Home > Bordeaux, France > 1996 Clos du Marquis St-Julien

1996 Clos du Marquis St-Julien

I was in the mood for some older wine this weekend so I chose a good old classic Bordeaux. Clos du Marquis is Leoville las Cases second wine and it is said to equally compete many reputable second or third Growth Bordeaux wines in quality. Lately, the prices of Clos du Marquis have – like any other Bordeaux classified Growth – gone north quite a lot, many people questioning this pricing.

This is a blend using the same grape varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and  Petit Verdot as Leoville las Cases, aged for 12-14 months in a less proportion of new French oak. It is less oaky, less extracted than the grand vin, and possibly more St-Julien in typicality.  This can be an excellent wine in good vintages. Clos du Marquis is no recent innovation, the first vintage produced was 1902. Much of the wine that goes into the Clos du Marquis comes from the vines closer to Chateau Talbot, together with the fruit of younger vines and declassified lots of Leoville las Cases.

I uncorked this wine and tasted it over 2-3 h while I did the cooking therefore I was able to properly see his full development. All aeration took place in the bottle and in the glass. The food was prepared only in goose fat saved from an early consumed bird: chicken livers with spices and different vegetables – potatoes, baby onions and carrots – first boiled and then roasted in goose fat in the oven and spiced up with freshly crushed fennel seeds. Both were equally divine and I actually enjoyed a lot the menthol aromas given to vegetables by the crushed fennel seeds – they give freshness. I believe I start to develop a real passion for cooking in duck or goose fat, very few things can equal this rich taste.

1996 Clos du Marquis St-Julien

Dark red with a very light brick rim. Fully developed and mature nose, but still retaining some of its primary, red fruit aromas. The nose is complex and exhibits a beautiful mix of smoke, red currant, graphite, coffee bean, red bell pepper and, as it aerates, it develops really intense aromas of truffles. Supple and extremely lively, it builds up on the palate as it breathes, developing a velvety texture. There is plenty of structure left, while the tannins are fully integrated and assertive only on the finish. The flavors that coat the palate are coffee, red and black currant, truffles, pencil lead, tobacco and old leather. Medium plus to long finish, fresh, with lingering flavors. A really well balanced wine, in its prime, showing freshness and very good drink-ability. (92/100)

Categories: Bordeaux, France
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