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

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

#51 Post by Pat Martin » June 5th, 2019, 3:55 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.
Who knows, you (we) might like Sociando even more with less or zero new oak?

A wine handling oak vs being improved by oak seems like very different propositions. But we the consumer never get to do such compare and contrasts at least for a single Chateau.
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#52 Post by Howard Cooper » June 5th, 2019, 4:13 pm

My sense has been that we emphasize oak too much in determining what is modern from what is traditional and other things not enough - things like picking dates, alcohol levels, extraction techniques, native or cultured yeasts, etc. Certainly, wines with too much new oak taste very oaky when you taste them young. But some wines integrate the oak well with age while others do not. Is this based on the level of toast? Is this the level of fruit - do some wines have enough fruit, etc., to be excellent when the oak integrates while other wines have nothing left so that there is nothing but oak. Is it terroir? I don't know, but the best way of determining whether the wine will survive the oak, IMHO, is history and track record.

So, I don't really like much new oak on wines made to be drunk young and am agnostic about new oak on wines that are made to be aged.
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#53 Post by Neal.Mollen » June 5th, 2019, 4:22 pm

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
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.
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#54 Post by NoahR » June 5th, 2019, 4:55 pm

Last year did a vertical of Lynch Bages. Brought the 75 and the highly touted 89. The 75 was beautiful and the 89 was dense, monolithic and impenetrable still. There were some more recent vintages that were a bit more “ready to drink” but none of the. were considered the top vintages like 2000 and 2005.

Overall, to my tastes, what good old Bordeaux becomes with age is unique. What youthful Bordeaux tastes like is utterly not so. In a lot of ways we don’t know what Modern wines are going to mature into in 15 years. Based on our collective experiences with, say, 1997 Napa, there’s a lot of worry out there.

I’ve had some 01’s and 04’s that were lovely and hadsoftened but they were certainly not mature, just pleasantly drinkable.

I also think Dunnuck is totally off base with a statement that could only be made by someone who (to his credit, perhaps) tastes so much wine that he is dead to the stifling and mouthdrying effect of tannins. At some point you maybe cease noticing the fact that the back end of your wine is like the choke of an artichoke. Maybe after the 15th barrel sample. Or maybe you just only note the glycerin and plummy topnotes, which might explain why so many of the EP critics seem to have a sweet tooth in their ratings for merlot heavy wines - and they all do. Other than the “major critics” I don’t know a single collector who would routinely rate mid-level St-Emilions over the similarly priced Left Bank classified Growths.
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#55 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » June 5th, 2019, 5:02 pm

Some valid points, Noah.
NoahR wrote:
June 5th, 2019, 4:55 pm

I also think XXXX is totally off base with a statement that could only be made by someone who (to his credit, perhaps) tastes so much wine that he is dead to the stifling and mouthdrying effect of tannins. At some point you maybe cease noticing the fact that the back end of your wine is like the choke of an artichoke. Maybe after the 15th barrel sample. Or maybe you just only note the glycerin and plummy topnotes, which might explain why so many of the EP critics seem to have a sweet tooth in their ratings for merlot heavy wines - and they all do. Other than the “major critics” I don’t know a single collector who would routinely rate mid-level St-Emilions over the similarly priced Left Bank classified Growths.
So I was just sorta panning the 2016 Lanessan for its dry oak astringency, and chuckling to see Panos’ CT note calling it “fresh and frank” but then acknowledging his tasting came on the heals of tasting “Grands Chene” - which ironically translates as “big oak”. It’s a sickly oaky wine, so I can see how the Lanessan tastes fresh and frank. It did not show that to me. And I like some of Panos’ writings. This one just was amusing given the perception of one following the another.

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

#56 Post by David Glasser » June 5th, 2019, 5:40 pm

Sc0tt F!tzger@ld wrote:
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.
You don’t know for sure. For wines I hope will blossom at 20-30 years, I go on:
Track record
Changes in winemaking team, philosophy
Changes in vineyard or cellar practices
Notes from trusted palates
An early-ish (for me) look at 10-15 years

It’s a calculated risk, but with he above info I’ve won more bets than I've lost.

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

#57 Post by David Glasser » June 5th, 2019, 5:55 pm

Pat Martin wrote:
June 5th, 2019, 3:55 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.
Who knows, you (we) might like Sociando even more with less or zero new oak?

