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1998 Ornellaia, Bolgheri, Toscana IGT

Aldo Fiordelli, 99/100
Part of What makes a wine collectible?
1998 is most likely the best vintage ever for Ornellaia. Petit Verdot was not yet used in the blend. Evolved bramble fruits meld with forest floor, helichrysum and Mediterranean herb aromas. On the palate this wine dazzles with the vibrancy of the best Pomerol-like minerality, with a tight-knit structure of velvety yet lively tannins amongst the fruit, and delicate acidity pushing a slightly pyrazinic finish with long, dark notes of Marmite and cigar-box supported by some citrus notes. Drink 2019 to 2030, Tasted Feb 2019

Jancis Robinson MW 18/20
Dark crimson and healthy glow. Aromatic, almost Cabernet Franc-like aromas. Very fresh rather than big and warm. Still lively, fine tannins. Pretty wine for food. Sept 2019

60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc. Good vintage for Bolgheri compared with inland Tuscany which needed a warm autumn. Made by Andrea Giovanini who made the wine immediately before Thomas Duroux arrived in 2001. Hand-harvesting of the Merlot started the first week of September and continued until mid September, followed by the Cabernet Sauvignon and Franc which was completed by the beginning of October. Destemmed and crushed before fermentation in wood and stainless-steel tanks at a temperature not exceeding 30 °C. Maceration continued for a period of 20–25 days after which the wine was introduced into new French oak barriques (50%) and second-use barriques (50%) where it completed its malolactic fermentation. Each grape variety and each vineyard lot was aged separately. The wine remained in barriques for a period of 18 months after which time the wine was then blended and bottled. A further refinement period of 12 months in the bottle followed, prior to release.

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£1,500.00 per 6 bottles

1995 Ch Ducru Beaucaillou, 2ème Cru Classé, St Julien

Neal Martin, 95/100
The 1995 Ducru-Beaucaillou, matured in two-thirds new oak, has a very refined bouquet with blackberry, raspberry, rose petal and cedar aromas, very focused and sophisticated. The palate is well balanced with sour red cherries, balsamic and cedar notes, vibrant and full of energy, though you might well argue it doesn’t quite have the panache and complexity of ensuing vintages on the finish. But it is certainly ageing well and is drinking perfectly now. Tasted at the Ducru Beaucaillou vertical at the château. Drink 2021to 2040 Reviewed July 2022

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, The Wine Advocate 95/100
Proprietor Bruno Borie noted this was a somewhat unusual blend this year: 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot. After this vintage, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot would no longer be included in the blend. Medium to deep brick in color, the 1995 Ducru-Beaucaillou explodes from the glass with bombastic notes of Indian spices, plum preserves, fruitcake and dried figs with nuances of potpourri, star anise, bouquet garni and espresso. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is chock-full of exotic spices and preserved black fruits, framed by firm, finely grained tannins and bold freshness, finishing with epic impact and length. Mature and drinking well now, there's still a good 12-15 years of kick left in this thoroughbred. Drink 2020 to 2035 Reviewed August 2020

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£2,100.00 per 12 bottles

2009 Ch Lafite Rothschild, 1er Cru Classe, Pauillac

82.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 0.5% Petit Verdot. Immense colour, very fine dense yet elegant nose. Absolute classic. Builds and builds on the palate. Wow! Very long. Lovely smooth texture - like thick silk. Deep colour, fantastic creamy fruit, really luxurious blackberry. A classic graceful Lafite. (AB/SM Apr 2010)

99+ Points, Robert Parker: "The main reason the 2009 Lafite Rothschild did not receive a perfect score is because the wine has closed down slightly, but it is unquestionably another profound Lafite, their greatest wine since the amazing 2003. Among the most powerful Lafites ever made (it came in at 13.59% alcohol), the final blend was 82.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot and the rest Petit Verdot. The selection was incredibly severe with only 45% of the crop being utilized. A tight, but potentially gorgeous nose of graphite, black currants, licorice and camphor is followed by a full-bodied wine revealing the classic elegance, purity and delineated style of Lafite. It is phenomenally concentrated with softer tannins than the 2005, the 2003's voluptuous, broad, juicy personality, and low acidity. There are several vintages that I thought were a replay of their colossal 1959, most notably 1982 and 2003, but 2009 is also one to keep an eye on. It is still extremely youthful and seems slightly more backward than I would have guessed based on the barrel tastings, but it needs 10-15 years of bottle age, and should last for 50+"

JR: 19

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£9,000.00 per 12 bottles

1996 Ch Lafite Rothschild, 1er Cru Classe, Pauillac

Robert Parker 100/100
Tasted three times since bottling, the 1996 Lafite-Rothschild is unquestionably this renowned estate's greatest wine. As I indicated last year, only 38% of the crop was deemed grand enough to be put into the final blend, which is atypically high in Cabernet Sauvignon (83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, 7% Merlot, and 3% Petit Verdot). This massive wine may be the biggest, largest-scaled Lafite I have ever tasted. It will require many years to come around, so I suspect all of us past the age of fifty might want to give serious consideration as to whether we should be laying away multiple cases of this wine. It is also the first Lafite-Rothschild to be put into a new engraved bottle (designed to prevent fraudulent imitations). The wine exhibits a thick-looking, ruby/purple color, and a knock-out nose of lead pencil, minerals, flowers, and black currant scents. Extremely powerful and full-bodied, with remarkable complexity for such a young wine, this huge Lafite is oozing with extract and richness, yet has managed to preserve its quintessentially elegant personality. This wine is even richer than it was prior to bottling. It should unquestionably last for 40-50 years. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2050. The wine of the vintage?

Neal Martin, Wine Advocate 98/100
The 1996 Lafite-Rothschild was remarkably deep in color considering that it is now 20 years in age. The bouquet is classic Pauillac with pencil shavings and sous-bois infusing the black fruit, masculine and a little aloof, yet focused and very well delineated. The palate is very well balanced with crisp blackberry and boysenberry fruit, spicier than I recollect, a crescendo of flavors so that it seems understated at first but fans out with a sense of confidence towards the finish. I think this still has more to give so cellar it away for another 5-8 years if you can, but otherwise this is an exemplary Lafite-Rothschild that I can envisage getting better and better in bottle, if not quite as enthralling as either Mouton-Rothschild or Château Margaux. Tasted July 2016. Drink 2020-2050 Reviewed October 2016

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£9,800.00 per 12 bottles