+.
2006 Chateau Batailley, Pauillac 5eme Cru
Quite woody on the nose - stalky, with cedar and polished fragrant woody notes coming later. Good fruit on the palate but doesnt feel that concentrated, tastes youthful and but is quite closed at this stage. Its not particularly concentrated, so probably not going to be a great claret but the structure is all there; drink 2015-2025+.
2005 Cheateau Moulin Riche, St Julien
Second label of Ch. Leoville Poyferre. Soft nose; stewed red fruit and red plums, feels a tad hot / cooked. Good fruit on the palate, very accessible and juicy; cassis with fragrant wood, smooth mouthfeel and has a polished / sophisticated feel to it. Well balanced and showing nicely, though perhaps lacking concentration and length; drink now - 2020.