Our guest speaker was Paul Sturgess, an associate of the Institute of Wines and Spirit.
2008 Château Malescot-St-Exupery, Margaux 3e $59
“An amazing success in this vintage, the dark ruby/purplehued 2008 reveals its noble terroir in its complex aromatics of spring flowers and burning embers/charcoal. A medium to full-bodied mouthfeel displaying no hard edges and a seamless integration of acidity, tannin, alcohol and wood result in an approachable, already evolved wine that can be drunk now or cellared for 15+ years.” Robert M. Parker Jr. (www.robertparker.com) 93 pts
2008 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac 2e $109
“The 2008 is a beauty in the style of the 1988. Although not performing as well as I predicted last year, it is unquestionably an outstanding effort as well as one of the better values from Pichon Lalande in many years. Its dense plum/purple hue is accompanied by sweet aromas of red and black currants, charcoal, herbs, underbrush and a hint of truffles. This medium-bodied, rich, concentrated blend of 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc is an elegant, supple Pichon Lalande that can be drunk now or cellared for 15-20 years.” Robert M. Parker Jr. (www.robertparker.com) 92 points.
2008 Château Clerc-Milon 5e, Pauillac $59
The dense ruby/purple-tinged 2008 Clerc Milon offers attractive aromas of toast, black currants and forest floor. Deep, full-bodied, rich, elegant and moderately tannic, this impressively endowed 2008 is an outstanding success from the Mouton Rothschild staff (who are responsible for making this wine). It will benefit from 2-3 years of bottle age and should drink well for 15 years. Robert M. Parker Jr. (www.robertparker.com) 90 points.
2008 Château Brane-Cantenac 2e, Margaux $59
Tasted at the Brane-Cantenac vertical at the château, the 2008 Brane-Cantenac is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc. The nose is quite striking with a tang of eucalyptus, a trait that Henri Lurton himself picked up when we tasted together. The palate is medium-bodied with a peppermint-tinged entry, the tannins quite thick and perhaps lacking the precision that Henri imparts into his Margaux wine nowadays. There is something not quite true to the style of Brane-Cantenac here, mimicking something it is not, trying to be a different person. It is an enjoyable wine but I would broach this in its youth. Tasted April 2015. Neil Martin (www.robertparker.com) 89 pts
2008 Domaine de Chevalier, Pessac-Leognan GCC $65
One of the fabulous sleepers of the vintage and a wine for serious Bordeaux aficionados to consider buying, the 2008 is a blend of 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot and 9% Petit Verdot that achieved 13.5% natural alcohol. Surprisingly backward for a 2008, it is medium to fullbodied with moderate tannins, lots of purity and abundant charcoal, black currant and floral notes. The sweetness of the fruit, depth of flavor and textured, lush mouthfeel in this medium to full-bodied, ageworthy 2008 are impressive. Give it 3-4 years of cellaring and drink it over the following two decades. I would not be surprised if it turns out to be as impressive as the 2010. Robert M. Parker Jr. (www.robertparker.com) 93 pts
2008 Château Langoa-Barton, Saint-Julien 3e $59
This potential sleeper of the vintage has come around nicely now that it is in bottle. Elegant yet substantial, it exhibits a dense purple color as well as a sweet bouquet of black currants, cassis, cedarwood, herbs, toast and loamy soil undertones. Medium to full-bodied with sweet tannin (a component that was not evident from barrel), it should drink nicely for 15 or more years. Robert M. Parker Jr. (www.robertparker.com) 90 points.
2008 Château Branaire-Ducru, Saint-Julien 4e $69
A stunning success for the vintage, this enticing St.-Julien reveals notes of lead pencil shavings, sweet raspberries and black currants and a subtle touch of oak. Elegant, restrained yet authoritative and impressively intense, it is a medium to full-bodied, lightly tannic effort will be even better with 1-2 years of bottle age and will keep for 15-20 years. Robert M. Parker Jr. (www.robertparker.com) 91 points.
2008 Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Pauillac 5e $69
Unsmoked cigar tobacco intermixed with plums, red and black currants presented in an evolved style characterize this dark plum/garnet-colored effort. Medium-bodied, delicious and evolved, it is best consumed over the next 1012 years. Robert M. Parker Jr. (www.robertparker.com) 89 points.
How the wines were ranked