The Rheingau Gourmet & Wine Festival is probably the largest and most important gourmet festival in the world. It celebrated its 21st birthday in 2017. I have had the enormous pleasure and honour to take part in every one from the very beginning in 1997.
One of the many highlights this year was a celebration of the wines from Château Margaux. After warming up with some Roederer Cristal we sat down to enjoy 5 flights with 6 wines in each. The food was, as always, perfectly prepared and fitting the wines by the chef of Hotel Kronenschlösscvhen - Simon Stirnal.
Flight 1: 1960 - still alive but showing some age. 1962 - very stylish with delicate sweetness. 1966 - a bit lean with a dry finish. 1970 - good and fresh, much better than its reputation. 1975 - quite good, not too tannic and dry, again better than its reputation. The 1962 was voted best wine by the guests.
Flight 2: 1945 - Not a good bottle, quite oxidised. Can still be good. 1947 - one of the best vintages for Ch. Margaux. Sweet fruit. 1948 - surprisingly good and impressive. 1955 - A bit lightweight but delicate and charming. 1959 - Good concentration of fruit, always a top -59. 1961 - A Great Wine! A definite 100 pointer. Such concentration of ripe fruit, fresh and like many 1961s a dimension of its own. This was also the outstanding winner by the guests.
Flight 3: 1981 - touch unclean. 1984 - very good fruit. One of the best wines in 1984. 1985 - very elegant and complex. This is a fabulous wine. 1991 - very good for the vintage. 1992 - a touch green. 1993 - good sweet fruit. My vote went clearly to the 1985.
Flight 4: 1982 - sweet fruit, a touch alcoholic. Impressive. 1983 - stylish and very good. Better balance than the 1982. 1986 - classic '86 with concentrated fruit but also dry tannins. 1988 - good structure with better integrated tannins than the 1986. 1989 - touch eucalyptus on the nose made me think of Napa. 1990 - very good, soft and classy. Lovely. I had the 1990 just ahead of the 1983 as the best wine.
Flight 5: 1994 - soft sweet fruit. A charmer drinking very well now. 1995 - good fruit but quite dry tannins. 1996 - very good fruit with softer tannins than '95. Very good and long. 1997 - good to drink now. 2000 - great concentration. A giant of a wine. Needs time. 2003 - sweet and big. Maybe lacking some freshness. 1996 was for me the wine of the flight.