Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Decanter First Growths masterclass

Saturday was an iconic day for the Decanter team. We hosted our First Growths masterclass at The Landmark hotel, bringing together the directors of the five Bordeaux First Growths: Lafite, Latour, Margaux, Mouton Rothschild and Haut-Brion for their first ever public tasting in the UK - and their second ever in history.

All 90 tickets for the masterclass, spanning 20 years from 2008 to 1988, sold out within minutes of going on sale back in August.

Working at the masterclass, I was lucky enough to taste a sip of each wine at the end, after each measure had been poured. For me, the classic vintages – Margaux 2005 and Lafite 2000, really stood out.

Tasting notes:

Latour 2008
Dense blackcurrant, rich, opulent, perfumed, young but approachable, sleek, fine grain tannins, restrained and stylish, with a licorice and mint finish.

Mouton 2006
Rich blackcurrant nose, oak dominant, fleshy and voluptuous on the palate with big tannins to balance the bold fruit.

Margaux 2005
Rich, opulent, concentrated, delicious on the palate, elegant but voluptuous, velvety, powerful and rounded. Intense and pure – an iron first in a velvet glove. A wonderfully complete wine.

Haut-Brion 2004
Earthy, terroir-driven, fruiter on the palate, blackcurrant, black cherry, spice, chocolate and mint. Textured if a touch lean.

Latour 2003
Can taste the heat, fruit forward – plums, cloves, spices, developed but will go on, smooth, soft, very approachable, drinking fantastically now, upfront, baked fruit with an exotic finish.

Lafite 2000
Lovely development, sumptuous secondary aromas of game, leather and pencil shavings – classic, classy Bordeaux, silky, suave and textured on the palate, drinking perfectly now.

Haut-Brion 1998
Still youthful, fruit forward - black cherry nose, smooth, elegant, broody, grippy tannins, tight, concentrated and virile, with a licorice finish.

Margaux 1996
Oaky nose with vegetal, developed, savoury notes of game, leather, spice and smoke. Graceful with sleek, stylish tannins.

Mouton 1989
Autumnal, classy, forest floor aromas, sweet fruit, toasty blackcurrant, fennel, mint, full bodied, elegant and suave.

Lafite 1988
Still surprisingly fruit driven, blackcurrant, black cherry, mint, secondary aromas starting to come through, elegant, soft, supple, rounded, smooth and velvety - typical Lafite finesse.


  1. Dear me, they could have worked a tad harder on that label given their budget(!)