Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

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Scott E.
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Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#1 Post by Scott E. » June 4th, 2019, 10:54 am

Reading the thread about the 2018's and the promotional stuff received from retailers, it seems like the 2018's are somewhat reasonably priced for the scores that they are garnering. The only Bdx I have ever purchased is a few 2009's, but I'm getting interested again. One thing holding me back is my age and the perception that I'm going to have to hold these for 20-years to get my money's worth. If I do buy, I'm not going to buy anything more than 6-12 cherry-picked bottles, so buying in bulk and testing every few years is not an option. What say you? With the warmer climate and better wine making, is it necessary to age these wines for so long? Cheers!
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#2 Post by James Sanders » June 4th, 2019, 10:58 am

I sort of hope so, because I have a few bottles of 2001 Troplong Mondot that was godawful a few years ago. I'm not holding my breath, though. My guess is that the modern versions of BDX will never turn back into swans.

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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#3 Post by Todd F r e n c h » June 4th, 2019, 10:59 am

Tough call. I've found many lower-priced Bordeaux (some go-to ones for me like Capbern, Senejac, Cantermerle, Lanessan, Dauphine, etc) drink well young, and don't have a 'closed' phase, though they also CAN last 10-20 years easily. Better bottles seem to be hardcore full-stop tannic assaults when young (as I recall from UGC years ago, where I felt like there was a war going on in my mouth and I lost) and it's an exercise to be sure you don't touch them until they are ready. I would say 10 years is fair, though, for most wines other than super high end Bordeaux, as while they aren't perhaps 'ideal' at that stage, still enjoyable and starting to gain complexity.

What kind of Bordeaux are you planning to buy? As for me, I bought rather big into 2014 and then 2016 so I'm not excited about jumping into 2018 as well.
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#4 Post by Jeff Leve » June 4th, 2019, 11:11 am

Scott E. wrote:
June 4th, 2019, 10:54 am
Reading the thread about the 2018's and the promotional stuff received from retailers, it seems like the 2018's are somewhat reasonably priced for the scores that they are garnering. The only Bdx I have ever purchased is a few 2009's, but I'm getting interested again. One thing holding me back is my age and the perception that I'm going to have to hold these for 20-years to get my money's worth.
Personally, I find that to be untrue. The number of good wines from Bordeaux that require 20 years of age before drinking well is quite small IMO.

Of course, that depends on the wines you buy, your cellar temperature, the character of the vintage and what you want in a wine. But as a general rule, for most wines, including the top wines, 20 years is a very long time to wait.

FWIW, all my best wine experiences have been with older wines. But even those wines still had fruit. It is a good topic, but not one you are going to find much consensus with.

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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#5 Post by Mike S. » June 4th, 2019, 12:06 pm

I agree with Jeff. My best drinking experience has been with older wine. BUT I have had several 2009 wines this year that are very,very good. They are rich,ripe, full body wines. I do think they will get better with 5 to ten years of age. If you want the extra spice, complexity, interest you have to wait.
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#6 Post by Bill Tex Landreth » June 4th, 2019, 12:09 pm

When you say modern, do you mean modern style "style", or current vintage(s)?
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#7 Post by JLee » June 4th, 2019, 12:55 pm

Generally no, but there are probably some that require at least 20 years. Well stored back vintages of Bordeaux are also widely available, including late releases from negociants, so if you want a 20 year old wine you don't necessarily have to wait.

If you want specific examples I thought 2001 Rauzan Segla and 2014 Leoville Barton drank well within the last 12 months. Right bank wines also have a reputation for drinking earlier.
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#8 Post by Claus Jeppesen » June 4th, 2019, 1:04 pm

Probably 30
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#9 Post by Jim Hartten » June 4th, 2019, 1:04 pm

I agree with Jeff and Todd. Many lesser Bordeaux can often drink well in the 5-10 year window - and many Bordeaux will show you some goods for a year or two after arrival before closing down (e.g., been loving some 2015 Siran and Labegorce!). [thankyou.gif] In addition, the particular vintage can make a big difference on early drinkibility. I have found a good number of 2012s (which I didn't buy on futures but have since picked up a few) I have tried to be drinking pretty well right now - wondering if the 2017s may fit this bill as well. Conversely, the 1995s and 2000s seem to be taking a good while to come around. [truce.gif] Finally, since I drink the lower end $25-$40 per Bordeaux, I don't sweat burning a few young - especially from half bottle. [wink.gif]

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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#10 Post by Scott E. » June 4th, 2019, 1:06 pm

Bill Tex Landreth wrote:
June 4th, 2019, 12:09 pm
When you say modern, do you mean modern style "style", or current vintage(s)?
For clarification, I was thinking along the lines of current vintages.
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#11 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » June 4th, 2019, 1:23 pm

I’d say the predicate questions are, what’s your age and what wines are you looking at? If you are 53 and love Montrose - that would be me - you are a fool to buy 2018 Montrose! ;)

Many of the top Classified Growths do indeed show best at 20+. If you are gonna drop $100-$250 or more on top wines, I’d say backfill over new releases if you cannot wait 20 years. Now that said, many do start showing their goods in 15, IMHO. I started enjoying some 2000s a few years ago, but acknowledging the big boys like Montrose need more time. Vintages 2001 and 2004 will be ready before that.

