The Best Wines You Can’t Have... Yet

Drink reviews with honest verdicts

Best first-growth wine: Château Margaux

An almost-perfect wine in an imperfect vintage. Lovely purple fruits bolstered by large amounts of tannins that are virtually unnoticed at first sip. Great fruit-acid balance. Long on the palate, almost drinkable now put will last for many decades. (Château Ausone came in at a close second.)

Most distinctive wine: Château Le Pin

This former garagiste winery has moved into a small new winery that is as elegant in design as is the wine — lots of dark cherry fruit with that distinctive brûlée, earthy finish for which Le Pin is known.  Very few cases are made, so you may not be able to buy it, even if you can afford it.

Best affordable premium Right Bank wine: Château Corbin

Loads of good fruit. Elegant, yet powerful wine with good structure and more tannins than this favorite estate normally displays.

Best affordable premium Left Bank wine: Château Lynch-Bages

A sentimental favorite, but a solid one as well. Dark and rich fruits with lots of essence, supple, yet muscular. Long finish. It’s somewhat low in alcohol — about 13.4 percent — which should appeal to traditionalists.

Best everyday wine: Château Clarke

Substantial and sophisticated with good structure and long-lasting raspberry flavors.

Best new/old winery:  Château Quintus

The folks who own the spectacular Château Haut Brion on the Left Bank decided to buy Château Tertre-Dugay on the Right Bank last June because it had a lot of promise if no curb appeal. They re-named it Château Quintus and made a quick turnaround by offering a wine for primeurs. I liked the second-tier wine,Le Dragon de Quintus, better than the estate wine — floral nose with lots of black raspberry fruit on the palate, yet firm and full-bodied.


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