A wine handling oak vs being improved by oak seems like very different propositions. But we the consumer never get to do such compare and contrasts at least for a single Chateau.
Oak seems to be a matter of proportion. New oak is a staple in Bordeaux, but what % and for how long can vary significantly, from very little up to "200%” new oak. Someone once said some wines aren’t over-oaked, they’re under-wined. I don’t know how the estates figure it out. And I’m not as accurate as I’d like to be in predicting when oak will integrate well and when it won’t. Keeps it interesting.

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

#58 Post by J B a s k a m » June 6th, 2019, 5:31 am

It's coming up on 19 years for the 2000 Left Bank Crus. Have not seen many notes on these. Is it about time? Look forward to seeing more tasting notes as we head towards a score.
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#59 Post by Glenn P » June 6th, 2019, 6:02 am

I had an episode at a blind tasting of 2000 Bordeaux where they were all tight and tannic. No one even identified them as Bordeaux and we thought perhaps Northern Rhône. It should be mentioned that the person putting on the tasting keeps his cellar very cold, but otherwise when these tannins soften the fruit may be gone! Almost 20 yrs old and they weren’t enjoyable!

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

#60 Post by Peter Valiquette » June 6th, 2019, 7:00 am

The big vintages always get the highest scores, but for me, bigger isn't better in the world of wine. I'd rather have something elegant and expressive over a big tannic monster.

Besides, shouldn't we be celebrating cool vintages which still achieve phenolic ripeness in this era of global warming? I.E., Bordeaux 2014.

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

#61 Post by John Morris » June 6th, 2019, 7:05 am

Glenn P wrote:
June 6th, 2019, 6:02 am
I had an episode at a blind tasting of 2000 Bordeaux where they were all tight and tannic. No one even identified them as Bordeaux and we thought perhaps Northern Rhône. It should be mentioned that the person putting on the tasting keeps his cellar very cold, but otherwise when these tannins soften the fruit may be gone! Almost 20 yrs old and they weren’t enjoyable!
Was this recently?
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#62 Post by Julian Marshall » June 6th, 2019, 7:13 am

On the subject of oak, as Howard wonders, I think the level of toasting has a big impact on smell and taste. I've stuffed my head in barrels in a couple of estates - same cooper, different level of toasting - and the difference is enormous. At one estate - LLC - we (i.e. wifey and I plus the cellar-master) found exactly the same oak aroma in Clos du Marquis as in the heavily toasted barrel (and he confirmed at the time that it was not an experiment he wished to pursue further). I don't normally drink wines which use this type of oak as a rule anymore, but I can quite imagine that trying anything after Les Grands Chênes must taste fresh! I agree that I've never noticed the oak in SM, nor in many Loire reds for that matter - it must be the effect on my palate of all that bell pepper!

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

#63 Post by Keith Levenberg » June 6th, 2019, 8:20 am

Scott McDonald wrote:
June 4th, 2019, 6:00 pm
About a month ago Jeb Dunnuck wrote:

Screenshot_20190511-230825_Messages.jpg
Sorry, I'm new here... are you telling me people actually pay for this kind of misinformation?

I had a 1928 Bordeaux last night and can assure all concerned that it isn't remotely the same experience as a young wine made with "riper" or "more uniform" fruit. There are always going to be some people who'd rather drink young wine, which is fine, but that's not where I'd look for buying advice. Anyway, it doesn't require a whole lot of discussion because the claim is easily testable - try some well-stored '90s, '86s, '61s, or whatever, then try some '15s and '16s, and if you still prefer the '15s and '16s then buy 'em, drink 'em up, and enjoy.

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

#64 Post by Pat Martin » June 7th, 2019, 5:01 am

Keith Levenberg wrote:
June 6th, 2019, 8:20 am
Scott McDonald wrote:
June 4th, 2019, 6:00 pm
About a month ago Jeb Dunnuck wrote:

Screenshot_20190511-230825_Messages.jpg
Sorry, I'm new here... are you telling me people actually pay for this kind of misinformation?
I believe it’s the retailers who (happily) pay for this sort of “information”.

The 2005s are drinking great? That’s news to me.
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#65 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » June 7th, 2019, 5:33 am

Keith I saw a picture of that ‘28 Mouton! Sorry I couldn’t join you!