Why not look at 2014 over 2018? Already has a few years of bottle age, don’t have to play with futures, and prices on many wines are lower than current releases or 2018 futures. Plus, again IMHO, it’s a more classic vintage. And, it should be ready before so-called bigger vintages like 2010, 2015, 2016, etc.

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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#12 Post by GregT » June 4th, 2019, 2:00 pm

Good idea - why not look at older vintages still on the market. A lot of the wines are OK now, depending on what you're looking for and willing to spend. I don't think it's a requirement to spend $250+ to drink well. I tasted some small chateaux yesterday and they were pretty good for drinking now, probably better with a few years but nothing like 20 or more years.

But really, this is what to consider:
"Of course, that depends on the wines you buy, your cellar temperature, the character of the vintage and what you want in a wine."
If the only Bdx the OP has ever purchased was 2009, that's a warm year and not a lot to go on. I'd try a few bottles of older wines before buying and holding. I know a lot of people buy wines they've never tasted and they don't drink them for several years - that's just so weird to me when it's completely possible to buy a few older vintages from different producers before sinking any serious money into buying things to cellar. Not every young wine has mouth-drying tannins and hidden fruit - the 2009s from St. Emillion I tried were ripe and lush, more like modern Napa wines than old-time Bdx.
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#13 Post by Gary Rust » June 4th, 2019, 2:24 pm

Claus Jeppesen wrote:
June 4th, 2019, 1:04 pm
Probably 30
Ditto for my palate. [cheers.gif]

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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#14 Post by Greg K » June 4th, 2019, 5:04 pm

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
June 4th, 2019, 1:23 pm
I’d say the predicate questions are, what’s your age and what wines are you looking at? If you are 53 and love Montrose - that would be me - you are a fool to buy 2018 Montrose! ;)

Many of the top Classified Growths do indeed show best at 20+. If you are gonna drop $100-$250 or more on top wines, I’d say backfill over new releases if you cannot wait 20 years. Now that said, many do start showing their goods in 15, IMHO. I started enjoying some 2000s a few years ago, but acknowledging the big boys like Montrose need more time. Vintages 2001 and 2004 will be ready before that.

Why not look at 2014 over 2018? Already has a few years of bottle age, don’t have to play with futures, and prices on many wines are lower than current releases or 2018 futures. Plus, again IMHO, it’s a more classic vintage. And, it should be ready before so-called bigger vintages like 2010, 2015, 2016, etc.
Backfilling Bordeaux is so simple. You can get the 85 Pichon Lalande for the same price as the 2018, and while provenance is always a concern, cab handles adverse weather better and you also save on storage for the 20+ years you'd need for your en primeur bottles to start reaching maturity. And of course you can drink them now.

I only wish you could backfill Burgundy/Rhones as easily.
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#15 Post by Scott McDonald » June 4th, 2019, 6:00 pm

About a month ago Jeb Dunnuck wrote:
Screenshot_20190511-230825_Messages.jpg

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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#16 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » June 4th, 2019, 6:10 pm

Sad to read that. We could not share more diametrically opposing views on what Bordeaux should be. The critics and consultants want to make it Napa.

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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#17 Post by Charlie Carnes » June 4th, 2019, 6:24 pm

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
June 4th, 2019, 6:10 pm
Sad to read that. We could not share more diametrically opposing views on what Bordeaux should be. The critics and consultants want to make it Napa.
So sad... I agree with your (after)thought, and I like Jeb, even if I disagree with his palate (now), but what a massively conflicted sentiment. He almost laments the wines of the past, but lauds the winemaking and wines of today.
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#18 Post by Howard Cooper » June 4th, 2019, 6:46 pm

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
June 4th, 2019, 1:23 pm
I’d say the predicate questions are, what’s your age and what wines are you looking at? If you are 53 and love Montrose - that would be me - you are a fool to buy 2018 Montrose! ;)

Many of the top Classified Growths do indeed show best at 20+. If you are gonna drop $100-$250 or more on top wines, I’d say backfill over new releases if you cannot wait 20 years. Now that said, many do start showing their goods in 15, IMHO. I started enjoying some 2000s a few years ago, but acknowledging the big boys like Montrose need more time. Vintages 2001 and 2004 will be ready before that.

Why not look at 2014 over 2018? Already has a few years of bottle age, don’t have to play with futures, and prices on many wines are lower than current releases or 2018 futures. Plus, again IMHO, it’s a more classic vintage. And, it should be ready before so-called bigger vintages like 2010, 2015, 2016, etc.
I agree about buying 2014s over 2018s for the OP.

