A fascinating tasting, staged by Bordeaux Index and Ronan Laborde, owner of Château Clinet. Fascinating in two ways, because I have never tasted such a vertical of Château Clinet's wines (22 vintages), and that it was conducted blind. Yes, of course tasters knew the wines were all from Château Clinet, but not which vintage we were tasting. They were placed, we were told, roughly from youngest to oldest. I started with the older wines, as I find doing younger wines first can overpower the subtleties of older wines coming afterwards.

Because it was blind, all preconceptions of what the wines should taste like according to vintage were removed. And I gave some very good marks to 'lesser' years (and not such great marks to vintages with higher reputations). But here are the marks, now married up with the correct vintages. (And yes, I did make an attempt to guess which were which, but did really badly!)

The wines showed really well, elegant yet full of life in the older vintages, and young and powerful in the younger. After my marks, I have suggested drinking windows.

1987 Château Clinet This has complex, slightly farmyardy aromas, with raspberry and smoke behind. Tannins are smooth but good, and flavours are complex. 94 now-2030

1988 Château Clinet Young, really fruity aromas. Tannins are rich and firm, and the fruit is ripe, an appealing combination of dried and fresh. The mid-palate gets more complex, with notes of tobacco coming in. Maturing well, with gentle flavours and rich fruit. 93 now-2020

1989 Château Clinet Well, the first bottle was slightly cork-tainted, but the second was much worse. This made the wine difficult to judge. But it seemed light and cedary, rather lean, with firm tannins and high acidity. But these were not good bottles. ?89 now-2015

1990 Château Clinet Lovely wine, maturing well, with aromas of sweet, dried fruit and tobacco. The palate is just as good, if not better, with rich, fresh, sweet fruit, firm tannins and good acidity. The fruit is more dried than fresh, but ripe and generous. Excellent wine, in very good shape, with sweet, tobacco, dried fig and smoky length. 94 now-2020

1991 Château Clinet Lean, poised, elegant on the nose. Tannins are firm, and the whole feel is bright and fresh. This has very good balance, with lively fruit and everything intact. The leanness persists, but in a very graceful way. 94 now-2025

1992 Château Clinet Fragrant, ripe aromas, if a little austere. Definitely lean on the palate, but lovely cedary fruit. This is starting to dry a touch, but still graceful and elegant. It has good fresh acidity and cedary length. 91 now-2020

1993 Château Clinet Rich and fairly opulent aromas, seems a ripe year. Ripe and rich on the palate, firm tannins, good acidity. Elegant, quite powerful tannins, ripe and extracted. But this has good balance, real freshness and lovely length. 93 now-2030

1994 Château Clinet Young, leafy aromas, followed by firm, still unresolved tannins. This has a good solid structure, with ripe, solid fruit behind. It's in a dip at the moment, but seems to have enough fruit and lots of tannin. 93 now-2030

1995 Château Clinet This is looking mature, with cedary but rather fragile fragrance. Acidity is bright, fruit is cedary. It's complex, graceful and ageing well, still with supporting tannins. 92 now-2015

1996 Château Clinet Very elegant aromas of tea-leaf and cedar. The palate is light and leafy, too, with firm tannins and good acidity. This seems quite elderly, but it's still lively and good drinking. Quite a lean style, though, with tannins that will always be firm. 91 now-2020

1997 Château Clinet Light aromas, fading a little, but still fragrant. Very light, fragrant, fresh on the palate. This is balanced and attractive, but fading, in a light, graceful way. 87 now-2015

1998 Château Clinet Lovely aromas of ripe, red fruits, really opulent. Flavours are bright and fresh, with firm tannins and good acidity. This wine in terrific shape, lively, brisk and fresh, with cedar and raspberry vying for pole position. Lovely, savoury length. 95 now-2025

1999 Château Clinet Ripe, opulent aromas. Firm tannins, rich ripe fruit. Lovely balance. Good acidity. This wine is still young, with firm structure, lovely elegance and cedary length. 95 now-2030

2000 Château Clinet Restrained and closed on the nose. Savoury, rich, with lovely malty, savoury texture. Highish acidity, firm tannins. Young, but promising. 92 now-2030

2001 Château Clinet Sweet, ripe, maturing nicely. P: Gentle, savoury, cedary. Remarkably ready to approach, though has firm tannins and lively cedary fruit. Already has notes of mature, leathery development. 90 now-2025

2002 Château Clinet Rich, sweet-fruited aromas. Good, ripe, juicy-fruited flavours. Tannins present but not too firm. Light and graceful, with balance and drinkability. Fresh acidity, good length. 91 now-2020

2003 Château Clinet Young, vibrant aromas, from a rich, ripe year. Tannins are firm, with good acidity, and flavours of dark black fruits. Lovely opulent feel to this, and all to play for. Silky tannins, rich fruit. 95 now-2035

2004 Château Clinet Light, with not much showing on the nose at present. Well, light and fresh, but lacks depth of fruit and weight. But not over-extracted. Tannins and fruit in balance. Nice, early-maturing wine from a light vintage. 89 now-2015

2005 Château Clinet Pleasant. light, quite aromas. Tannins are firm, and acidity highish. This is young, but not over-endowed with richness and flesh. 88 2015-25

2006 Château Clinet Dark, black fruits, but not so intense. Maybe just not singing at the moment. Tannins are very firm. This is very tucked up at the moment. Young, dark, with firm but smooth tannins. Slightly lacks mid-palate. 91 2020-35

2007 Château Clinet Roasted coffee oak aromas. Young. Coffee oak covers pleasantly ripe palate. Tannins are very smooth, and balance is lovely. Reasonably ripe year, with restraint and elegance. And could age further. 93 2015-25

2008 Château Clinet Rich, dark, ripe aromas. Serious wine. Rich, sumptuous, with firm, very ripe tannins, dark black fruit characters, good acidity and lovely balance. Very young at the moment, and needs time to unravel, but very impressive, and a beautiful balance. 96 2020-40