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1997 Claret at the SuperBOWL 21/10/2003 TNB

Neal Martin, creator of the excellent www.wine-journal.com (see below) presented a range of 1997 Clarets in one of the slightly rushed but enjoyable afternoon seminars. An interesting vintage to look at: pretty decent wines on the whole with a bad reputation caused by its being one of those vintages which happen every few years where the proprietors lose their grip on reality and decide on higher prices despite the quality.

Neal, fine man that he is, showed us only high-class stuff and it was as one might expect: all good, relatively early-drinking stuff, mainly three stars but with some reservations. I persuaded myself that Cheval Blanc might rate four stars in a year or two for its ravishing flavours and Haut Brion might merit the same on a slightly longer time-scale. Otherwise it was *** down the line: Cos a bit awkward at least for now and Las Cases predictably the most backward. Pichon Lalande and Ducru Beaucaillou more accessible with the latter being the better wine to me because of its scented elegance. Ducru had its problems of course with contamination in the 80s but it is on top form again these days and perhaps a bit under-rated because it is never a block-buster.

To clear our palates we had Doisy Vedrines 1997, which (although I suppose I am comparing apples to oranges) was as good as anything we tasted earlier. Can this really be only £ 140 in bond, as I thought I heard mentioned?

added to Fine Wine Diary 21/10/2003   Return to top