I have had the pleasure of tasting obscenely expensive wines at the compliments of Le Clos a couple of times recently. This occasion was tasty line-up that also included some quite obscure and rare wines, neatly wrapped like a little Christmas present at a festive degustation at Cave at the Conrad. And like a femme fatale, luring me in, this particular red was the one I came for.
Some background: Wine Specator gave it 100/100. Robert Parker gave it 98, and James Suckling 99. Decanter gave it 19/20, and Le Guide Hachette des Vins a 3 star, Vin Exceptionnel (highest rating). It’s touted to be the best wine made at this Deuxieme Grand Cru Classe Bordeaux estate since 1996. Quite a pedigree, non?
For those who need a little rundown on Bordeaux, and specifically, Haut-Medoc red wines, Here’s the basics. This is a Cabernet blend from one of the four big districts (Saint-Julien, with Margaux, Saint-Estephe and Pauillac making up the others. There are two other districts – Moulis and Listrac – but they are often forgotten as they contain no classed growth-or “cru”- wines), which is known for wines of elegance, ageworthy, yes, but always approachable and mouthfilling. There are no Premier Grand Cru Classe wines in Saint-Julien (e.g. labels like Chateau Margaux, Mouton-Rothschild), but this probably is the most esteemed of the second (or deuxieme) growth wines in the district. It never sells for less than around $150 a bottle, even in the worst vintages.
You can see what they are all raving about – it really does have a mammoth nose. A little brett but in a lovely way – all marzipan and earth, and not dominating in the slightest. Deep blackberry fruit and other briar-patch characters and a little gravy. Front palate is very closed. Mocha creeps in later with apple peel and herbs. Lovely spicy oak and tobacco lick along the finish. It’s a little disappointing right now, with that lack of punchy front-fruit, but I expect it will open as it develops. At this stage it’s way to young, hence my inability to mark it higher. Does not mean I’ll never mark it 20/20 though…
A round-up of other recent Bordeaux wines tasted here.17.5/20 Drink in 5 years + 1500AED (Le Clos, available Duty free at the airport, or at Al Hamra the cellar, RAK)