Consistently one of the strongest candidates for the wine of the vintage, Lafleur’s 1988 has a dark plum/ruby colour and a gorgeous nose of white flowers intermixed with kirsch liqueur and raspberries. The wine is full-bodied, sweet, round, and beautifully pure, with moderate tannin, medium to full body, and great elegance and complexity. This wine has come around faster than I would have thought. Anticipated maturity: Now-2025.
93 points, Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, January 2003.
The 1988 Lafleur is a legitimate superstar of the vintage. The slow to emerge bouquet offers up aromas of cherries, cassis, minerals, spring flowers and oak. Deeply coloured, with a powerful, even massive mouth-feel, this wine represents the essence of old vines and low yields. The finish is dazzling, but 10-15 years of patience are essential. Anticipated maturity: 2000-2030.
93 points, Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, February 1993.
The 1988 Lafleur was last tasted in 2012 at the Attersee tasting conducted just before publishing my Pomerol tome. I had forgotten how well this vintage showed at the time and deeply impressed how well it performs after almost three decades. There is now just a little ageing on the rim but the core remains a healthy dark purple colour. The bouquet is just wonderful, armed with gorgeous black fruit, tobacco and a hint of liquorice, and a distant touch of Japanese green tea. The palate is medium-bodied but is endowed with considerable density in context of the vintage. There is much more matière here compared to the 1988 Petrus. It is not quite as rigid as it was five years ago and this bottle demonstrates a precocious, almost mellifluous finish that is more like a 1990 than 1988. Outstanding. Tasted at the “International Wine & Business” Lafleur dinner at Ten Trinity, London.
94 points, Neal Martin, Vinous, November 2018.
Very, very deep crimson. Not the immediate sweetness of the 1989 on the nose. Great deep colour – looks more youthful (though both are deep, deep crimson). Great density and sweetness. Very, very fine but not aggressive tannins. Slightly drier finish than the 1989 but luscious for a 1988.
18.5 points, Jancis Robinson MW, jancisrobinson.com, June 2005.
Toasted bread, with black cherry, tobacco and chocolate. Very perfumed, with wildflowers as well. Full, yet superrefined, with sweet fruit. It turns velvety and beautiful, with perfect balance. Chocolate. Brown sugar, some prune and light earth. It's all there.--'88/'98 Bordeaux blind retrospective (2008).
95 points, James Suckling, Wine Spectator, 2009.
Pomerol, on the Right Bank of Bordeaux’s Gironde River, produces some of the world’s most sought-after wines, including those from such storied properties as Chateau Petrus. Yet Pomerol, the smallest of the fine-wine-producing districts of Bordeaux, offers no Grand Cru or Premier Cru wines: It’s the most significant Bordeaux appellation not included in any quality ranking. At the time of the historic 1855 Classification of Bordeaux, Right Bank chateaux were considered remote and difficult to travel to, and so were ignored by the merchants who created the classification. (St. Émilion, a notable neighbour on the Right Bank, created its own classification system in 1954.)
Pomerol has managed to do quite well without this form of validation. Pomerol’s predominantly clay soil is ideally suited for Merlot, the primary grape used in the appellation. Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon are also included in Pomerol’s blended red wines. The wines of Pomerol are lush and rich, and generally not as tannic as the Cabernet-based wines of Bordeaux’s Left Bank. Although Pomerol’s very best wines are capable of aging for decades, most are made for immediate consumption. These Merlot-based wines are known for their lush texture, elegance and grace, as well as the softer tannins they offer in comparison to the Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines made elsewhere in Bordeaux.