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1986 Ch Gruaud Larose

December 13, 2009

At Absinthe. Things didn’t get off to a good start when I arrived to find that my reservation could not be found. But to the staff’s credit, an additional table was set up immediately adjacent to the restaurant’s entrance, and things got better as the wine was uncorked and decanted, with the manager and the maitre’d enjoying a pour each.

This must be the third time I’ve had the 1986 Ch Gruaud Larose over the past 5 years. Certainly I do remember first tasting it at St Julien restaurant on the occasion of a professorial some years back, courtesy of Hiok, when I was only just beginning to understand Bordeaux. And there was another occasion 3 years ago when I gatecrashed a Gastro dinner at Les Amis bearing this wine as my raison d’tre, as well as another time at home. On both occasions, I recalled it being open, fleshy and succulent.

This wine showed a mature red that was beginning to develop a tawny rim. The initial whiff was full of smoke, saddle, and old leather that leapt of out the glass, as well as flavours of aniseed and dried leaves of classic aged Bordeaux. Medium-bodied. Soft, rounded. Very good grip, though just a little thin on the mid-palate initially, with a bit of a tannic finish. It fleshed out most impressively after an hour, adding more weight and intensity, developing a more generous body, becoming fuller, more expansive and velvety. Quite rich, with good concentration and excellent depth. Structured, but not opulent or outright lush, finishing long. I didn’t catch any graphite note. Would have been difficult to place. Excellent. Only one more left.

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