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

#66 Post by Stephen Faulkner » June 7th, 2019, 6:34 am

I have to say that this thread represents the best of WB to me. Great informed discussion with a diversity of opinions on an interesting topic that I have little in-depth knowledge of, so I can use this information to improve my Bordeaux drinking/purchases. Thank you!

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

#67 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » June 7th, 2019, 6:40 am

John Morris wrote:
June 6th, 2019, 7:05 am
Glenn P wrote:
June 6th, 2019, 6:02 am
I had an episode at a blind tasting of 2000 Bordeaux where they were all tight and tannic. No one even identified them as Bordeaux and we thought perhaps Northern Rhône. It should be mentioned that the person putting on the tasting keeps his cellar very cold, but otherwise when these tannins soften the fruit may be gone! Almost 20 yrs old and they weren’t enjoyable!
Was this recently?
Sheez Johnny. Read the last sentence. :)

I’m actually surprised to read this. I have been trying a lot of 2000s recently. And while the left bank GCs are still young , they are also quite enjoyable and starting to near the window. I have not popped bruisers like Montrose and Leoville Barton. I cannot imagine mistaking them for a Northern Rhône. At least not since lunch.

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

#68 Post by BobH » June 7th, 2019, 7:19 am

I think a lot of this thread suffers from a 'Loaded Question' scenario. Before you answer the question of does Bordeaux need 20 years of aging to drink well, you have to ask yourself what the question itself means. What does drinking well mean TO YOU? If you like to drink your Bordeaux young and at release, you may want to drink a 'modern' (the definition is clearly up in the air there as well) Bordeaux. If you like to drink your wines at age 10, when they are still primary you can drink either probably, and maybe with an edge towards 'modern'. If you think drinking well means tertiary aromas, than 20 years isn't enough for any Bordeaux no matter what style it is.
I just had a wonderful Lascombs from the 60s out of a half bottle no less. I am starting to think that I really only like Bordeaux when it is 40+ years old. Even if a Bordeaux is 'drinking well' at age 20, it doesn't have what I want out of a Bordeaux. So it may be open and lovely, but is not drinking well for me. So I think you need to figure out how you like your wines first, and then go from there.
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#69 Post by Charlie Carnes » June 7th, 2019, 7:48 am

Keith Levenberg wrote:
June 6th, 2019, 8:20 am

Sorry, I'm new here... are you telling me people actually pay for this kind of misinformation?
Welcome to the board!
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#70 Post by Gerhard P. » June 7th, 2019, 8:24 am

Glenn P wrote:
June 6th, 2019, 6:02 am
I had an episode at a blind tasting of 2000 Bordeaux where they were all tight and tannic. No one even identified them as Bordeaux and we thought perhaps Northern Rhône. It should be mentioned that the person putting on the tasting keeps his cellar very cold, but otherwise when these tannins soften the fruit may be gone! Almost 20 yrs old and they weren’t enjoyable!
I keep my hands off the better 2000s ... still too primary.
On the other hand I´m prettey sure that there will still be enough fruit when they are close to maturity, but it needs patience ...
what vintage should have enough fruit if not 2000 ?!!!
There might be problems with some minor crus that have been blown up with a lot of oak, but not the wines from great terrroir.
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#71 Post by Brian Thorne » June 7th, 2019, 9:29 am

J B a s k a m wrote:
June 6th, 2019, 5:31 am
It's coming up on 19 years for the 2000 Left Bank Crus. Have not seen many notes on these. Is it about time? Look forward to seeing more tasting notes as we head towards a score.
From my recent experiences, I think many of 2000 Bordeaux are entering their drinking window. Still youthful, but developing enjoyable and complex secondary aromas + flavors. Branaire Ducru, Grand Puy Lacoste, Pichone Lalande, Pontet Canet, Léoville Poyferré, Smith Haut Lafitte, Troplong Mondot were all drinking beautifully when opened in the last year or so. That said, I think all of them, with the exception of Branaire Ducru and Smith Haut Lafitte, will continue to evolve and improve, where well stored. Other recent bottles that were still quite primary and tight as a drum include Pichon Baron, Ducru-Beaucaillou, and Angelus.

