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Kent Life's resident wine columnist on a memorable 2012

PUBLISHED: 09:37 05 February 2013 | UPDATED: 22:41 20 February 2013

Kent Life's resident wine columnist on a memorable 2012

Kent Life's resident wine columnist on a memorable 2012

Tasked to choose his top five wines and finding it pretty well impossible, our Stuart McClosky instead names those wines he felt honoured to have drunk in 2012

View from a glass

Tasked to choose his top five wines and finding it pretty well impossible, our Stuart McClosky instead names those wines he felt honoured to have drunk in 2012

My top fine wines (in no particular order)

1959 Chteau Lynch Bages (Pauillac, Bordeaux)

Recently, I was lucky enough to have procured six bottles from a private collection - 1959 is a magnificent Bordeaux vintage and all six bottles looked in impeccable condition. With surgical precision I managed to remove the cork, intact, and I unlocked the Pauillac, which had lain dormant for the past half-a-century. I wondered, as I unhurriedly decanted the wine, if the cellar was its tomb; had time and oxygen taken much of the wines life away? The colour was still impressively deep; rich nose offering aromas of cedar and tobacco. The wine was still alive, thank God! The palate was showing some nice concentration, soft, charming rather than a blockbuster with sustaining tannins and acidity. It was beautifully balanced with a dry finish. Note to oneself: drink the remaining five bottles this year!

1989 Chteau Cheval Blanc (Saint Emilion, Bordeaux)

Generously served and gifted while I was visiting one of my clients in Mexico City. What a lovely wine too so elegant, charming with perfect harmony. Honestly, an absolute pleasure as one had to focus and concentrate on all the delicate, myriad of flavours. The palate was medium-bodied although the tannins from the cabernet franc were clearly evident. I feel this wine is close to, if not at, its best. Stunning!

1989 Chteau Palmer (Margaux, Bordeaux)

Again, generously served and gifted while I was visiting the same client in Mexico City. It had incredible depth of colour (as one would expect) with autumnal aromas of leaves, cedar and leather galloping out from the decanter. Six hours passed and I had my first tasting which disappointed somewhat as the tannins dominated what was obviously something very special. Patience rewarded as half the bottle was left and re-tasted the following day. A deep, sweet entry leading to a fleshy mouthfeel and the wines richness now masked the majority of the tannins. It had incredible length and is the best 89 I have ever had the pleasure to drink.

2010 Vieux Chteau Certan (Pomerol, Bordeaux)

Un-bottled at the time of tasting nonetheless, this is the greatest En-Primeur sample I have ever tasted to date and fully justifies its place here. The blend is dominated by 86 per cent merlot with both cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon adding some backbone. Truly, the concentration is extraordinary opulent, wonderfully ripe, rich fruit, sensuously exotic to the point whereby this wine leaves you actually speechless. The balance is perfect; tannins evident but not intrusive and the acidity adding some welcoming freshness. I adore the poise of the 10 Vieux Chteau Certan and I cannot wait to sample my first bottle. This is one wine which you really should treat yourself (or grandchildren) to. Utterly superb!

2008 Chteau Petrus (Pomerol, Bordeaux)

I held a very special tasting for a select and very lucky group of clients in London last year. I served (non-blind) the following chteaux all from the 2008 vintage: Lafite Rothschild, Mouton Rothschild, Margaux, Latour, Haut Brion, La Mission Haut Brion, Cheval Blanc, Petrus and dYquem. I will return later this year with a full article as this was a truly exceptional evening. Chteau Petrus steals the show for this year and deserves the final spot. In truth, I rarely get to drink this great Pomerol as most bottles exceed 1,000 therefore I have limited reference points. Understandably embryonic as this wine really needs another 10 years to knit together and consume some of the oak characteristics but you cannot help take your hat off to this wines incredible breed. 100 per cent merlot leads to a soft, fruit-driven style with tannins more akin to cashmere. The fruit is pure and I adored the wines incredibly poise. Wow what length too as the wine just went on and on and on. Sadly, my only bottle!




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