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FICOFI: 1970 Cos D’Estournel, 1988 Palmer, 1982 Canon-la-Gaffeliere, 1997 Figeac

June 16, 2019

These tasting notes stem from a fairly extensive Bordeaux promenade organized by FICOFI at Empress, Singapore, on 08 June 2019. All the wines were showing well, each reflecting very well the individual vintage characteristics. For once, the Right Bank appeared to have outshone the Left Bank in character and potential. The highlight of the line-up, for me, must be the 1997 Figeac, perennially under-rated but here, its natural beauty and elegance is perfectly caught. Many thanks, Philippe and Chee Wee, for a lovely afternoon.

2016 Pavillon Blanc du Ch Margaux. Fresh grassy elements dominate with a delightful glow of delicate morning dew on the nose, matched by a lovely oily density on the medium-full palate amid white floral tones, displaying superb acidity and integration, finishing with glowing tones of nutmeg and Asian spices. Excellent.

2016 Y d’Yquem. Not much on the nose, proffering only glimpses of clear morning dew and citrus before it grew in confidence, more gently seductive as it revealed layers of enticing tropical fruits with subdued sweetness at the sides, only to lapse into a quiet linear finish. Don’t waste it.


2001 Ch Margaux. Smoky tones of sweet incense and dark currants dominate on the nose along with characters of bramble and briar. Medium-bodied and classically structured with cool dark fruits, showing good acidity and integration but it is rather underwhelming.

1999 Ch Lafite Rothschild. Good colour, exuding a gentle glow of red plums. Medium-bodied and fleshy with pointed acidity that conferred lovely freshness, but this still cannot disguise its relative lack of the quintessential Lafite charm and  velvetiness, a tad short as well. Underwhelming.

2004 Ch Latour. Good colour, stuffed with a generous expanse of mulberries, dark fruits, raspberries and early cedar with a mahogany glow. Warm, rounded and seamless, showing great integration and subtlety in its structure and acidity although there seemed to be a lingering  trace of woodiness. A classic claret though without that extra dimension that comes with the best vintages.

2009 Ch Mouton Rothschild. There’s obviously plenty of stuffing beneath but this wine is resolutely shut on the nose, though open enough on the palate with fine transparency,  well-layered with ripe dark fruits and red currants amid overtones of camphor and haw flakes, laced with very fine acidity, finishing quietly. A very well-behaved aristocrat that will need many more years to come around.

1988 Ch Palmer, poured from magnum. Displaying an evolved vermilion, this wine is absolutely radiant in its wonderful bouquet of bright orangey tangerines and red fruits, still imbued with remarkably fresh acidity in its rounded fleshiness, highly seamless, carrying tremendous verve and energy all the way through to its lengthy persistence. Simply outstanding.

1995 Ch Clerc Milon, poured from double magnum. Well evolved in tone and colour. Rather full and velvety, caressing the palate with a broad expanse of warm supple fruit, very lovely in its ripeness, superb integration and acidity. Just a tad short at the finish, but this wine exceeds all expectations by a broad margin. Truly excellent.

1995 Ch Leoville Las-Cases. Deep garnet red. Effusive in smoky dusty aromas, beautifully structured with taut tension that added infinite definition to the gorgeous complex of complex dark fruits and currants within, exuding alluring opulence and charm without the plumpness. Excellent.

1970 Ch Cos D’Estournel. Dark garnet red, imbued with broad swathes of warm ripe fruit, dark plums and black currants within its layers, still remarkably excellent in concentration, fullness and acidity, far from drying out. A second bottle was even more delicate in inner detail, open and brightly lit. Has the legs to carry on for many more years. Excellent.


2011 Ch L’Evangile. Deep purple, proffering a lovely complex on the bouquet that delivered a superb concentration of dark plums, red fruits and dark currants on the palate, very well integrated with taut acidity that conferred plenty of verve and vigour even though the spectrum of flavours is rather narrow at this stage, finishing with great excitement. Already drinking very well but it deserves further cellaring in order to flesh out more. Excellent.

2005 Ch La Conseillante, poured from double magnum. Impenetrably dark, exuding an effusive deep glow of delicious dark currants and black fruits amid overtones of fresh leather. Amply endowed with glorious ripe fruit with a distinct note of soy that impart taut acidity and tension, beautifully open with velvety textures, revealing a bit of gritty detail as it tapered to a glowing minty finish amid traces of sweet. Outstanding.

2005 Ch La Mondotte. Deep garnet red. Wonderful depth of dark plums, red currants and dark berries bathed in glowing varnish. Full-bodied and expansive, tight with superb acidity and warmth without being overwhelming. Excellent.

2004 Ch Cheval Blanc, poured from magnum. Very dark, from the depths of which arose a great glowing perfumed fragrance. Medium-full and quite brightly lit on the palate, rounded with smooth absolute linearity and layered with delicious presence, finishing well. Yet to differentiate at this stage. Do not waste.

2006 Vieux Chateau Certan. Displaying some early evolution, this wine is essentially shut, although the palate is imbued with excellent density and fullness with a glossy sheen of emulsion, richly layered with an immense depth of dark currants and dark plums, superbly ripe with wonderful acidity, still tight but opening up with some fine inner detail, finishing with great linearity. Great potential.

1982 Ch Canon-la-Gaffeliere. Evolved clear vermillon, exuding a gently perfumed tertiary glow. Open and rounded, softly layered with good depth of delicious red fruits on a velvety bed, still imbued with great acidity and amazing freshness, finishing well. Most remarkable. Quite superb.

1997 Ch Figeac. Showing some evolution at the rim, this wine exudes the classic glow of an aged claret, distinctly feminine in its abundance of red fruits and tangerines. Softly textured, open and highly supple, laced with very fine acidity that still excites the senses, flowing with a very natural unforced elegance right through to its delicious finish. This is why Figeac is held in such high esteem by those who appreciate. Marvellous.

2003 Ch Coutet Madame Cuvee. Highly enticing in its deep golden lustre, delivering an intense concentrated expanse of nectarine and apricot with controlled sweetness and high-toned intensity. Yet to develop true complexity, this is a Barsac for the ages.


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