Laurel Glen Vertical Tasting

Looking back to 1981-2006

 


1981
Autumnal on the nose with a leafy, earthy character and a light green streak, but this is perfumed and quite attractive with a Bordelaise complexity. A hint of bottle sweetness on entry with prominent acid following directly behind, lending freshness to the light red currant fruit that is simple, though fresh and persistent.  More attractive on the nose at this point in its life, but still well-knit and fruited. 89pts

1986
Rubbery, earthy and smoky on the nose with a healthy dose of brett covering lots of lurking black raspberry fruit. A bit loose-knit in the mouth with remaining stiff tannins supporting a nice core of thyme-scented fruit. The brett highlights the dryness in the mouth and this loses focus on the back end, though it shows nice mineral and fruit notes on the finish. 88pts

1988
Earthy and minerally on the nose with no real fruit, but fresh and complex with notes of tobacco, mint and river stones. Lean and crisp in the mouth with a downright St. Estephe quality to the firm light black fruit. The finish is subtle – short at first, but steadily lengthening with toasty spice and earth notes that are clear and fresh on the stiff finale. A refreshing wine that no doubt has benefitted immensely by resting in Laurel Glen’s cellars. I would imagine bottles sold through retail channels will not show this well, but is there is a three-liter floating around out there, so take a chance on this! 91pts

1989
Similar to the 1986 in a lighter vein with an intense perfume of camphor, licorice and herbs melded with a dose of brett. Fresh and crisp in the mouth with a light palate impression and smooth feel to the sour cherry styled mid-palate that leads to a mineral-accented, damp cigar-scented firm finish. 88pts

1991
Nice depth on the nose with mineral-accented black fruit that is topped with smoky oak and bretty Band-Aid. Compressed on the palate with an austere, drying, earthy mid-palate that is followed by nice black currant fruit on the back end and through the moderately long finish. 89pts

1992
Decidedly-fruit driven on the nose but developing a nice layer of autumnal notes that complement the spicy forest floor note. Bright and crisp in the mouth with a leading edge of blueberry fruit that covers the slightly drying tannins well. The structure here is rugged with some mint and hints of chili interlaced among the black fruits that drive through the moderately long finish. 91pts

1993 Reserve

Lightly smoky on the nose with deep, dark, earthy fruit framed by spicy wood and cigar box notes. With air the fruit takes on a modestly jammy edge and reveals a complex raspberry/cranberry character with a light sassafras top note. A touch thick in the mouth though, with bright acid to help balance the weight. This is packed with red fruits and big, yet well-balanced tannins that lend this a youthful depth. The finish reveals a fine balanced note of fruit and wood spice. 92pts

1994
Lovely on the nose with black currant fruit and spice, earthy with fine aged tobacco notes in the background. This really smells gorgeous, ripe, complex, right at the point where the wine combines fruit and tertiary character. On the palate it is quite cool and focused, with a lovely core of ripe black fruits. The tannins are significant, but polished and round. This has superb fruit/wood integration with fruit that is jammy and juicy right through the long, focused finish. 94pts

1996
Tons of fruit on the nose backed up with spicy oak notes that have a toasty, milky edge to them. This turns a bit jammy with air, gaining nuanced cocoa and smoke top notes as well. A bit lean on entry with a focused, sappy mid-palate that is bright and red fruited. The tannins here are particularly fine, lending some elegance to the youthful mid-palate. A very fine example, but one that lacks some of the depth or detail of the best. 91pts

1998

Woodsy on the nose with olive brine notes framed with gentle suggestions of caraway. A bit simple and shallow. Crisp and earthy in the mouth with simple, yet fresh and balanced black fruits that are framed with lovely herbal grave notes. The finish shows off a modicum of black currant fruit and a touch of wood spice. 87pts

1999 Reserve
Olivey and thyme-scented on the nose with more obvious vanilla oak and a sweet/sour contrast to the almost figgy fruit that is rife with beefy undertones and a green pepper top note. Elegant and powerful at the same time with a tightly knit texture and lightly jammy, yet fresh, black fruit that is dense and youthfully chewy in the mouth. The finish is long and laden with nuanced mineral and wood spice notes, accenting the ripe red fruits on the finale. Should improve. 92pts

2001
Blueberry fruit on the nose with a strong vanilla edge. This strikes me as more ‘modern’ for lack of a better term, though it still has some gentle green herb suggestions and a trace of earth under the wood spice. Smooth and supple in the mouth with lots of fruit that is underpinned by a nice firm core of earth and dark fruit tones. This is powerful and reveals a touch of heat on the palate with good, sappy persistence to the fruit. 90pts

2002
Tight on the nose with spice wood, graham cracker, earth and cigar box notes accenting the core of black fruit with its light suggestion of dried herbs. Smooth and supple in the mouth with nice tension and balance. The entry is rich with black fruits that are joined by a big base of wood spice, driving the finish with its touch of heat. 90pts

2005
Tight on the nose with mint, mineral and grassy notes accenting a core of black cherry fruit. Nicely focused in the mouth with a tight core of black currant and black cherry fruit that shows a nicely integrated wood spice aspect that adds some complexity to the finish. The finish starts out a bit on the short side, but this is really well-balanced and fresh with excellent cellaring potential. 89pts

2006
Oaky and super ripe on the nose with vanilla-tinged sweet/sour fruit that still has a touch of thyme to it. Smooth in the mouth with lots of vanilla wood and jammy wild red fruits, then softening on the back end with a short, tight, spicy finish that shows that this is still showing a lot of wood. Not my favorite, but needs time. 87pts

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