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 ?

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2 thoughts on “Chateau Cantermerle 1985

  1. Hi Byron, I congratulate you on your extensive list of wine reviews! I’ve been particularly interested in your South Australian wines, being a local SA also myself. You have indicated to me a broader range of local wines to try. There is so much on offer in the Barossa! I have a question for you. Given that you admit that your ratings are affected by the purchase price, do you think you could include your purchase price within your review? And where do you go for a good price? Regards, Mark.

    • Thanks Mark. I don’t include prices because what I paid isn’t necessarily what it will cost different readers in different countries.

      And it’s easy for anyone to google to find out the price.

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