This has both sinew and flesh, with taut dried red currant, blackberry and plum skin notes that are forced to expand outward as the core of black tea, charcoal, plum paste and dark humus fills in quickly behind them. The charcoal-tinged grip carries the finish, with more bass than treble at first, but there's perfume here as well. Seriously long and the most overlooked of the truly great vintages here. (JM, Web Only—2014)
Mineral and blueberry skin and flowers on the nose. It's full-bodied with minerals and silky tannins. Dusty and very pretty. Refined finish. I remember this being harder but it's finally coming around.
The 1988 Chateau Margaux is a wine that was always overshadowed by the succeeding pair of vintages and like many 1988s, appeared rather conservative and lacked flair. However, I was gobsmacked by the performance of this wine at 28 years of age. Deep and clean in color, the bouquet is quintessentially Chateau Margaux with blackberry, potpourri, cedar and violets. It has wonderful clarity. The palate is medium-bodied, fresh as a daisy on the entry with a killer line of acidity that offsets those vibrant black and red fruits. There is energy here, vivacity, as if this Château Margaux suddenly realized its true potential after all these years. While it does not possess the length of the 1989 or 1990, there is such pleasure bound into this wine that you care little about that. Maybe I underestimated this wine for many years or perhaps it is a simple case of a 'late bloomer.' While the 1988 might not belong in the top echelons of releases from this First Growth, it might be considered the undiscovered gem of that prosperous decade for the chateau. (NM)
The 1988 Château Margaux is a wine that I have encountered three or four times, most recently in May 2016 when it shone. Now at 30-years old it is still a lovely mature First Growth that gives so much pleasure. The nose is complex and well defined with black fruit, potpourri, incense and cedar, unfolding all the time in the glass. The palate is fresh from the start thanks to the fine line of acidity. Interestingly, this ex-château bottles felt a little more mature than the one that I purchased from a UK cellar, a little more spice and quite ferrous towards the finish. Like many 1988s, it is a wine that belongs on the dinner table than being analyzed on its own, but it is still a very fine Château Margaux now probably at the peak of its maturity. Tasted at the château. (NM)
Mid ruby with an evolved rusty rim. Bright colour. Graphite and iodine dominate a fully developed nose. Very attractive and subtle. Fine, delicate Cabernet tannins on the end. Fresh and edgy, perfectly clarety. Not especially heavy or alcoholic. Dry finish but for a 1988 it’s very charming. And more evolved than I would have expected, especially compared with 1986… Slightly dry finish but first-growth quality without doubt. 18/20
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