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Bordeaux Uncorked: 1999 Chateau Quinault L'Enclos, St Emilion Grand Cru

"The language of friendship is not words, but meanings." - Henry David Thoreau

In today’s wine review spotlight, a fun review written by guest contributor Andy McCallion. He is also a contributor to the Cellartracker, where you can find other wines he has reviewed. You can also find Andy, taking the wine world by storm on twitter; you can catch up with him there at Bruised Grape.

Andy is a Belfast (N Ireland)-born geneticist, living in Baltimore with his wife, kids and multiple animals. Discovered his love for wine at graduate school and has been having fun with grape juice ever since. 

By virtue of the wonderful friends with whom I share this passion for the grape, I am frequently exposed to wines and vintages that I would never otherwise have encountered. Yesterday evening was one such opportunity. 

A bottle of 1999 Chateau Quinault L'Enclos, St Emilion Grand Cru was removed from its wine carrier and set gently on the counter. I have enjoyed other vintages of Chateau Quinault but not this one.  

I love trying wines for the first time. I love the anticipation of how it will show, and wondering what will be its characteristics. This wine however came with the caveat that, perhaps, it was on the downward slope. I carefully cut the foil and drew the cork slowly from the bottle. It was in perfect condition. 

Seconds later we were greeted by the sweet tobacco and plum perfume that characterizes so many great Bordeaux. I gingerly decanted, leaving behind the sweet mud of sediment, and poured for everyone.

In the glass it was dark ruby, with little translucence and only slight bricking at the rim. The nose was effusive, floral, dark red fruit with ripe plum, gobs of tobacco and hints of spice/vanilla.  The attack was ripe and the palate broad and open showing layers of dark fruit, tobacco, coffee and vanilla bean. 

The finish was ample, unwilling to linger but edged by a little ripe/earthy tannic grip. One might suggest that the fruit was beginning to show signs of fading but in this wine and style, I found it charming - not over-ripe.  

Chateau Quinault L'Enclos is built in a relatively contemporary style and is almost always accessible young. This was an elegant and highly pleasurable wine to share among good friends.  It was fully integrated and begging to be enjoyed now. 

In the company of other great wines, one may not point it out to be the star but, it was the star last night in our weekly exercise of bringing friends together around the common love of wine. If you need a score to place it in context, I would happily give it 90+ points independent of the wonderful context in which we enjoyed it.


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