So, how much 2018 Montrose are you buying?
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#19 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » June 4th, 2019, 6:54 pm

Back to the Dunnuck statement, out of curiosity, I jumped on Leve’s site to check out what he says about just one representative classic Chateau and its drinking window: Montrose. He says two decades to civilize the 2016 and recommends 20 for the 2018. Leve is a modernist, in my view, and yet not even he goes that far. I will agree that many Bordeaux are now made to be flashier early on, but I submit, are these really “Bordeaux” or wines that now just happen to be made in Bordeaux? Frankly, many of these could really come from anywhere, having lost the typicity that is so unique to Bordeaux. And, will they ever show those secondary and tertiary characteristics that make patience so worthwhile? That first whiff I had last week of a 1973 Latour, with my close friend MarcF, now that speaks Bordeaux. At least in my humble, yak palate view.

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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#20 Post by GregT » June 4th, 2019, 6:56 pm

I don't know how long Jeb has been drinking and tasting Bordeaux. But Bdx is huge. You can go there and spend a week tasting bad wines from second rate grapes or sub par winemaking, or spend a week tasting those smooth ripe wines he talks about, or spend a week tasting wines that are neither. There is a lot of wine made there and it's not all made by the same three consultants.

I think Robert's questions are still where you start.
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#21 Post by Charlie Carnes » June 4th, 2019, 7:06 pm

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
June 4th, 2019, 6:54 pm
Frankly, many of these could really come from anywhere, having lost the typicity that is so unique to Bordeaux.
Herein is the true problem, and I have decried this many times. The new style of winemaking that I eschew, is absolutely homogeneous. One cannot discern whether a wine is Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, etc, or wether it is from Africa, Europe, South America, etc.
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#22 Post by Howard Cooper » June 4th, 2019, 7:26 pm

How about buying less expensive Bordeaux that drinks well young and is not necessarily modern.
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#23 Post by Jeff Leve » June 4th, 2019, 8:48 pm

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
June 4th, 2019, 6:10 pm
The critics and consultants want to make it Napa.
My brother, that is silly and false.
Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
June 4th, 2019, 6:54 pm
Back to the Dunnuck statement, out of curiosity, I jumped on Leve’s site to check out what he says about just one representative classic Chateau and its drinking window: Montrose. He says two decades to civilize the 2016 and recommends 20 for the 2018. Leve is a modernist, in my view, and yet not even he goes that far.
Montrose is one of the longest-lived wines in all of Bordeaux. Of course, there are Bordeaux wines that even in sunny, ripe vintages that will be much better in 20 years, and probably 20 more years after that. But you are looking at a very small number of top Left Bank wines that are better at 40, than they were at 20.

But that is the exception and consumers are paying for that ability in the wine to age and evolve. That being said, the majority of the higher scoring wines, pricey wines etc, or whatever category you are thinking of are frankly delicious at 10 years of age.

The big difference in wines coming out of Bordeaux today is that they taste, smell and feel great on your palate at an earlier stage. Previously, due to harsher tannins, a lot of Bordeaux was simply not fun to taste young. Today, the amount of tannins present is equal to previous vintages. But the difference is the texture in the tannins, (as well as the ripeness in the tannins) allowing the wines to give pleasure early.

This is not to say that a lot of wine that's great to drink at 10 will not be better with more age. The point is, almost all Bordeaux offers a lot of pleasure and complexity early in life.

For the posters recommending 2014 over 2018. There are some nice wines in 2014. And several merit buying, especially from better estates in the northern Medoc. But there is a massive difference in the style and level of quality found in 2014 Vs 2018, and they are not interchangeable. Giving an example, it would be like going back in time 30 years ago and telling the OP to buy 1981 Vs 1982. Not exactly, but it is a reasonable comparison.

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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#24 Post by Rauno E (NZ) » June 4th, 2019, 9:28 pm

FWIW, we had a tasting of six 2009s a couple of weeks back - Domaine de Chevalier, Pontet Canet, Leoville Poyferre etc. The Domaine de Chevalier was the only one that looked like it might NOT need another decade +. Personally, I found 5 out of the 6 wines still far too young and monolithic. Quite unenjoyable. These were served single blind (and double decanted) and I picked only one wine correctly - not suggesting I would pride myself on nailing 6/6 but I found very little commune typicity and more similarity (tannin! oak! rich fruit!) across the wines.
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#25 Post by Craig G » June 4th, 2019, 11:10 pm

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
June 4th, 2019, 6:54 pm
He says two decades to civilize the 2016 and recommends 20 for the 2018.
20 decades is a long time. I think I’ll skip the 2018.
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#26 Post by Gerhard P. » June 5th, 2019, 12:03 am

Drinking well? A lot of younger modern Bx are "drinking well" at age 5 ... if you mean "acessable" for the primary fruit ...

Mature? Far from that ... usually the best wines in the best vintages need 20, 25, even 30+ years for full maturity, the better wines still 10-15 years ... (always depending).

