This bottle was a leaker; the top of the capsule was corroded, and the level of wine in the bottle was significantly lower than when I last examined the bottle. It is too good a wine to let slip away; I had to open it. And I'm glad I did.
The color was deep but not overly so--not really as deep as the 2009 Alsace Pinot Blanc we had last night. This Chenin Blanc wine is 31 years old, after all, and the top of the cork was beginning to shrink, letting wine seep out and (hopefully not too much) oxygen creep in. One sniff and one taste told me the wine was okay--maybe not quite as exciting as the bottle I opened in 2008 but still damned good. (My notes on that bottle can be found on this site through the search engine.) Powerful bouquet of honey, beeswax and flowers. Not quite as intense as the previous bottle, but I won't complain. On the tongue, there is fullness, richness and power and so many nuances. Very hard to quit sniffing and sipping; and I didn't until the bottle was empty. British wine critic Michael Broadbent listed Clos du Papillon as one of the top 100 wines "to drink before you die."
I am so glad I opened the leaker. And I have at least one more non-leaking bottle of this that I must drink before I die. It is a great wine.