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

#72 Post by Marcu$ Stanley » June 7th, 2019, 1:27 pm

I had the 2000 Pichon Baron a month or two ago and it was fantastic. Stored since release at 55 degrees, just emerging from its shell, lots of primary fruit and at the front edge of what will be a very long drinking window. My quick notes were:


"A wow wine right out of the bottle, no decanting -- on the nose, violets, perfume, some incense, grape sorbet, but also a
meaty edge that adds complexity. Not quite as ready on the palate where some tannin was evident and there was just a touch of tartness on the back end. But it was still delicious, with beautiful balance and rich midpalate depth combined with crispness and precision of fruit. Continued to open up throughout the night. This will be a great one for many years and is wonderful right now, especially if you like primary fruit".


In answer to the title question, yes I absolutely believe modern Bordeaux, at least on the left bank, need 15-20 years of aging to begin to drink well. And that's just the start of the drinking window, obviously they evolve for many years beyond that. Look at left bank vintages like 2005 and 2010, does anyone believe that those are ready to drink now? I feel like the "modern" style is bigger, richer, and more extracted, producing more tannins that demand longer aging. Just because the fruit covers those up when they are young doesn't mean they aren't there. I suspect modern Bordeaux might even require longer aging than it did in the old days, there is more of everything to tame.
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#73 Post by Marcu$ Stanley » June 7th, 2019, 1:39 pm

Re the Dunnock statement, he says that big Bordeaux now "offer pleasure" in their youth. Sure, because they are "smoother" and more selected and engineered to have big slick fruit. But that doesn't mean they are anywhere near ready. The mouthful of fruit you can get from a modern young Bordeaux is nothing close to the experience that Bordeaux will give you once it enters its true drinking window.

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

#74 Post by Howard Cooper » June 7th, 2019, 2:20 pm

BobH wrote:
June 7th, 2019, 7:19 am
I think a lot of this thread suffers from a 'Loaded Question' scenario. Before you answer the question of does Bordeaux need 20 years of aging to drink well, you have to ask yourself what the question itself means. What does drinking well mean TO YOU? If you like to drink your Bordeaux young and at release, you may want to drink a 'modern' (the definition is clearly up in the air there as well) Bordeaux. If you like to drink your wines at age 10, when they are still primary you can drink either probably, and maybe with an edge towards 'modern'. If you think drinking well means tertiary aromas, than 20 years isn't enough for any Bordeaux no matter what style it is.
I just had a wonderful Lascombs from the 60s out of a half bottle no less. I am starting to think that I really only like Bordeaux when it is 40+ years old. Even if a Bordeaux is 'drinking well' at age 20, it doesn't have what I want out of a Bordeaux. So it may be open and lovely, but is not drinking well for me. So I think you need to figure out how you like your wines first, and then go from there.
I really dislike a lot of modern Bordeaux when young. Then, the oak really is offensive. For me, if I want a younger Bordeaux, I would rather have a Cru Bourgeois.
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#75 Post by brodie thomson » June 7th, 2019, 5:11 pm

BobH wrote:
June 7th, 2019, 7:19 am
I am starting to think that I really only like Bordeaux when it is 40+ years old. Even if a Bordeaux is 'drinking well' at age 20, it doesn't have what I want out of a Bordeaux. So it may be open and lovely, but is not drinking well for me.
Thanks Bob for saying exactly how I feel! All my peak bdx experiences have come from older bottles - between 35 and 90 years old. The older the better in general for most classed growths on most vintages (with some exceptions). With enough age the good ones become something magical and special.

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

#76 Post by BobH » June 7th, 2019, 5:34 pm

brodie thomson wrote:
June 7th, 2019, 5:11 pm
BobH wrote:
June 7th, 2019, 7:19 am
I am starting to think that I really only like Bordeaux when it is 40+ years old. Even if a Bordeaux is 'drinking well' at age 20, it doesn't have what I want out of a Bordeaux. So it may be open and lovely, but is not drinking well for me.
Thanks Bob for saying exactly how I feel! All my peak bdx experiences have come from older bottles - between 35 and 90 years old. The older the better in general for most classed growths on most vintages (with some exceptions). With enough age the good ones become something magical and special.

