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Château Meyney 1989

This week another bottle of mature claret with my Sunday lunch, in the shape of the 1989 vintage from Château Meyney, a St Estèphe cru bourgeois estate. St Estèphe, the most northerly of the Médoc communes, accounts for about 1200 hectares of Bordeaux. In size, then, it is little different to its near neighbours, including Pauillac, which has about 1100 hectares, or Margaux, which is a little larger with 1300 hectares. Nevertheless, St Estèphe certainly has a very different style, and is said to have a firm and robust character in comparison to the appellations closer to Bordeaux. In addition, unlike Pauillac and Margaux there is no premier grand cru classé estate to lead the way here, with just Montrose and Cos d'Estournel - two deuxième grand cru classé estates which admittedly have turned out some excellent wines in recent vintages - lead the way.

Chateau Meyney 1989

Then come three further classed growth estates, Calon-Ségur, Lafon-Rochet and Cos Labory, making just five such properties in total. As a result at the annual UGC tasting, which is never graced by the presence of the two second growth properties, St Estèphe is always the most poorly represented of the major Bordeaux communes, and thus perhaps the most difficult to get to grips with. Beyond the latter two of the five wines above, Ormes de Pez and Phélan-Ségur are the only other attendees. Their presence seems appropriate, as they indicate the importance of cru bourgeois properties in this commune. After these two, we naturally have Meyney, the focus of this week's write-up, as well as Haut-Marbuzet, de Pez, Beau-Site and a collection of others.

Chateau Meyney 1989

The 1989 vintage was a favourable one for Bordeaux, and it is not that long since I updated my review of the vintage in association with my notes from previous tastings. For Château Meyney it seemed to be a particular success, and this wine has given many fans of traditional claret much pleasure over the years, and it seems to me that it continues to do so. Getting to the wine in question, the cork is long and of high quality, with red staining reaching up the side, in finger-like streaks, less than halfway. On inspection it has a very mature, claretty, deep oxblood hue when poured into the decanter, and there is very little sediment left. The nose is quite classic, with aromas of iron and rust, tea leaves and charred beef, with a high-toned liquorice note at the edge. Fresh, with good bright acidity, sappy texture and moderate weight, this is a delight on the palate also. It still shows a seam of tannin, and a very dry composition, and overall this works very well together; it has a pleasing, old school composition that I like very much. Approachable now, although it has the substance to go a little further in the cellar yet, that is for sure. Lovely lingering finish too. 17.5/20 (8/9/08)

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