Preamble Tasting February 1998
1. Chateau la Freynelle, Bordeaux Blanc Sec, 19965
Very light in colour. Fruity, grassy nose. Fruit and good acid on the palate; no wood. Mixture od Sauvignon, Semillon and Muscatel, the latter adding weight.
2. Chateau Montalivet, Graves Sec, 1990
Light golden colour. Powerful nose. Deep butterscotch flavour on back of palate replacing the initial freshness. Sauvugnon and Semillon, quite a lot of glycerine.
3. Chateau la Tour Martillac, Pessac-Leognan, Graves, Cru Classe, 1989
Not quite so deep a colour, and a fresher nose. Fresh, elegant, some tannins from the wood, backed by good acid. Maybe another 7-8 years. Appeared very young for its age. This is one of the wines Oz Clarke points out as an "outperformer".
4. Chateau Milary, Bordeaux Superior, Christian Moueix, 1994
Crisp, cherry red looks. Nondescript nose. Smooth but not worth a tenner. Just at the edge of Fronsac, c.2,000 cases per annum. 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvugnon and Cabernet Franc. Very modern label. Moueix appears to be into art and collects Francis Bacon pics.
5. Chateau Macquin Saint-Georges, Saint-Georges Saint-Emilion, 1994
Similar cherry red to the Milary. A deeper nose. Quite tannic, but with good fruit and acid. Somewhat fatter. So much better, and only 60p dearer! This is a satellite commune bordering St. -Emilion. Matured and bottles by Moueix. Merlot and Cabernet Franc.
6. Chateau Fontenil Fronsac, Michel Rolland, 1994
Deep red. Strange nose, it catches, like soap flakes or acid drops (but not unpleasant)? 80% Merlot, 15% Cab Sauvignon. 70% in oak, of which 35% is renewed every year. Another 4-5 years to go here. Very tannic, hiding the fruit. Very dry aftertaste. Not "together" yet.
7. Chateau de la Dauphine, Fronsac, Jean Pierre Moueix, 1994
Deep red, not so deep as the last. Not much nose. Initially smoother on the palate, followed rapidly by very sharp tannins. Good fruit and acid. Less definite than the last, but more gentle: May not develop for as long as it. 70% Merlot, 30% Cab.
8. Chateau Rolland-Maillot, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, 1994
By Michel Rolland. Lighter red but bigger nose. cherries. Tannins and fruit on the palate, not yet integrated. Quite tannic aftertaste. 75% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc. Nice.
9. Pomerol, Le Clocher, Jean Pierre Moueix, 1994
Lovely soft reed with glinting highlights. Beautiful, soft nose. Smooth, still tannic, soft all over. Not a great aftertaste, nor as voluptuous as I expect (and like). ("Le clocher" is the spire; that of the church of Pomerol is shown on the label).
10. Chateau Haut-Beausejour, Saint-Estephe, 1994
This is from Louis Roederer, who makes the incredible 'Cristal' Champagne. Deep, deep red. Less purple than the others. Nose of fizzy sweets. Quite elegant, smooth, much bigger and tougher than the rest. The Cab Sauvignon comes through strongly. Much more structured than anything else we tasted, and with a good fizz. 52% Merlot, 40% Cab Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec. Will keep a long time.