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)
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.
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. Drink now through 2025. (JM, Web—2014)
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