TN '90 Leoville Barton
1996 Leoville Barton 96 points
750, good cork. Mature disc, ruby robe. What an emphatically classical nose - loads of cedar & pencil, svelte red fruits, a touch of tobacco. Simply put, archetypical. The palate is classic Barton, too, in a way that reminds me of the '88. Tannic, good acid, a little lean, similar in quality to the nose but more charcoal here. A milk chocolate finish. This is lovely - a true "Englishman's Claret". This was beautiful right out of the gate, but after 45 minutes (closed decanter) this does put on weight. Changes a bit - more sweet tobacco on both the nose and palate. Less austere on the palate (though no Lynch Bages!).
I love this style. I can see why modernists are maybe a little underwhelmed. There is none of the plump, plush 1990 quality here. It's more like an '88, which is fine in my book! Less "1990" than other wines of the vintage, but certainly very Barton in character (during the first hour). At peak now. Maybe another 5 or so years before it starts to (gently) decline? If I were serving this again, I'd decant it about 25-30 minutes and then pour five glasses. Lost a *lot* of character after an hour and a half.
Marc... You definitely liked 1990 Leoville Barton more than I do. It's too tough and austere for me. I like your notes on the wine, but I think it will age for decades. I have a perfect case to sell or exchange if anyone wants it.