Chateau La Gurgue 1999

90 points

Margaux, Bordeaux. 12.5%

This is rather good. The aromas are of a minerally claret, lacking fruit, but it opens up on the palate. Especially with food.

Very drinkable now but I think there would be reward in waiting a couple more years. It’s gaining complexity. Well done for a minor claret.

Unfortunately at retail it’s not cheap. I presume that it once was.

Bernadette Villars was (or is) the winemaker I’m told.



Chateau Cantermerle 1985

92 points

Haut-Medoc, Bordeaux. 12%

It was a special occasion so after a glass of Champagne I opened an old bottle of Bordeaux I hoped would be classical, though unlikely to be spectacular (and maybe vinegar). It was a bottle I recently bought at auction.

I thought it was Chateau Cantermerle 1995. I have had so many excellent bottles of the 96, and that is what made me bid for this.

First sight – lighter colour than expected.

First sniff – complex, but mixed up, just opened aromas. Noticeably green

First taste – oh dear, weedy claret, old to be sure but still a minor weedy wine. Why is this so different from the 1996?

5 minutes later – the nose is really complex now, a green streak to be sure, but it makes me wonder if modern ripe left-bank Bordeaux will ever get this complex with age if they don’t have a green pepper aspect ? And the palate, now much creamier, so charming, light yet so flavoursome. This isn’t great claret but is a vastly better wine than I first took it for.

But still unexpectedly different than the 96…. then I noticed the label, ah dumbo 1985 not 1995. Ten years older and a charming vintage (has there ever been a more consistent and charming vintage ? not in my lifetime).

Not in the league of Rauzan-Segla 1985, but still complex wine for what must have sold for a song in its day. Again I wonder can left-bank Bordeaux will ever get this complex with age if they don’t have a green pepper aspect ? Can these sorts of low alcohol, savoury, complex charming wines be made again today ?