As recommended above: why not look for close to mature vintages ... they might be even cheaper ...
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#27 Post by John Bashford » June 5th, 2019, 12:22 am

Its an interesting question but I would proffer that 'modern Bordeaux' dates back to at least 2000 at the start of the 'garagiste movement' and has seen a lot of development and refinement since that time. There have been hits and misses and lots of ink and computer time spent on the subject but my drinking and tasting experience suggest that the quality of the year and the terroir will out a lot of the time. We had the fabled, praised and derided 2003 Pavie served blind at a Super Tuscan dinner last year and most of the 9 of our group picked it as a 12-15 year old St Emilion of excellent quality. This is a wine we all had tasted young and it certainly did not taste like that in 2005.
Most recently we have had a 2005 Left Bank/Graves non-First Growth 'stars' dinner serving Palmer, SHL, Haut Bailly, Pape Clement, Ducru, Montrose, Cos, Pichon Baron, Pontet Canet and LLC. All but the Las Cases opened beautifully ( notes and story on Cellartracker ) with plenty of enjoyment but a sense of many years ahead for all. LLC was excellent but still very tight as you would expect. Next week we have the 1sts to look forward to !
I think the lesson for us was that, for wines stored from early purchase and stored in temp controlled cellars at 14-16C in Australia, at around 14 years these wines are opening up after a sleep of at least 12 years for most of them. I suspect 2010 and 2016 will be similar. The more exotic years like 2009, 2015 and 2018 may still have long evolutions but give more earlier. Some will be like the 1982 Lalande will always be fabulous from the get-go : my wife and I drank a case far too young ! The 2009 Palmer seems a bit similar on recent tasting !
I am not sure that answers the question but at least it comes from a pretty strong amateur experience and passion ! My view is that the vintage, the terroir and the quality of the maker will win out over time. It's fun learning !

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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#28 Post by Julian Marshall » June 5th, 2019, 1:08 am

I think it's pretty clear that all Bordeaux wines are more enjoyable young than in the past. The clientèle has changed - so apart from a few loonies, nobody wants to make wines that are undrinkable before they're fifteen or twenty years old.

Ta take this from another angle, a few years ago many people, myself included, wondered if modern Bordeaux would be able to age as well as the wines did in the past, on the basis that you couldn't have it both ways. Well, they do, so you can have your cake and eat it. Obviously, the complexity and nuances of a twenty year old wine are not the same as the youth and sparkle of a young wine, but both offer pleasure. Which of the two pleasures you prefer is a matter of taste, like the difference between a "modern" RB and a traditional, or "post-modern" LB.

Scott, I don't know what your preference is, or your budget, but as Greg says, backfilling is easy - if you like the 2009s you bought, why not just buy some more? Many are around the same price as they were at release and some are actually cheaper than EP (eg LLC, PLL). Alternatively, buy some of the other more mature vintages. Try some of the cooler ones to see if you like the taste.

I'm sure 2018 is good, but is it really "even better than" ___ (insert the year of your choice)? It's only a matter of time before another vintage is "even better than 2018". This is how EP works - it's in both the producers' and the critics' interests to maintain the idea of a perfection spiral.

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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#29 Post by Howard Cooper » June 5th, 2019, 4:44 am

Jeff Leve wrote:
June 4th, 2019, 8:48 pm


The big difference in wines coming out of Bordeaux today is that they taste, smell and feel great on your palate at an earlier stage. Previously, due to harsher tannins, a lot of Bordeaux was simply not fun to taste young. Today, the amount of tannins present is equal to previous vintages. But the difference is the texture in the tannins, (as well as the ripeness in the tannins) allowing the wines to give pleasure early.

There have always (at least in my lifetime) been a number of excellent Bordeaux that tasted good at 10 years old. 1970 Leoville Poyferre was delicious in 1980 and 1970 Palmer was delicious at 12. I loved 1979 Leoville las Cases when it was younger (in fact this wine tasted better younger than older). 1982 Cos D'Estournal was fabulous at 10 and in fact I can remember getting together with friends to taste classified 1982s in 1992 and, while the wines were not fully mature, all of them (including Lafite) tasted fabulously. The ages I am describing reflect actual times when I had the wine (in many cases for the first time). Yes, these wines continued to improve after these times and they were not at their peaks, but they were very tasty.

Yes, 1970 Latour still tasted very closed in the 1990s and needed a lot of time to come around. But, even with Montrose, I had a 2005 a couple of years ago that was horribly young, but very tasty and would probably do fine with a steak to absorb some of the tannins.
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#30 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » June 5th, 2019, 4:53 am

Jeff Leve wrote:
June 4th, 2019, 8:48 pm
Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
June 4th, 2019, 6:10 pm
The critics and consultants want to make it Napa.
My brother, that is silly and false.
HAHA, my opinion is decidedly neither silly nor false, but I will concede, it is drizzled with a hedonistic vein of hyperbole, supported by a long and complex dissertation as its finish.

