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83 Brane Cantenac, La Lagune, 99 Pavillon rouge an


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Dinner with friends and some nice old wines last night.

1993 Deutz Blanc de Blancs – this Champagne was teetering on the brink of the transition from interesting wine to tired old dog. Lots of colour, decent mousse, yeasty nose, with a hint of impending senility, but not over the hill yet. I have no idea if this bottle was typical or if it had accelerated development due to cellaring conditions. Nonetheless, enjoyable now, but I wouldn’t hold it more than another year unless you are English.

2003 Burrowing Owl Pinot Gris – nice nose, fresh and lemony and soft and showing some complexity. Went well with an artichoke dip – hard to pair with!

2001 Suckfizzle Sauvignon-Semillon – time out for a little Rabelaisian diversion. Nose on this NOT typically Australian, rather a marked wet stone sort of thing, with good bright fruit. Very nice, and would be hard to guess blind.

1983 Ch. La Lagune – a slight bottle stink blew off quickly and this turned out to be quite a decent bottle. The nose showed good fruit, and the wine is now absolutely mature and should be drunk up in the near term. Very pleasant claret, and a good one to drink while the 82 continues to rest.

1983 Ch. Brane Cantenac – the host chose this order, as he wanted to match Margaux with Margaux, but I’d have served this one first as I expected it to be the lesser wine. It had a more immediately attractive nose with some good definition of fruit, very good colour, but showed a bit on the thin side after and initially hopeful entry, soft, decent structure, and then it slid from there with less fruit and shorter finish than the La Lagune. It also faded more quickly and I’d say if you’ve still got any, drink up and don’t decant long before you serve it.

1999 Pavillon Rouge de Margaux – this was a good Pavillon but not an exceptional one. Fairly dark, with some depth and complexity showing in the nose, the fruit is forward but the still firm tannins dictate additional cellaring before enjoying this to the full. I’d rate it better than the 1990 (which somewhat disappointed me) and not quite as good as the 1982. The lack of acidity here didn’t hamper the red as much as it did the Pavillon Blanc in 1999.

Zoilo Ruiz-Mateos Don Zoilo Very Old Brown Sherry – couldn’t see through this old wine, but the nose was great old sherry with a touch of wax, and the medium sweet wine showed layers of flavour in the mouth. You either love or hate this sort of wine (many people just don’t ‘get’ them) but I found it fascinating. I am not sure whether this house still carries on business.

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