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Executive editor Thomas Matthews joined Wine Spectator in 1988. His tasting beat is Spain.
Thomas Matthews

A Suite of Mature Pomerols

Three vintages of Château La Fleur de Gay

Thomas Matthews
Posted: May 16, 2011

I traveled to Washington, D.C, recently to visit a friend and raid his wine cellar. He focuses on red Bordeaux, Sauternes, California Cabernet and Châteauneuf-du-Pape. After some digging around and discussion, we settled on a mini-vertical from the Pomerol appellation of Bordeaux.

The wine called Château La Fleur de Gay is actually a separate bottling of selected parcels in the best terroirs belonging to Château La Croix de Gay. This 100 percent Merlot, matured in 100 percent new oak, debuted in the 1982 vintage and made an immediate splash. Based on our reviews, its best vintages came in its first decade; based on the bottles we opened this weekend, they were very fine indeed.

The 1988 is at its peak, a silky wine with mature flavors of dried cherry, tobacco, cedar and spice. It’s elegant and full of finesse. I rated it 93 points, non-blind.

The 1990 is still young, with a dark, vibrant color and noticeable tannins, offering cherry, plum and coffee flavors that took some time to open in the glass. I rated it 94 points, non-blind, and suggest waiting another three to five years.

The 1986 was our consensus favorite. A big, vibrant wine, it is drinking beautifully, both lively and refined, with fresh fruit framed by alluring notes of anise, mineral and cedar. It’s delicious now, but with another decade of pleasure to give. I rated it 96 points, non-blind.

These wines showed typical Pomerol character, generous yet refined, and each was marked by the stamp of its vintage. Tasting them testified to the rewards of careful cellaring. Enjoying them helped deepen a friendship that began when the wines, and the friends, were young and, it turns out, on the way to getting better with age.

WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting reviews for:
Château La Fleur de Gay 1988 (93, $57 on release)
Château La Fleur de Gay 1990 (96, $189 current auction price)
Château La Fleur de Gay 1986 (95, $50 on release)

• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated Pomerols.

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