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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#31 Post by Neal.Mollen » June 5th, 2019, 5:12 am

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
June 4th, 2019, 6:54 pm
Back to the Dunnuck statement, out of curiosity, I jumped on Leve’s site to check out what he says about just one representative classic Chateau and its drinking window: Montrose. He says two decades to civilize the 2016 and recommends 20 for the 2018. Leve is a modernist, in my view, and yet not even he goes that far. I will agree that many Bordeaux are now made to be flashier early on, but I submit, are these really “Bordeaux” or wines that now just happen to be made in Bordeaux? Frankly, many of these could really come from anywhere, having lost the typicity that is so unique to Bordeaux. And, will they ever show those secondary and tertiary characteristics that make patience so worthwhile? That first whiff I had last week of a 1973 Latour, with my close friend MarcF, now that speaks Bordeaux. At least in my humble, yak palate view.
I think what Jeb would say is that bdx wine is better if it can be enjoyed now and later, and it is hard to disagree. I have my doubts that the more modern wines that are more forward earlier in life will deliver the same pleasure at what used to be regarded as maturity, but in theory, if vineyard practices could produce a Montrose that is delightful at 10 and regal at 20, we'd be ahead of the game, wouldn't we?
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#32 Post by Mark Golodetz » June 5th, 2019, 5:14 am

Howard Cooper wrote:
June 5th, 2019, 4:44 am
Jeff Leve wrote:
June 4th, 2019, 8:48 pm


The big difference in wines coming out of Bordeaux today is that they taste, smell and feel great on your palate at an earlier stage. Previously, due to harsher tannins, a lot of Bordeaux was simply not fun to taste young. Today, the amount of tannins present is equal to previous vintages. But the difference is the texture in the tannins, (as well as the ripeness in the tannins) allowing the wines to give pleasure early.

There have always (at least in my lifetime) been a number of excellent Bordeaux that tasted good at 10 years old. 1970 Leoville Poyferre was delicious in 1980 and 1970 Palmer was delicious at 12. I loved 1979 Leoville las Cases when it was younger (in fact this wine tasted better younger than older). 1982 Cos D'Estournal was fabulous at 10 and in fact I can remember getting together with friends to taste classified 1982s in 1992 and, while the wines were not fully mature, all of them (including Lafite) tasted fabulously. The ages I am describing reflect actual times when I had the wine (in many cases for the first time). Yes, these wines continued to improve after these times and they were not at their peaks, but they were very tasty.

Yes, 1970 Latour still tasted very closed in the 1990s and needed a lot of time to come around. But, even with Montrose, I had a 2005 a couple of years ago that was horribly young, but very tasty and would probably do fine with a steak to absorb some of the tannins.
My first Thanksgiving in NY was in 1983, and the 1979s were readily available. We drank that day Grand Puy Lacoste, Lynch Bages, Palmer and Las Cases (all around the $15 mark).

They were delicious, and drank a easily a hallmark one expects from a well balanced vintage with silky tannin, and little edge. The best was Palmer, but when I went to buy a few extra bottles, Gary Fradin at Quality House told me he was sold out. Some other punter had drunk it at Thanksgiving, and come in half an hour earlier and took the lost.

We are talking about a wine that was four years old, and so good to drink. It shows how some excellent wines can be drunk early, and then some....not so much. Case by case, bottle by bottle.
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#33 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » June 5th, 2019, 5:26 am

Neal.Mollen wrote:
June 5th, 2019, 5:12 am
Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
June 4th, 2019, 6:54 pm
Back to the Dunnuck statement, out of curiosity, I jumped on Leve’s site to check out what he says about just one representative classic Chateau and its drinking window: Montrose. He says two decades to civilize the 2016 and recommends 20 for the 2018. Leve is a modernist, in my view, and yet not even he goes that far. I will agree that many Bordeaux are now made to be flashier early on, but I submit, are these really “Bordeaux” or wines that now just happen to be made in Bordeaux? Frankly, many of these could really come from anywhere, having lost the typicity that is so unique to Bordeaux. And, will they ever show those secondary and tertiary characteristics that make patience so worthwhile? That first whiff I had last week of a 1973 Latour, with my close friend MarcF, now that speaks Bordeaux. At least in my humble, yak palate view.
I think what Jeb would say is that bdx wine is better if it can be enjoyed now and later, and it is hard to disagree. I have my doubts that the more modern wines that are more forward earlier in life will deliver the same pleasure at what used to be regarded as maturity, but in theory, if vineyard practices could produce a Montrose that is delightful at 10 and regal at 20, we'd be ahead of the game, wouldn't we?
“If,” then perhaps.

But like you, I have my doubts.

And bear in mind, Jeb starts off by saying Bordeaux that requires even 10 years of age are a thing of the past. It’s like the movement is to create a wine to pop and pour. And gulp. Back to Gerhardt’s point, if you want primary fruit - though the more modern wines are primary fruit, oak and alcohol - go for it. But if we are talking about the historic essence of Bordeaux, elegant wines that are layered with ancillary and tertiary characteristics, and have that sense of place, I’m not seeing it.

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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#34 Post by Jayson Cohen » June 5th, 2019, 5:42 am

Scott E. wrote:
June 4th, 2019, 10:54 am
Reading the thread about the 2018's and the promotional stuff received from retailers, it seems like the 2018's are somewhat reasonably priced for the scores that they are garnering.
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#35 Post by David Glasser » June 5th, 2019, 6:26 am

Depends on which wines and personal preference. I get the most out of the Bordeaux complexity that starts showing up at 20-30 years. Sure modern Bordeaux can be drunk younger without having to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous tannin. It can be enjoyable but for my palate it’s not Bordeaux' zenith.

