Tasting Note: 1959 Chateau Haut-Bages Liberal


1. Introduction:
The 30 hectares (74 acres) of Chateau Haut-Bages Liberal are divided in two halfs, with one half directly neighboring Chateau Latour and the other half of the vineyard on the plateau of Bages, south of the town of Pauillac.
With an annual production of ~138.000 bottles, today´s plantation contains about 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot growing on deep gravel, clay-limestone and limestone chalk soils that generate wines of power and distinct mineral character. Chateau Haut-Bages Liberal´s wines are stylistically typical Pauillac with generosity, elegance and power, while maybe less tannic and more juicy than most other wines from the appellation.

Hot temperatures in 1959 created grapes of full ripeness and, thereby, wines of rich tannins, high alcohol and low acidity. Overall a great vintage that- and this might be a little surprising, due to the low acidity levels- created wines of amazing future potential!
Our 1959 Chateau Haut-Bages Liberal is flawless with a perfect cork and high fill level.
(No decanting).

2. Appearance:
Deep Dark-Red, Garnet. A little lighter edge, but vital and brilliant!

3. Nose:
Elegant and integrated fragrances of Dark Fruit (Cassis and Cedar!) and Fruit in Rum.
Broad range of secondary and tertiary facets with a lot of (Dried) Herbs, Tobacco, Leather, Pencil Lead and some Iron (!). Spices, Fine Florals and (sweet) Vanilla.
Beautiful and delicate freshness of Mint and Eucalypt plus traces of Pinewood.
Pure, multi-layered fascination! Fine, but vital and intriguing.

4. Taste:
Black and Red Fruits packed in a deep, Velvet structure with finest, remaining tannins and subtle acidity.
Very elegant, but with an exciting play of Sweet- and Tartness.
Core of Earthy and Leathery Characteristics and some Truffles (!).
Great finish of good length, herbal spiciness and a decent punch of Dark, Ripe Fruit (mostly Cassis).

5. Opinion:
Polished by time, elegant and velvety, but of great depth, complexity and fascination.
Constantly evolving of the four hours of drinking and showing all beautiful faces of old Pauillac.
Simply off the charts and the best wine for months. A true revelation!

Tasting Note: 1986 Chateau Haut-Batailley


1. Introduction:
Chateau Haut-Batailley is geographically as well as stylistically close to the neighboring appellation Saint-Julien.
Over the past 10- 15 years it has become what is considered “ideal drinking Pauillac” without immense weight but with appeal and balance.
Great terroir with typical Pauillac vineyards planted with Cabernet Sauvignon (65%), Merlot (25%) and Cabernet Franc (10%) create lovable wines of concentration, richness and suppleness with beautiful traces of minerality.
Bottle and cork of our 1986 Chateau Haut-Batailley are flawless. 12,5% alc.

2. Appearance:
Dark velvet to purple. Still vital and dense.

3. Nose:
The wine needed some time in the decanter to open up.
While aromatics of Vegetables dominated in the beginning, Dark Berry- Fruit took over later.
First light Berries (Raspberry, Gooseberry and some Cedar), later Ripe, Dark Berry- Fruit with Cassis, Black- Cherry and Fruit in Rum.
Beautiful notes of Fresh Herbs (Parsley, Basil and Eucalypt) in a play with Kitchen Vegetables (mostly Celery and Lovage) plus Earthy and Leathery characteristics.
Fine, complex and precise nose with light freshness. Amazing!

4. Taste:
Elegant, Ripe Berries. Fruit in Rum.
Dark Chocolate, Leather, Tobacco and Earth in a typical interaction of tertiary notes.
Amazing Freshness with Fine Minerality, Finely-Spun Acidity and Integrated, Soft Tannins.
Finishes medium-long with Little Fruit, Subtle Anise Spiciness and, again, Soft Tannins.
Light, silky mouthfeel of a greatly structured wine that is presenting itself in the best light with Finesse, Balance and Harmony now!