Brodie
Absolutely. My point as that everyone has a different definition of drinking well, and you have to establish what that is for your tastes. Critics like Jeb Dunnuck will tell us when a wine is open and ready in general. But that does not mean it is open and ready FOR ME.
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#77 Post by Keith Levenberg » June 7th, 2019, 5:49 pm

2000s still taste very young for the most part, even primary, but they're enjoyable and not closed. 2005/2009/2010 also young, but generally closed and not enjoyable in my book.

I don't remember which of these vintages had stupid people saying, "such wonderful ripe fruit! Won't ever close!" - well, there is always someone who says that and the wines don't pay attention and always close anyway. Some for longer than others.

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

#78 Post by Sc0tt F!tzger@ld » June 7th, 2019, 5:59 pm

Provocative NYT article from 1987...
WINE; A MUSTY MYTH
THE ONLY THING HARDER than getting people to accept a good idea is getting them to abandon a bad one. A relevant example: the almost universal reverence for old wines.

Let's suppose for a moment that we're eavesdropping on a small gathering of wine connoisseurs. A lot of good food has been eaten and good wine drunk, and now it is time for the high point of the evening, the opening and tasting of a rare old bottle. For sake of argument, we'll say it's a 1945 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild. It could as well have been a 1958 Beaulieu Vineyards Private Reserve or some Burgundy of equally impressive age and lineage.

The wine is opened. Tension mounts. There is sniffing, swirling and, finally, tasting. Affirmative nods follow; also appreciative murmurs and ecstatic sighs. The wine, we conclude, is terrific. But wait; listen to what these sages have to say: ''Fantastic; tastes like a young wine!,'' or ''It's still full of life,'' and ''It's got the color of a wine bottled last year!''

What they are saying, what they are exclaiming over, in effect, is that the wine, in spite of its great age, still displays some of the charm of its youth. The inescapable conclusion: If youthfulness is such an asset, why all the fuss over age?

It is a bit more complicated than that, of course. A truly great old wine combines the subtlety of age with the freshness of youth, taking care to see that the latter does not overwhelm the former. But a lot of old wines are not truly great. They are just old. Which means they are brown in color, musty in the nose and taste like dried leaves. To a dedicated expert, perhaps, these wines have some information, some arcane pleasure to impart. Like listening to a French tenor on a 1910 wax cylinder. For most of us, old wines are just something to be able to say we've had.

The wine trade, unfortunately, works hard to foster the old-wine myth. Even inexpensive bottles are often pictured in beautiful wine cellars, surrounded by other wines hoary with age. Novelists and screenwriters dote on them. Thomas Mann wrote about the '28 Veuve Clicquot; James Bond said, ''Ah, the '69 Bollinger.'' Demimondaines order by vintage with not a clue as to what the wine is like. In fact, we all pull that trick once in a while. It's easier to memorize a few vintage numbers than to learn about the wine.

I'd hate to know how much money is spent by anxious hosts of a Saturday afternoon, buying a few bottles at the last minute and hoping some impressive-looking label dating from the Johnson Administration will complement the lamb and wow the guests. And guests rarely know any more about wine than their host. Those who do know that a simple, fairly inexpensive wine is often more fun to drink. Nothing is more irritating than having to praise a wine because the label is impressive. To people not well versed in wine, old wines rarely taste great.

There was a time when wines achieved great old age because it took them many years to become drinkable. A century ago, the wine-making process was still basically empirical. Vintners knew what was happening but not why. So, little could be done about controlling tannin and alcohol in wine. Tannins, which can take years to soften, more than anything determine the age of a wine. Today, wines are made to mature much more quickly and, consequently, to be drunk much younger.

The most famous red wines of Bordeaux, the Lafites and Latours and Margaux and Moutons, are made to last and there is no doubt that they get better as they get older. But even these rare and expensive wines usually reach their peak at around 10 years of age. Hundreds of lesser wines of the Bordeaux region are usually ready to drink in two or three years.

Some of the greatest Bordeaux wines, those from St.-Emilion and Pomerol, rarely mature as well as the best of the Medoc and Graves wines. Thirty-year-old Chateau Petrus, for example, the most famous of the Pomerols, is rarely the equal of a great Medoc of the same age. Some fine Burgundies will last for decades, but few of them will improve after 10 years in the bottle. Most good Burgundy is ready to drink, is at its peak, after five years.

