Magical Mystery Tour - The Walrus-Flights

Now here’s the final part of our event:

5th Flight (Haut Brion decanted for > 6 h; Margaux > 12 h).

1986 Chateau Margaux
well, even more than 12 h swimming in a magnum-decanter could not convince the Margaux to leave its snail house; it is no secret that CM is what I love most but I’m beginning to become a “desperate housewife” with this inapproachable blockbuster; I read from a wine aficionado about a pressure ventilation of a half bottle using pure oxygen and I’m willing now to follow that drastic mode of action; coming back to the beloved bottle, restrictive notes of burgundian underbrush, some leather and tobacco in the nose but no fruit; on the palate this is a truly heavyweight champ, muscles everywhere, brute power and energy; this must be originated directly in the center of Pauillac or somewhere in a powerhouse garage, but where the hell is Margaux? This wine has the finesse, elegance and charm of a bulldozer. I wonder if this will ever come around [90+, for mercy reasons].

1986 Chateau Haut Brion
oh my goodness, now this compensates for the Margaux pain! Honestly it made me soo very happy that I quoted 98 points just for being identifiable as a fine, sappy BDX; an open nose with notes of tar, smoke, cigar box as well as red and black berries; medium+ weight on the palate, very concentrated, still some adstringency left; deep, glorious structure with fleshy bones; this is a true giant with its best period still to come; I got the impression that the HB showed a backward tendency with time in the glass. [96+].

5th Flight (Dominus decanted for > 6 h; Unico > 12 h).

1994 Vega Sicilia Unico
the Unico used the decanting time to develop in a great way! The smell of a lot of sappy blueberries (bramble, bilberries, some black currant) in the bouquet and no trace of that vanilla-toast-marmalade-wood-alc melange of many high decorated Spanish wines; on the palate it was very comparable to the 2001 Serpico in concentration and power; already in fine balance this wine will benefit from another 10+ years cellar time. [96+]

1994 Dominus
this flight was the absolute highlight of the evening, although the Dominus started with a quite angular note of green paprika; this lasted a few seconds, then a divine bouquet developed with fresh notes of mint and herbs, sappy cranberries and elder; on the palate it was a battle of titans between the Dominus and the Unico; for my taste, the Dominus is also years apart from maturity but accessible enough to leave a very deep and satisfying impression. The Dominus was already the 3rd wine I quoted 96+ and to the best of my experience all three of them own the skill and the perfection to reach the highest hights.

6th Flight (both decanted for > 8 h).

1990 Chateau L’Evangile
now Bob was perplexed about the Evangile, I’m perplexed about his rating; if this will lead to reduced quotation of the wine I swear I will buy till bust or blackout. This is really what we call here “very great cinema”! I stopped making notes and concentrated 115% on this glorious wine. Steps away from maturity, in divine balance, so sweet and warm and sappy and deep and concentrated and…… [97].

1990 Chateau Pichon Longueville Baron
no doubt, lactic notes are per se nothing bad but coming up late night in the glass very close to the 1990 Evangile? I was NOT amused; yoghurt around midnight? I must have been in the wrong fairytale; this wine was ok, but nothing for me at this “advanced” stage. [?]

Closing Flight (both decanted for > 8 h).

1997 Ridge Monte Bello
though in very good shape it was a hard slice of bread to dance on stage right after Unico, Dominus and Evangile. In the nose some chocolate, dark fruit, a slight coffee note and all this packed together in an eucalyptic freshness; very young and promising on the palate, fine balance, fleshy bones; green tea in the mid palate and black berries; the wine required attention and he received it though we all were close to the end of concentration; I wish I had a case cellared. [94+]

1997 Ornellaia
the Ornellaia performed much better than expected; some of group reported after disclosure of the flight about tired and powerpoor bottles of this wine; this bottle did not reach the class of the Monte Bello but was very close; notes of black currant, plums, leather and cedar in the attractive nose; a good midweight on the palate, fine balance, good structure and length; there was absolutely nothing to complain about and I like the fact to have some more bottles in the cellar. [93]

Hope not to have crucified the English language too much…


Dieter, I’m glad to hear about your experience with the '90 Evangile - this was a WOW wine early in it’s life, and I have to admit that my last visit with this wine (prompted by Bob’s TN) was more in line with his opinion than yours, so I am hopeful it was just a simple case of bottle variation, as I still have a few left.

I just read through the critics (I confess I’m not a studious reader of the Wine Advocate as there is usually minimum one friend at the table who is able to cite perfectly the words of the Master right after disclosure of the flight). Speaking of the bottle we had I have not seen any “disturbing amber” in colour. Recalling in mind the concentration, the only possibility remaining for the bottles from his cellar is the “awkward state”.
Now I dare to ask the question how many BDX went through an awkward state during the last two decades without any influence on their rating. As said earlier, I am not a studious reader……

With lines like:

“This wine has the finesse, elegance and charm of a bulldozer.”


“I must have been in the wrong fairytale”


“This is really what we call here “very great cinema”! I stopped making notes and concentrated 115% on this glorious wine.”

you shame most native English writers. Well done on both the wine drinking and the notes. Sounds like a marvelous time.