5. Opinion:
After a short and little bumpy first impression, the wine evolved to perfection in the decanter! Perfect harmony, elegance and balance in a dynamic play.
A big orchestra playing multi-faceted sound on a sophisticated and quiet level.
Fantastic! The wine is far- and well-developed and fully integrated to be consumed now/ soon.


Tasting Note: 1997 Chateau Pichon-Longueville


1. Introduction:
After an investor (AXA Group) took over Chateau Pichon-Longueville in 1987, the winery started to challenge its sister winery and neighbor Chateau Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande (Pichon-Lalande) qualitywise.
Their Cabernet Sauvignon focused wines are modern Pauillacs from the gravel and clay soiled vineyard just above the vineyards of Chateau Latour with a generally clear influence of oak.
Bottle and cork of our 1997 Chateau Pichon-Longueville are flawless. 13% alc.

2. Appearance:
Dark magenta to purple. Vibrant and bright with a slightly transparent rim.

3. Nose:
Fresh, precise and cautious aromatics of Red and Dark Berries with
Pencil Shavings, Dark Chocolate and Spices- some Cinnamon and Anise.
Fresh Herbs (Parsley), Freshly-cut Wood with traces of Wild Roses.
Inviting nose of great complexity and finesse.
In the beginning very focused, later broader with more soft- and sweetness.

4. Taste:
Dark Berries, Black Cherry, Cedar and some Strawberry (!). Ripeness of Stewed Fruit.
Tobacco, Dark Chocolate and multi-layered Herbal Spiciness.
Finishes long with Fresh, Soft Fruit, Round Tannins and gentle Peppery Spiciness.
Fine and powerful with density, harmony and beautiful integrated tannins presenting a wonderful mouthfeel and length.

5. Opinion:
Walking the tight rope by managing the area of conflict between Power and Finesse. Pauillac at its best in an exciting, intense and dark wine!
Precisely focused in the beginning, later opening up with more soft- und ripeness.
Still- compared to a recently tasted fantastic, broader and richer 1990 Pichon-Longueville-
the 1997 is very straight with great fruit, density and coolness.
Perfect now, but able to evolve for 5 more years!


Tasting Note: 1982 Chateau Duhart Milon Rothschild


1. Introduction:
Chateau Duhart Milon was bought by Rothschild in 1964 and is the little sister company of Chateau Lafite. Rothschild replanted most of the vineyards and expanded the overall area under crop over the years.
The wines are blends of Cabernet Sauvignon (usually around 70- 80%) and Merlot (20- 30%) only and well-known for their great longevity and good value for money ratio.
Our 1982 bottle is in perfect condition. Flawless cork, even though it had soaked up a lot of wine over the years.

2. Appearance:
Deep dark velvety, garnet. Hardly any signs of aging.
Bright, dense and vital!

3. Nose:
Inviting aromas of Ripe Dark Berries; mostly Plums, Blackberries and Cassis.
Earthy Characteristics. Licorice aromas paired with Dark Chocolate, Vanilla and Eucalypt.
Fragrances of Tar with little Leather and Tobacco.
Languorous, multi-layered and beautiful nose!

4. Taste:
Some Fruit characteristics of Dark Berries and Fruit in Rum.
Great complexity of secondary characteristics with mostly Licorice, Tobacco and Dark Chocolate.
Some Leather and Earth. A Little dusty.
Finishes long and smooth with beautiful Fruit, lively Acidity and little Peppery Spiciness and even some Minerality. Amazing!
Perfectly vital, complex and round.

5. Opinion:
A Revelation of a perfectly integrated wine with an amazing play of lively fruit and secondary characteristics, giving an example of what Bordeaux from a legendary vintage can do!
Density, great structure and balance delivered with optimum proportions and refinement.
Probably peaking now, but surely good for many years to come.


Tasting Note: 1996 Chateau Grand-Puy-Lacoste


1. Introduction:
Chateau Grand-Puy-Lacoste is well-known for rich and intensely colored, perfect structured and classy wines from Pauillac. The remote estate, which is one of the oldest in the entire Médoc, is located behind the Bages Plateau upcountry and cultivates 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc on very deep coarse gravel.
Our 1996 bottle and cork are flawless.