California wines age, too; some of them quite well. Probably only a handful will achieve great old age and remain drinkable. It's too early to tell. There aren't that many wineries more than 15 years old and most wine makers make modest claims for their first three or four vintages.

Perhaps the collecting and drinking of old wines should be seen as a pastime apart from the fundamental enjoyment of wine. But no one who seeks to enjoy wine as part of everyday life should be too concerned with antiquity. There is too much good wine around, from last year's Beaujolais to the year before's zinfandel to the Burgundies of two years before that.

These are the wines that are available now, that are meant to be enjoyed now and replaced by other wines tomorrow. Rare old wines have their place, but probably not at the dinner table tonight. Rare old books are beautiful to behold; but they don't have much to do with reading.

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

#79 Post by brodie thomson » June 7th, 2019, 6:21 pm

Sc0tt F!tzger@ld wrote:
June 7th, 2019, 5:59 pm
The most famous red wines of Bordeaux, the Lafites and Latours and Margaux and Moutons, are made to last and there is no doubt that they get better as they get older. But even these rare and expensive wines usually reach their peak at around 10 years of age.

Some fine Burgundies will last for decades, but few of them will improve after 10 years in the bottle. Most good Burgundy is ready to drink, is at its peak, after five years.
[/quote]

Sorry this is not provocative, it is ill informed nonsense (well IMO anyway).
I think that the two bolded quotes demonstrate the author's ignorance and lack of relevant experience. I defy anyone who actually knows about Bdx 1st growths, has them in their cellar and actually drinks - to say that they peak at 10 years. Ditto for high quality red burgs being at peak after 5 years. [cheers.gif]

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

#80 Post by Sc0tt F!tzger@ld » June 7th, 2019, 6:51 pm

brodie thomson wrote:
June 7th, 2019, 6:21 pm
Sorry this is not provocative, it is ill informed nonsense (well IMO anyway).
I think that the two bolded quotes demonstrate the author's ignorance and lack of relevant experience. I defy anyone who actually knows about Bdx 1st growths, has them in their cellar and actually drinks - to say that they peak at 10 years. Ditto for high quality red burgs being at peak after 5 years. [cheers.gif]
Taste is a very personal thing.

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

#81 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m » June 7th, 2019, 7:15 pm

Marcu$ Stanley wrote:
June 7th, 2019, 1:27 pm
I had the 2000 Pichon Baron a month or two ago and it was fantastic. Stored since release at 55 degrees, just emerging from its shell, lots of primary fruit and at the front edge of what will be a very long drinking window. My quick notes were:


"A wow wine right out of the bottle, no decanting -- on the nose, violets, perfume, some incense, grape sorbet, but also a
meaty edge that adds complexity. Not quite as ready on the palate where some tannin was evident and there was just a touch of tartness on the back end. But it was still delicious, with beautiful balance and rich midpalate depth combined with crispness and precision of fruit. Continued to open up throughout the night. This will be a great one for many years and is wonderful right now, especially if you like primary fruit".
In other words, it needs another 15+ years to hit sublime magic, right?
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#82 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m » June 7th, 2019, 7:21 pm

brodie thomson wrote:
June 7th, 2019, 6:21 pm
Sc0tt F!tzger@ld wrote:
June 7th, 2019, 5:59 pm
The most famous red wines of Bordeaux, the Lafites and Latours and Margaux and Moutons, are made to last and there is no doubt that they get better as they get older. But even these rare and expensive wines usually reach their peak at around 10 years of age.

Some fine Burgundies will last for decades, but few of them will improve after 10 years in the bottle. Most good Burgundy is ready to drink, is at its peak, after five years.
Sorry this is not provocative, it is ill informed nonsense (well IMO anyway).
I think that the two bolded quotes demonstrate the author's ignorance and lack of relevant experience. I defy anyone who actually knows about Bdx 1st growths, has them in their cellar and actually drinks - to say that they peak at 10 years. Ditto for high quality red burgs being at peak after 5 years. [cheers.gif]
[/quote]

The first statement you put in bold is exactly where I stopped reading the article. Pure ridiculousness.
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#83 Post by brodie thomson » June 7th, 2019, 7:25 pm

Sc0tt F!tzger@ld wrote:
June 7th, 2019, 6:51 pm
brodie thomson wrote:
June 7th, 2019, 6:21 pm
Sorry this is not provocative, it is ill informed nonsense (well IMO anyway).
I think that the two bolded quotes demonstrate the author's ignorance and lack of relevant experience. I defy anyone who actually knows about Bdx 1st growths, has them in their cellar and actually drinks - to say that they peak at 10 years. Ditto for high quality red burgs being at peak after 5 years. [cheers.gif]
Taste is a very personal thing.
Scott, of course taste is personal, no question. But that is not what I was implying; I was saying that I think his opinion would not match the vast majority of tasters who drink these wines.

