95% Tinto Fino, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. 14 months in large wooden vats, 18 months in new barrels, 8 months in used casks and 24 months in large wooden foudres (French/American) prior to ageing in bottle before commercial release. Deep garnet with a wide smudgy rim. Spicy and laced with sweet chocolate. A certain untamed quality to the fine dark fruit. Peppery and highly seasoned but that doesn’t batter the fruit, which is more like blackberry than cherry or cassis. As on several of the wines from this stable, there’s a savoury dark-olive quality. Tannins are thick, resolved but not yet fine/elegant. Still remarkably not ready for the fullest expression of pleasure but it is clearly moving towards refinement and already has wonderful length. (JH)
Anticipated maturity: 2019-2038
Opaque ruby. Powerful, expansive aromas of cherry liqueur, cassis, pipe tobacco, incense and pungent flowers show outstanding clarity and pick up a smoky mineral quality with air. Stains the palate with concentrated dark berry, bitter cherry and rose pastille flavors that are complicated by notes of mocha, cola and Indian spices. Distinctly generous in style but there’s outstanding energy here as well. The gently tannic, dark-fruit-dominated finish emphatically echoes the spice and floral notes and lingers with striking persistence. Production for this bottling was cut by over half in this challenging vintage and the result shows what can happen when severe selection is applied in the vineyard and cellar. Speaking of tough years, the 2002 version of this iconic wine, from a vintage that has been ignored at best and vilified at worst, is drinking beautifully right now. In fact, it appears to have just entered its drinking window: its fruit is still a bit on the youthful side while its tannins have begun to recede. Like this 2008, it’s a textbook example of what great vineyards, diligent farming and serious winemaking can accomplish under difficult circumstances.
Anticipated maturity: 2022-2036