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1986: Gruaud-Larose & Leoville Poyferre

October 27, 2012

A quiet, efficient but excellent dinner at La Barca on 24 Oct 2012, where the 1.2 kg wagyu Fiorentina with truffles is still the best available, period. When I arrived, the 1986 Ch Gruaud Larose (courtesy John) had already been decanted for 45 minutes. To my surprise, this bottle was darker and a lot fresher in appearance and taste compared to a previous tasting back in Dec 2009 (see post). There was an abundance of earthy, mild medicinal aromas from a wine that was initially almost full-bodied, full of spice and attack. It softened considerably after some time, with more of wild mushrooms and cassis appearing, very linear with excellent depth and layering  but still slightly backward in overall impression in spite of all its 26 years. Side by side, the 1986 Ch Leoville Poyferre (my third bottle from a case imported from Bordeaux Index), decanted on site, was much softer and open right from the first pour, medium-bodied, the red and dark fruits still decent in concentration, yet to dry out, but clearly fully matured and mellow. Although not quite the last word in complexity, the wine still tingled with vibrancy at the edges, fleshing out with more fat in the mid-body over time. Although these wines are drinking very well now, I didn’t quite get a sense of the usual St-Julien terroir, missing in the ferrous minerality, tobacco, toast and cigar box characters, though I fancy the Gruaud-Larose was fuller and has the legs to last longer. My thanks to John for organising this dinner. And oh…have I mentioned that La Barca is now BYO on Wednesdays?

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