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An Old Claret: 1989 Ch. Leoville Barton, Saint Julien

It was 9.29pm on Friday… a pretty unremarkable, cold, winter London evening. It had been a morosely long day, and Jeroboam’s in Knightsbridge was about to close. Knowing it was another 5 minute walk to this classic little corner wine shop a frantic phone call ahead took place to beg they remain open for another ten for a yet to be decided purchase – the need for a bottle of something good was compelling.

Turns out this was no major hassle, and the choice was rather simple. A bottle of Chateau Leoville-Barton 1989 sat serenely reclined on the shelf wall, well dusted and proudly displayed. It was bundled up and lovingly carried back to quarters for what was an amazing Claret experience.

The youthfulness of this wine was astonishing – the cork, terrifically, had a good, tight seal. A nose of immense dark fruit – classic damson plums and blackcurrant, violet floral notes with beautiful savoury characters of cedar, sandalwood, crushed dried herbs, and layers of subtle smokey complexity.

Tasting replicates this olfactory experience with damson plums, slightly stewed prunes, cedar, earth, aged leather and smoke flavours diffusing across the palate, finishing in a classically dry way. The tannins are finely integrated and considering it is not a blockbuster style (rather quite feminine) it has considerable flavour length. This bottle had aged very well and typifies an excellent Claret. It was a pleasant diversion from a dreary London winter evening!

93 points