Mad Larose

Cordier “Château Gruaud Larose” 1988 Saint-Julien (Bordeaux) – A touch surly at uncorking, its fist clenched around an angry little core of hard fruit. Over the course of about an hour (undecanted), it unfolds to somewhere a bit shy of full expression, uncovering layers of tobacco, fresh oak ash, fired rosemary, the darkest cassis powder, and other assorted blackish aromas, along with the expected low-toned funk. At the peak of its evolution, it’s really quite attractive, though I would by no means call it an entirely complete or balanced wine (the tannin’s too prominent, the fruit’s a little charred, and the complexities are more at odds than harmonic). And then, the fist re-clenches and the wine turns to charcoal. While I find this a most enjoyable wine when caught at the right moment, I would be very wary of its future; it most certainly has a long one, but it will likely be filled with unresolved bitterness. (4/09)

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