A tasting run by Ray Abercromby who was squatting some accountants' offices in Manchester.

Three verticals - Ch. Maucaillou, AC Moulis (Bordeaux); Ch. Musar (Lebanon); Jaboulet, Crozes-Hermitage Thalabert (Rhone)

Champagne Delbeck, NV
Gulped down, but seems a light fresh champagne with a nice bready note on the nose and also something of a fresh white bread flavour and texture - alongside the champagney stuff.

Ch. Maucaillou 1999
Mid ruby. Greeny lactic, slightly cheesy nose with soft smoky oak - a very open nose. A bit light on the palate with some very obvious acid. Lightish fruit and midweight tannins. With time in the glass, the tannins have developed and firmed up. Still at the largely harmless end of the scale though. Good.

Ch. Maucaillou 1998
A slightly paler mid ruby. More open oak on the nose with lots of cassis. Very lean on the attack. Hard and mean. It's very hard to find many redeeming features in this. But it does improve with time in the glass. OK.

Ch. Maucaillou 1994
First bottle corked.
Second bottle:
A rather mature mid-ruby colour. Quite a deep nose with sweet fruit and a bit of VA; quite evolved. Quite rounded on the palate. Some fruit; plenty of acid. Very soft tannins, but there's little to recommend it to me. A rather hard note on the finish. OK.

Ch. Musar 1997
A good even colour, looking a bit more mature than a 1997 of any normal wine would. Immediate VA on the nose: I'm sure Nick A would have been able to detect it even at this distance! A sweet cherry palate. Absolutely lovely drinking. Hard to write a particularly coherent note (often the case with Musar), but this is a really nice wine. Very Good Indeed.

Ch. Musar 1995
The classic Musar nose - VA, but lots and lots of lovely ripe fruit and lots of complexity. Lovely sweet fruit flavours with a dry christmas cake background. Very Good Indeed/Excellent.

Ch. Musar 1994
A much more open, fruity, more "normal" nose, with virtually no VA, no brett and no apparent faults. Really weird for Musar!!!
Powerful flavours: pretty classic Musar on the palate. Very nice. I always think the 94 is a good beginner's Musar. Very Good Indeed.

Ch. Musar 1991
An attractive mature burgundy colour. Excellent nose, though again not especially Musarey, with sweet musky tobacco and cassis. Excellent mature Musar flavours in the mouth: very rich. Rather sweet on the finish and a touch spirity. Inordinate length. Very Good/Very Good Indeed.

Ch. Musar 1988
A gorgeous light mature burgundy colour just starting to brick. Very evolved, lovely nose: quite fascinating. Very mature on the palate with rich flavours; very even and full. A really lovely nice wine, if a bit lacking in Musar characteristics for the hardcore enthusiast.

Thalabert 2000
A slightly murky dark purple with a youngish rim. Excellent nose: deep plummy fruit, very fragrant with violetty notes. Very young and vibrant on the palate with high acidity. Quite short. Not terribly impressive at this stage. Good.

Thalabert 1999
Actually younger looking than the 2000 - much much darker, almost black. Smoky, deep, dark plummy nose. Very integrated on the palate. Good soft fruit with a light spicing on the finish. Very Good Indeed.

Thalabert 1998
A very very dark ruby colour. Very leathery on the nose with damsons and quite meaty. Very soft attack. Good fruit, but quite an austere streak: this is a bit closed and needs time. A second pour after about 15 minutes is much more bretty on the nose. Good.

Thalabert 1985
The colour is bright, reminiscent of dark black plumskins. Sweaty saddles on the nose, with deep dark squishy plums and a sweet blackberry fruit. I actually encountered the Lunesdale hunt yesterday and wondered about asking if I could smell a saddle to see if it smelled like Thalabert 1985, but I thought better of it; and anyway they were only just meeting up, so they wouldn't have been particularly sweaty) Coming back to the nose a moment or two later it was very gamey, meaty and with a hint of paracetamol. Lovely, rich, deep attack. Dark, impenetrable fruit on the palate blanced by a light acidity. Deep and powerful and worthy of meditating over. Excellent.

1975 Firestone Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Unfortunately I had to rush this one as I was racing to catch the train, which as it happened was over 10 minutes late ...
A mature ruby colour, but very mature looking. A very leathery nose with a touch of sweet cassis. Good rounded attack. Lovely fruit. Very Good Indeed on a fleeting impression.


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Last updated: 03 January 2006