When I read a quote like that from Jeb Dunnuck above, my reaction is that his personal opinion of the best that Bordeaux can be differs from mine.

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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#36 Post by Jürgen Steinke » June 5th, 2019, 8:17 am

This question can not be answered in a general statement. Do we talk about Merlot or Cabernet based wines? What is the style of the vintage? The top 1999 Left Bank Bordeaux are all fully mature while most of the 1996 are still painfully young.

As was said already: That the tannins are less rustic today than they were in the past does not mean the wines have a limited life. IMO. Because the amount of tannins is as high as in former times. Its just different. The drinking window is wider. And that is an advantage. No?

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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#37 Post by David Glasser » June 5th, 2019, 9:24 am

Jürgen, I agree that a wider drinking window is an advantage as long as the peak is not blunted or lowered.

I don’t think it’s less rustic tannins that have people concerned about the ability of many modern Bordeaux to develop the classic complexity we seek at 20-30+ years out. It’s increased ripeness, lower acidity, higher alcohol, and increased use of new oak that is of concern.

I’ve heard this story before, in 1982 and 1990, and both of those vintages developed the magic in the bottle. But more estates keep pushing the envelope further, and no one will be certain if or when a line was crossed until 20 years down the road.

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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#38 Post by Doug Schulman » June 5th, 2019, 10:27 am

I far prefer red Bordeaux with a significant amount of maturity. That often means 20-30+ years for me, and the lower end of that range can be far too young for many wines. To me, it almost doesn't matter what the young vintages will do, because one can get older, ready-to-drink vintages for about the same prices in many cases, and even for less money in some cases (a lot less if we're talking about top wines from good, but not great, vintages).

Jeb's statement ignores individual preferences.
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#39 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » June 5th, 2019, 11:00 am

David Glasser wrote:
June 5th, 2019, 9:24 am
Jürgen, I agree that a wider drinking window is an advantage as long as the peak is not blunted or lowered.

I don’t think it’s less rustic tannins that have people concerned about the ability of many modern Bordeaux to develop the classic complexity we seek at 20-30+ years out. It’s increased ripeness, lower acidity, higher alcohol, and increased use of new oak that is of concern.

I’ve heard this story before, in 1982 and 1990, and both of those vintages developed the magic in the bottle. But more estates keep pushing the envelope further, and no one will be certain if or when a line was crossed until 20 years down the road.
Like something I would have written, though not as eloquently as Doc writes it.

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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#40 Post by Jay Miller » June 5th, 2019, 11:18 am

David Glasser wrote:
June 5th, 2019, 6:26 am
Depends on which wines and personal preference. I get the most out of the Bordeaux complexity that starts showing up at 20-30 years. Sure modern Bordeaux can be drunk younger without having to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous tannin. It can be enjoyable but for my palate it’s not Bordeaux' zenith.

When I read a quote like that from Jeb Dunnuck above, my reaction is that his personal opinion of the best that Bordeaux can be differs from mine.
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#41 Post by Sc0tt F!tzger@ld » June 5th, 2019, 11:56 am

For those advocating 20-30 years out for current wines, how do you know for sure? Hasn’t wine production changed dramatically since 1989 (30 years ago)? Is the notion of drinking old English claret an overly romanticized thing of the past? Is 10 years the new 30? Not criticizing, just interested in the debate.

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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#42 Post by Howard Cooper » June 5th, 2019, 12:36 pm

Mark Golodetz wrote:
June 5th, 2019, 5:14 am
Howard Cooper wrote:
June 5th, 2019, 4:44 am
Jeff Leve wrote:
June 4th, 2019, 8:48 pm


The big difference in wines coming out of Bordeaux today is that they taste, smell and feel great on your palate at an earlier stage. Previously, due to harsher tannins, a lot of Bordeaux was simply not fun to taste young. Today, the amount of tannins present is equal to previous vintages. But the difference is the texture in the tannins, (as well as the ripeness in the tannins) allowing the wines to give pleasure early.

There have always (at least in my lifetime) been a number of excellent Bordeaux that tasted good at 10 years old. 1970 Leoville Poyferre was delicious in 1980 and 1970 Palmer was delicious at 12. I loved 1979 Leoville las Cases when it was younger (in fact this wine tasted better younger than older). 1982 Cos D'Estournal was fabulous at 10 and in fact I can remember getting together with friends to taste classified 1982s in 1992 and, while the wines were not fully mature, all of them (including Lafite) tasted fabulously. The ages I am describing reflect actual times when I had the wine (in many cases for the first time). Yes, these wines continued to improve after these times and they were not at their peaks, but they were very tasty.

Yes, 1970 Latour still tasted very closed in the 1990s and needed a lot of time to come around. But, even with Montrose, I had a 2005 a couple of years ago that was horribly young, but very tasty and would probably do fine with a steak to absorb some of the tannins.
My first Thanksgiving in NY was in 1983, and the 1979s were readily available. We drank that day Grand Puy Lacoste, Lynch Bages, Palmer and Las Cases (all around the $15 mark).

