Chateau Rauzan-Segla 2004

92++ points

Classy. Shares the vintage character with its Margaux neighbours; a rather successful vintage for Margaux.

Dense fruit enveloped in sawdust oak. Great balance. Lovely finish with just a hint of the sort of sweet character that will open up with age. A wine with a very long future in front of it. Should be lovely in 2020-2030. Potentially great.

Penfolds Bin 90A Coonawarra Cabernet Barossa Valley Shiraz 1990

92 points

Coonawarra & Barossa, South Australia. 13.5%

Consumed in Bordeaux France alongside some great claret (Rauzan-Segla 85 and Haut-Bailly 88).

It seems such a strange wine. It’s not the Shiraz as the Cabernet is dominant. It’s the added acidity, the oak (which must be American) and the slight mintiness.

The nose is gorgeous, by far the best feature.

It’s a good wine but I can see why collectors like me favor Bordeaux in their cellars.

Chateau Segla 1990

90 points

Margaux. 12.8%

Second wine of Chateau Rauzan-Segla from a good vintage but unlikely that it was meant to last 20 years.

Surprisingly dark colour. A large framed Merlot oriented claret, becoming a bit frail with obvious oxidation. Quite a lot of fun drinking now.

Slightly spirity even though it’s only 12.8% alcohol.

This was bought from a wine store called Uylsses in Margaux owned by Rauzan-Segla. This no doubt largely explains the good condition of the bottle.

Chateau Rauzan-Segla 1985

96 points

Margaux. 12.5%

A truly gorgeous wine. This is one of the greatest wines I have ever tried.

Light appetizing. Classic claret. Marked by fresh acidity even now at 25 years old.

I tasted a vintage around this date as a young inexperienced wine drinker and was unimpressed by its lack of body. Now I think this style is superb. Concentrated, complex, ripe but on a fine lithe frame.

UPDATE 2012 – I have been fortunate to have been able to source a number of bottles of this wine.  Tonight I’m trying what will probably be my last.  I’m firmly convinced that this style of wine could not be made without the low alcohol and greenness that is part of the mix.  It convinces me to buy great estates in the non investment (super ripe) vintages.

I wish I could drink wine like this every night.

Chateau Prieure-Lichine 2004 & 2005

92 and 90 points

Margaux, Bordeaux. 13% and 13.5%

Surprisingly the 2004 was the better wine on the night. Finer more floral aromas. The oak is a little more noticeable on the 2004. The 2005 is bigger, as expected, dense with lots of very ripe tannins – but lower acidity so it is more approachable. It’s a very nice wine but the 2004 is a class act.

Goulee 2005

83 points

Medoc. 13.5%

A new “chateau” or brand, a vineyard on land north of the Medoc at Port de Goulee from the Cos d’Estournel team ( St Estephe).

I recall reading a favourable review somewhere but this was a bit disappointing. Dolled up with oak, it’s too modern too manufactured. Better with food and some breathing. It’s sort of rustic savoury but souped-up.

Not my sort of wine.

Chateau Maurel Fonsalade ‘La Fonsalafe’ Saint Chinian 2000

91 points

Saint Chinian. 13.5%

I’ve long considered St Chinian a superior appellation in the South – or at least one that produces wines that appeal to me (a higher % of Shiraz).

This is very good. At 10 years of age it is smooth, not soft, with some depth. Warm Shiraz with a touch of vegetal cooler climate character along with a touch of southern spice. The result is a wine I am sure I would find awfully difficult to pick in a blind tasting. More class than usually encountered down South yet different from Northern Rhone. If it were Australian I’d guess it were from Bendigo but I’d still be puzzled.

Chateau Les Carmes Haut-Brion 2004

90+ points

Pessac-Leognan. 13%

Gorgeous aromas of dusty oak integrated with brambly fruits and iron. Reminds me of Domaine de Chevalier. Ripe but with refreshing acid lift.

The palate is a bit of a surprise then. This is less charming than expected there is bitterness and a good deal of tartaric acid. This wine demands food. Really needs a couple more years of age.

Interesting wine.

Chateau Filhot 2007

91 points

Sauternes. 13.5%

I wouldn’t normally drink Sauternes so young (although it can be charming when the initial fruit is so forward in the first few years) but this was so cheap.

Lovely fresh with excellent sweetness, uncluttered by oak. This will turn into a fine beeswaxy Sauternes with purity and complexity. Today it is quite simple but lovely still. It drank well over a week.