Can I interpret your reply to mean you agree with the author and that you drink all your first growths at 10 years and all your grand cru burgs at 5 years? I am curious about your personal experience on these matters, rather than some author's opinion (which you already know my views on that)

brodie

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

#84 Post by Sc0tt F!tzger@ld » June 7th, 2019, 7:39 pm

brodie thomson wrote:
June 7th, 2019, 7:25 pm
Sc0tt F!tzger@ld wrote:
June 7th, 2019, 6:51 pm
brodie thomson wrote:
June 7th, 2019, 6:21 pm
Sorry this is not provocative, it is ill informed nonsense (well IMO anyway).
I think that the two bolded quotes demonstrate the author's ignorance and lack of relevant experience. I defy anyone who actually knows about Bdx 1st growths, has them in their cellar and actually drinks - to say that they peak at 10 years. Ditto for high quality red burgs being at peak after 5 years. [cheers.gif]
Taste is a very personal thing.
Scott, of course taste is personal, no question. But that is not what I was implying; I was saying that I think his opinion would not match the vast majority of tasters who drink these wines.

Can I interpret your reply to mean you agree with the author and that you drink all your first growths at 10 years and all your grand cru burgs at 5 years? I am curious about your personal experience on these matters, rather than some author's opinion (which you already know my views on that)

brodie
I don’t necessarily agree and have had some amazing 30+ year old Bordeaux. But I’ve also had some very nice wines at the 10 year mark (admittedly not first growths). I do find it curious that if you look at CT scores on top chateaus, they’re relatively consistent year over year. For example, 1995 Haut-Brion scoring mid 90s in 2002 and still mid 90s in 2019. Different but equally great?

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

#85 Post by Josh Grossman » June 7th, 2019, 8:32 pm

In honor of this thread, we opened a 2005 Château Lassègue and a 2005 Château Vignot tonight. Neither had much secondary development, were a bit boring/foursquare, but did pick up plum, coffee bean, pencil graphite, and some firm grainy tannins; more in the Vignot. There are no noticeable notes of fennel/anise/or baking spices, so that's good. It would age longer, and the tannins might get finer--but a solid meh. For my money, I much prefer Loire for Cab Franc. This is better, cheaper, and will age longer: https://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp? ... b3d99c5394

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

#86 Post by Howard Cooper » June 7th, 2019, 8:42 pm

Sc0tt F!tzger@ld wrote:
June 7th, 2019, 5:59 pm
Provocative NYT article from 1987...
WINE; A MUSTY MYTH
THE ONLY THING HARDER than getting people to accept a good idea is getting them to abandon a bad one. A relevant example: the almost universal reverence for old wines.

Let's suppose for a moment that we're eavesdropping on a small gathering of wine connoisseurs. A lot of good food has been eaten and good wine drunk, and now it is time for the high point of the evening, the opening and tasting of a rare old bottle. For sake of argument, we'll say it's a 1945 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild. It could as well have been a 1958 Beaulieu Vineyards Private Reserve or some Burgundy of equally impressive age and lineage.

The wine is opened. Tension mounts. There is sniffing, swirling and, finally, tasting. Affirmative nods follow; also appreciative murmurs and ecstatic sighs. The wine, we conclude, is terrific. But wait; listen to what these sages have to say: ''Fantastic; tastes like a young wine!,'' or ''It's still full of life,'' and ''It's got the color of a wine bottled last year!''

What they are saying, what they are exclaiming over, in effect, is that the wine, in spite of its great age, still displays some of the charm of its youth. The inescapable conclusion: If youthfulness is such an asset, why all the fuss over age?