2. Appearance:
Deep dark-red to purple. Lighter edges, but still very dense and vital!

3. Nose:
First impressions of Sacher Cake!? Sweetness and aromas of Soft Cheese.
Fruit in Rum comes with aromas of fermented, ripe and dark Berries and Plums.
Secondary characteristics of Leaves and Earth.
Traces of Cedar, Eucalypt, fresh Herbs and Vanilla.
Multi-layered and intriguing nose!

4. Taste:
Fruit forward with Fruit in Rum, ripe Cherries and dark Berries.
A little watery with lacking density.
Finishes medium-long with Peppery Spiciness.
Nice, but unfortunately weak and one-dimensional on the palate.

5. Opinion:
A very elegant and solid wine with fully integrated tannins and hardly any remaining acidity. Still nice and easy to drink, this wine is declining and should be drunk very soon!

Tasting Note: 1988 Chateau Duhart Milon Rothschild


1. Introduction:
Chateau Duhart-Milon is the little sister winery of Chateau Lafite and was bought by Rothschild in 1964.
Rothschild replanted most of the vineyards and expanded the overall area under crop.
The wines are blends of Cabernet Sauvignon (usually around 70- 80%) and Merlot (20- 30%) only and well-known for their great ageability and good value for money ratio.
Our 1988 bottle is in perfect condition. Flawless cork, even though it had soaked up a lot of wine over the years.

2. Appearance:
Dark velvet. Obviously aged with a brown tint and transparent, light edges.
Nevertheless, still shining and vital.

3. Nose:
Powerful, but elegant aromas of Freshly Baked Cake, Almond Paste and Dark Chocolate.
Fragrances of Smoke, Leather and Graphite.
Later, more Floral characteristics and Eucalypt.
Complex and beautiful nose driven by secondary characteristics!

4. Taste:
Same here, hardly any fruit. Little bit of Dark Ripe Berries and Cherries.
Fruit in Rum. Some Vanilla and Almond Paste.
Decent bodied with fully integrated tannins, but still lively acidity.
A little short finish with Peppery Spiciness and Minerality.
Filigree and complex!

5. Opinion:
Medium-bodied with fully integrated tannins, soft and round!
Even though, lacking some density and length on the finish,
the wine is very approachable and beautiful to drink now.
If you have one in your cellar, drink it soon!

Tasting Note: 1989 Chateau Mouton Rothschild


1. Introduction:
Well, what can I say introductory to Mouton Rothschild?
There is simply no way around Chateau Mouton Rothschild when you talk about the best wines in the world.
Located in Pauillac, it is a neighbor of Chateau Lafite-Rothschild, but produces wines of a style that are rather comparable with the wines of Chateau Latour and, thereby, more concentrated.
Our 1989 bottle is in great condition, even though the cork had soaked up a lot of wine and was very soft.
We decanted the wine and give it two hours of breathing until we started tasting.
The wine was best after 4+ hours in the decanter.

2. Appearance:
Deep dark-red to purple. Lighter edges, but still dense and vital!

3. Nose:
Dark Black and Blue Berries. Mostly Cabernet driven Aromas of Black Currants and some Black Cherry.
Eukalypt, some Sweetness and present secondary characteristics as Leather, Tabacco, Dark Chocolate and Moss.
Intense Nose! Exciting and complex!

4. Taste:
Black Currants with some bitter sweetness. Caramel, some Ginger and Leather.
Finishes medium-long with vibrant acidity, round tannins and a play of Herbs and Spices.
Feels slightly thin in the mouth, but very balanced and integrated, with a lot of power on the back palate!

5. Opinion:
A solid Mouton from an average vintage or, in other words, a fantastic wine!
Complex and Cabernet Sauvignon- focused with an immense nose, but with very elegant flavors.
Good to drink now or to cellar for 5 to 10 (?) more years, as it still has a solid backbone of acidity and tannins.