1924 Château Filhot


Readers may recall my vertical of this Sauternes back in May last year. Or you may not, since Sauternes lovers seem to be a dying breed these days. Although I have rhapsodized about Filhot’s wines for two decades, in that particular article I reluctantly meted out criticism with respect to recent vintages that, frustratingly, seemed to lag behind their peers. It’s not something that I relish, but it is part of the job.

Recently I encountered a bottle of 1924 Filhot, the oldest example that I have tasted, and it proved that Filhot can create a wonderful, life-affirming, vibrant and downright delicious Sauternes that effortlessly defies time. This 96-year-old comes from the twilight of Filhot’s halcyon days, since by the following decade, its vineyard had withered from 120 hectares in the mid-19th century to just 20 hectares. Limpid amber in color, the bouquet is a spellbinding mélange of quince, nectarine, mandarin and a faint scent of pumpkin, all delivered with the delineation of a top Sauternes cru. With time it develops a touch of chlorophyll, a trait I usually find in old Barsac. The palate is underpinned by a killer line of acidity that cuts through the wild honey, quince, satsuma and stem ginger notes. There is wonderful weight and tension throughout, and it finishes with satisfying sharpness that defies its venerable age and urges you back for another sip. This is a wonderful bottle of old Sauternes and perhaps the finest Filhot that I have ever encountered. I bet it will offer another 20 years of pleasure with ease. 95/Drink 2020-2040.