They were delicious, and drank a easily a hallmark one expects from a well balanced vintage with silky tannin, and little edge. The best was Palmer, but when I went to buy a few extra bottles, Gary Fradin at Quality House told me he was sold out. Some other punter had drunk it at Thanksgiving, and come in half an hour earlier and took the lost.

We are talking about a wine that was four years old, and so good to drink. It shows how some excellent wines can be drunk early, and then some....not so much. Case by case, bottle by bottle.
I also had a bunch of 1979s young, although over time. It was the first vintage I really purchased in any quantity after I started working and so these were the wines I had to drink - at least until I got delivery of things like 1982 Gloria, Chasse Spleen, Latour du Pin Figeac, etc. As you said, the 1979s were not at their peaks, but they were delicious. And, those 1982s were so enjoyable that they allowed me to keep my hands off my classified 1982s for the first ten years or more.

I had the Palmer probably 15 years or more after you did and it was fabulous then also. So, I probably had it around its peak, you had it when it was young, and we both really enjoyed it. That really shows the value of vintages like 1979 and, more recently, 2001, 2004 and 2014 that IMHO have pretty wide drinking windows.
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#43 Post by Howard Cooper » June 5th, 2019, 12:42 pm

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
June 5th, 2019, 5:26 am
Neal.Mollen wrote:
June 5th, 2019, 5:12 am
Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
June 4th, 2019, 6:54 pm
Back to the Dunnuck statement, out of curiosity, I jumped on Leve’s site to check out what he says about just one representative classic Chateau and its drinking window: Montrose. He says two decades to civilize the 2016 and recommends 20 for the 2018. Leve is a modernist, in my view, and yet not even he goes that far. I will agree that many Bordeaux are now made to be flashier early on, but I submit, are these really “Bordeaux” or wines that now just happen to be made in Bordeaux? Frankly, many of these could really come from anywhere, having lost the typicity that is so unique to Bordeaux. And, will they ever show those secondary and tertiary characteristics that make patience so worthwhile? That first whiff I had last week of a 1973 Latour, with my close friend MarcF, now that speaks Bordeaux. At least in my humble, yak palate view.
I think what Jeb would say is that bdx wine is better if it can be enjoyed now and later, and it is hard to disagree. I have my doubts that the more modern wines that are more forward earlier in life will deliver the same pleasure at what used to be regarded as maturity, but in theory, if vineyard practices could produce a Montrose that is delightful at 10 and regal at 20, we'd be ahead of the game, wouldn't we?
“If,” then perhaps.

But like you, I have my doubts.

And bear in mind, Jeb starts off by saying Bordeaux that requires even 10 years of age are a thing of the past. It’s like the movement is to create a wine to pop and pour. And gulp. Back to Gerhardt’s point, if you want primary fruit - though the more modern wines are primary fruit, oak and alcohol - go for it. But if we are talking about the historic essence of Bordeaux, elegant wines that are layered with ancillary and tertiary characteristics, and have that sense of place, I’m not seeing it.
So, you guys don't drink any Bordeauxs until they are 20. Even you Robert, the champion of moderately priced Bordeaux and of vintages like 2001, 2004, and 2014 (and I very much mean this as a compliment)? Not all Bordeaux is Latour, LLC, Montrose and Sociando Mallet. Many Bordeauxs can be drunk in the first 10 years with a lot of enjoyment and the benefit is that these are the wines that are less expensive.

I have not had them from 2014, but are you guys really telling me that wines like Gloria, Potensac, Lalande Borie, Chasse Spleen or even Cantemerle and la Lagune cannot be drunk with pleasure now? Can you guys find wines from 2014 from this thread viewtopic.php?f=1&t=161060 that the OP can drink now and say, wow, Bordeaux is really well priced and good?
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#44 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » June 5th, 2019, 1:07 pm

Not at all, Howard. My notes on young Bordeaux are all over this Board. Heck, I’ve been waxing rhapsodically over the 2014s, like Lanessan and Sociando. They will all be ridiculously better, however, in 15-20+. My comments are more on the big guns, the major Classified Growths, like Montrose, Leoville Barton, GPL, etc. As you know the upper echelon of Bordeaux historically are less approachable in their youth, and then flesh out beautifully in time. I’ve recently had 2010, 2009 and 2005 Leoville Barton. A friend brought them to dinner. Opening them was, IMHO, a waste. While they showed an impressive but very primary ball of fruit on the wine, and the density impressive, I cannot say they were more enjoyable than a mature Bordeaux of lesser quality.

