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The Bordeaux Browsers

Great wines; the 2010 was the standout for me. I have a few bottles of the 2002, which is still pretty tannic. I asked about it and, reading between the lines, the chap from Gruaud Larose intimated that it wasn’t a great vintage. I think Parker considers it comparable to 2001 in quality, yet the 2001 which we kicked off with was pretty good (technical term you understand). The wines I tasted tonight were way better than my perfectly stored GL 2002. I am scratching my head….

Interestingly Parker rates both the 2001 and the 2002 as 88, The former as “ready to drink” and the latter (of which I have 4 of 6 bottles left) as “Still tannic, youthful, or slow to mature”. I think he is right.

Anyway, a very pleasant end to a what was a busy day!

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Bingo!

Parker always seems a bit grudging about Gruaud Larose, I think he had a spat with them. The effect was that the wines were generally cheaper than those of similar quality, ie 2eme St Julien.

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I’ve got a single bottle of 2003 remaining, and then a case of 2012. The 2012 got a 3 hearts and “coup de coeur” rating from the french Guide Hachette, which is the best it gives, and you are right it is still reasonably priced.

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Gruaud Larose can age beautifully. The 1983 vintage was one of my first e.p. buys. For various reasons - mainly working overseas - I didn’t take delivery until 2011. When it arrived I was at first distraught as there was evidence of seepage from some of the corks and the level in the bottles had dropped to the shoulder. However every bottle was delicious - not a heavy weight but lovely damson fruit, and a flavour that lingered in the mouth and memory for ages. I can’t find my original Parker Bordeaux books, but I don’t think he rated it highly - about 83 points I think, but that was before his great scores inflation. The wine aged far better than others I bought around that time.

I bought a case of the 2014 which is slumbering in reserves, but since then the price has become rather steep, so I haven’t bought it since.

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I have a case of three double magnums of 1986 Gruaud Larose slumbering in the cellar. It was my niece’s birth year and I thought they’d come in handy for either a significant birthday or maybe a wedding. In the end it turns out she doesn’t like/drink red wine. A perfect example of the risks of buying wine to lay down for children! In compensation I gave her a case of champagne for her 30th birthday - and kept the claret.

Handily my wife was also born in a year ending in a 6 - so the wine will come in very useful - the first will be broached in 2026. Many 1986s are still very tannic - in fact in some the fruit gave up the fight a long time ago. I am hoping the combination of a big bottle and 40 years of maturity will see the GL emerge into something special. Michael Broadbent gave it (****) in his Great Vintage Wine book and Parker 94+ - so fingers crossed. Price paid £99 per double magnum DP (not EP). Those were the days. I saw one advertised recently for just under £1000.

A great time to remember my first wine mentor’s famous adage “don’t think about what its worth, just what you paid for it”.

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I bought Cos and Pichon-Lalande ‘86’s and never felt they came around fully. Always a leanness in the background on both.

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I’m trying to get hold of a bottle of Leoville Barton from an older vintage maybe early 00’s or 90’s. Don’t want to pay over £80 for the bottle.
What vintages would people recommend? Or links to sites that have bottles in my budget!?Obviously the likes of 05, 00 and 03 will be out of my price range.
Any help would be massively appreciated it’s for my grandfather who’s favourite wine is Leoville Barton.

I think an ‘issue’ with Leoville Barton is that it frequently ages very slowly, so even some of your early 00s might still be quite youthful, but anything from the 90s is likely to be really quite expensive. I had a look on L&W where you can buy single bottles, and there is a 2002 which is £86 DP so not much above your budget. 2001 meanwhile is £111 and 2003 is £132.
2002 was well-rated at least at Vinous, and is only just now into its drinking window.

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Maybe, keep an eye on Lay & Wheeler for individual bottles. They currently have the 2002 at £86, so just above your limit and a 2006, at £72.50, so within your range.

https://www.laywheeler.com/product-detail?id=01020301

https://www.laywheeler.com/product-detail?id=01060301

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I did find this Chateau Leoville Barton St. Julien 2001 | Sandhams Wine Merchants when searching around earlier, have any of you heard of Sandham wines? Seems a good price if on Lay and wheeler it’s £111.

There’s a few vintages of Leoville Barton from the period you’re looking at in the current Wine Auctioneer auction that ends on Monday.

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Going back just a bit further, the 1988 Leoville Barton is a bit of a “Cinderella” vintage. Oft overlooked in the shadow of 1989 and 1990. On that basis it can sometimes be found much more reasonably priced than many 90’s vintages. Its a very good wine now - having emerged from a very tough beginning. I drank a bottle a few weeks ago and concluded, like the GPL '88, that it is a real star. I think I have 3 or 4 left. I did a quick Google search and found a bottle for £100 - shop around a bit and you might find one cheaper. I saw one for £80 recently - just can’t remember where. Label was damaged but not really that important if you are drinking it. Most of the labels have come off my remaining 82 Leoville Bartons! Doesn’t stop them being amazing!

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I have have made one order with them last year with no problems. It was for some bottles of Musar but I’ve not opened them yet so I can’t attest to how well they were stored!

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Leoville Barton 2002 is drinking really well right now. I prefer it to 2001 and 2004 currently but they probably have more development to come. I wouldn’t buy 2006 for current drinking

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I bought a 2005 (I think) Guigal Hermitage and a Tommasi Amarone from Sandham’s a few years ago as retirement gifts for a colleague. Both gratefully received and enjoyed. I visited the shop as I live in East Yorkshire so not too far away. They were friendly and helpful.

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Richard Kihl has the LB 2002 slightly cheaper than L&W - not sure of delivery costs, but I like dealing with them. I think that’s the best bet:

  • 90 and 96 too expensive
  • 98, 99 and 01 aren’t as good as 02
  • 00 and 05 aren’t ready yet
  • I haven’t tried 04 yet but Matt has commented on that above.

I tried the 02 about six months ago and immediately had to buy a few bottles.

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As it happens I bought this exact wine from them a few months ago - quick delivery, and wine seemed in good shape, although I did not think it anything very special (disclaimer: I am generally BDX ‘curious’ rather than enthusiastic …)

Not sure where you live but my local wine shop (Luvians) had if I recall correctly a 1998 for £85. This was their St. Andrews branch but Cupar may have a couple more. I noticed it as it’s my brother-in-laws favourite and we were in spending a birthday gift of £150 in wine vouchers. I bought a 2011 Calon Segur for £80 as in my youth I had bought a case of 1996 EP which has long gone but was brilliant from my memory. Current EP offerings a little out my comfort zone so now have the 2nd wine Marquis de Calon 2017 and 2019 to look forward to. For curiosity we also bought a Klein Constantia Vin de Constance 2014.

This year at my brother-in-laws had the Leoville 2002 which was very nice.

Luvians never show their fine wine on their website so it’s one of those Aladdin’s cave you have to actually visit.

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Have found the 93 vintage for sale on Vivino and with a coupon code it is £56 a bottle if I buy two, does anyone have much experience with 93? Will it be past it?