@M1tch, @Leah - here’s the report
We drank the wine with our friends last night, and it was a very successful occasion. We tasted from youngest to oldest, and then used the wines to accompany some roast doe and red cabbage. Seen purely from the point of view of wine enjoyment (and that’s surely the main thing anyway), all of the vintages were very drinkable, and enhanced the food. From the point of view of educating our palates, it was also very successful, if challenging when trying to come up with ways of describing how the wines tasted, and the distinctive features of each vintage. Neither Mrs Robertd or I are very familiar with mature claret, and it was interesting to note how this affected our tasting vocabulary - there are some very distinctive smells and tastes that fall outside our normal experience, and it’s hard to describe what you’re perceiving, even though you know full well that you’re perceiving it.
So, with that caveat as to the accuracy of my notes compared with someone who actually knows what they’re talking about, here’s what I wrote. For what it’s worth, the 1996 was everyone’s favourite, and the 1999 my second favourite.
Quite brown/red, mid-intensity. Cassis and tar on the nose. Smooth acid, taste is less intense than nose, well integrated tannin. Oaky on the finish.
Maroon, mid/dark. A bit farmyardy - brett? Deeper fruit and less savoury nose. Smoky palate, evolved tannins, firmer than 2001. Green peppercorns.
Brown/red. Cinder toffee and blackcurrant crumble nose. Well knitted, good acidity and intensity to the palate, tannins are very smooth.
Bricky, mid/dark intensity, a bit darker. Cassis on the nose and some wood. Less fruity in the mouth, and shorter. Saline, and some bitterness. Coming round in the glass.
Brown/red. Green bell-pepper nose. Lighter in the mouth, drinkable, lightly fruity and not that tannic. Less complex. Would match lamb.
Brick and evolved colour - darker. A bit “nappy” on the nose, some smoky and savoury notes. Intense in the mouth, still fruity, and nicely integrated tannins and bitter almonds. Long and smooth.