I am a drinker not a collector. I drink quality wines that are affordable, with a smattering of higher end wines. I can say unequivocally, as much as I love the 2014 Sociando and Lanessan - using them as reference as I have had several already from that vintage - yes they were enjoyable but they are still outclassed by bottles with 15-20+. While not quite 20, I love the 2000 and 2001 versions of these wines. Drinking so well right now and still improving. Ultimately I even think the 2014 versions will be better. Given time. I bought lots of each to drink in my dotage.
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#45 Post by Howard Cooper » June 5th, 2019, 1:24 pm

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
June 5th, 2019, 1:07 pm
Not at all, Howard. My notes on young Bordeaux are all over this Board. Heck, I’ve been waxing rhapsodically over the 2014s, like Lanessan and Sociando. They will all be ridiculously better, however, in 15-20+. My comments are more on the big guns, the major Classified Growths, like Montrose, Leoville Barton, GPL, etc. As you know the upper echelon of Bordeaux historically are less approachable in their youth, and then flesh out beautifully in time. I’ve recently had 2010, 2009 and 2005 Leoville Barton. A friend brought them to dinner. Opening them was, IMHO, a waste. While they showed an impressive but very primary ball of fruit on the wine, and the density impressive, I cannot say they were more enjoyable than a mature Bordeaux of lesser quality.

I am a drinker not a collector. I drink quality wines that are affordable, with a smattering of higher end wines. I can say unequivocally, as much as I love the 2024 Sociando and Lanessan - using them as reference as I have had several already from that vintage - yes they were enjoyable but they are still outclassed by bottles with 15-20+. While not quite 20, I love the 2000 and 2001 versions of these wines. Drinking so well right now and still improving.
Well, the OP just asked for Bordeaux that he could drink on the younger side. He did not specify the level of wine, at least as far as I read. I agree with the advice to buy 2014s rather than 2018s (and to look for 2001s and 2004s ( not sure how well the 2024s are drinking now newhere )) but wouldn’t an answer to the OP be look for 2014 Lanessan?
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#46 Post by D.Callahan » June 5th, 2019, 2:01 pm

David Glasser wrote:
June 5th, 2019, 9:24 am
Jürgen, I agree that a wider drinking window is an advantage as long as the peak is not blunted or lowered.

I don’t think it’s less rustic tannins that have people concerned about the ability of many modern Bordeaux to develop the classic complexity we seek at 20-30+ years out. It’s increased ripeness, lower acidity, higher alcohol, and increased use of new oak that is of concern.

I’ve heard this story before, in 1982 and 1990, and both of those vintages developed the magic in the bottle. But more estates keep pushing the envelope further, and no one will be certain if or when a line was crossed until 20 years down the road.

Pardon the thread drift but...

I am not terribly conversant on Bdx. but my impression was that new oak has always been the rule for each vintage. I don't remember anyone commenting on the proportions of new oak when discussing any release. Maybe I missed that conversation? [scratch.gif]

Harvesting at increased ripeness may be the new trend which would cause higher alcohol levels but are you saying that vintners are deliberately lowering the acidity levels through intervention now? Would prolonged maceration time on the skins or more pump overs contribute to the change? I would really like to know more about common practices in Bdx. I have heard a lot of discussion about the changing face of Bdx wines but little about the mechanisms used to bring this change about.
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#47 Post by Alan Rath » June 5th, 2019, 3:22 pm

D.Callahan wrote:
June 5th, 2019, 2:01 pm
I don't remember anyone commenting on the proportions of new oak when discussing any release. Maybe I missed that conversation?
You're right, it doesn't get a lot of attention, but there is a reasonable range of new oak across Bordeaux. It's a question I often ask while tasting wines at UGC, and the answers can vary from as low as 40% to 100% (and probably even less on the low end for some less expensive wines). I think there is a bit less emphasis on new oak in recent years, though some producers still insist on 100% new in every vintage, regardless of vintage character.
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#48 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » June 5th, 2019, 3:27 pm

I can’t seem to figure the oak thing out. I don’t like new oak, generally speaking. Yet, some Bordeaux handle it well, on others it’s a kinky mess. Is it the type of new oak, the toast, etc.? Sociando is generally all new oak and yet it does not often express oak as a primary note. And then it often shows Cab Franc to me, but only has 5% in the cepage. Go figure.

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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#49 Post by Neal.Mollen » June 5th, 2019, 3:36 pm

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
June 5th, 2019, 3:27 pm
I can’t seem to figure the oak thing out. I don’t like new oak, generally speaking. Yet, some Bordeaux handle it well, on others it’s a kinky mess. Is it the type of new oak, the toast, etc.? Sociando is generally all new oak and yet it does not often express oak as a primary note. And then it often shows Cab Franc to me, but only has 5% in the cepage. Go figure.
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#50 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » June 5th, 2019, 3:41 pm

Neal.Mollen wrote:
June 5th, 2019, 3:36 pm
Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
June 5th, 2019, 3:27 pm
I can’t seem to figure the oak thing out. I don’t like new oak, generally speaking. Yet, some Bordeaux handle it well, on others it’s a kinky mess. Is it the type of new oak, the toast, etc.? Sociando is generally all new oak and yet it does not often express oak as a primary note. And then it often shows Cab Franc to me, but only has 5% in the cepage. Go figure.
This is why one should not be doctrinaire, grasshopper.
Well technically I am a doctor of something, mostly BS, but I am debo’naire.

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