It is a bit more complicated than that, of course. A truly great old wine combines the subtlety of age with the freshness of youth, taking care to see that the latter does not overwhelm the former. But a lot of old wines are not truly great. They are just old. Which means they are brown in color, musty in the nose and taste like dried leaves. To a dedicated expert, perhaps, these wines have some information, some arcane pleasure to impart. Like listening to a French tenor on a 1910 wax cylinder. For most of us, old wines are just something to be able to say we've had.

The wine trade, unfortunately, works hard to foster the old-wine myth. Even inexpensive bottles are often pictured in beautiful wine cellars, surrounded by other wines hoary with age. Novelists and screenwriters dote on them. Thomas Mann wrote about the '28 Veuve Clicquot; James Bond said, ''Ah, the '69 Bollinger.'' Demimondaines order by vintage with not a clue as to what the wine is like. In fact, we all pull that trick once in a while. It's easier to memorize a few vintage numbers than to learn about the wine.

I'd hate to know how much money is spent by anxious hosts of a Saturday afternoon, buying a few bottles at the last minute and hoping some impressive-looking label dating from the Johnson Administration will complement the lamb and wow the guests. And guests rarely know any more about wine than their host. Those who do know that a simple, fairly inexpensive wine is often more fun to drink. Nothing is more irritating than having to praise a wine because the label is impressive. To people not well versed in wine, old wines rarely taste great.

There was a time when wines achieved great old age because it took them many years to become drinkable. A century ago, the wine-making process was still basically empirical. Vintners knew what was happening but not why. So, little could be done about controlling tannin and alcohol in wine. Tannins, which can take years to soften, more than anything determine the age of a wine. Today, wines are made to mature much more quickly and, consequently, to be drunk much younger.

The most famous red wines of Bordeaux, the Lafites and Latours and Margaux and Moutons, are made to last and there is no doubt that they get better as they get older. But even these rare and expensive wines usually reach their peak at around 10 years of age. Hundreds of lesser wines of the Bordeaux region are usually ready to drink in two or three years.

Some of the greatest Bordeaux wines, those from St.-Emilion and Pomerol, rarely mature as well as the best of the Medoc and Graves wines. Thirty-year-old Chateau Petrus, for example, the most famous of the Pomerols, is rarely the equal of a great Medoc of the same age. Some fine Burgundies will last for decades, but few of them will improve after 10 years in the bottle. Most good Burgundy is ready to drink, is at its peak, after five years.

California wines age, too; some of them quite well. Probably only a handful will achieve great old age and remain drinkable. It's too early to tell. There aren't that many wineries more than 15 years old and most wine makers make modest claims for their first three or four vintages.

Perhaps the collecting and drinking of old wines should be seen as a pastime apart from the fundamental enjoyment of wine. But no one who seeks to enjoy wine as part of everyday life should be too concerned with antiquity. There is too much good wine around, from last year's Beaujolais to the year before's zinfandel to the Burgundies of two years before that.

These are the wines that are available now, that are meant to be enjoyed now and replaced by other wines tomorrow. Rare old wines have their place, but probably not at the dinner table tonight. Rare old books are beautiful to behold; but they don't have much to do with reading.
Was this written by Terry Robards? He is well known, among other things, for trashing 82 Bordeaux and saying they would not live to be 10 years old. I cannot remember whether he was still the wine writer then or whether he had already been fired.
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#87 Post by Neal.Mollen » June 7th, 2019, 8:45 pm

Howard Cooper wrote:
June 7th, 2019, 8:42 pm
Sc0tt F!tzger@ld wrote:
June 7th, 2019, 5:59 pm
Provocative NYT article from 1987...
WINE; A MUSTY MYTH
THE ONLY THING HARDER than getting people to accept a good idea is getting them to abandon a bad one. A relevant example: the almost universal reverence for old wines.

Let's suppose for a moment that we're eavesdropping on a small gathering of wine connoisseurs. A lot of good food has been eaten and good wine drunk, and now it is time for the high point of the evening, the opening and tasting of a rare old bottle. For sake of argument, we'll say it's a 1945 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild. It could as well have been a 1958 Beaulieu Vineyards Private Reserve or some Burgundy of equally impressive age and lineage.

The wine is opened. Tension mounts. There is sniffing, swirling and, finally, tasting. Affirmative nods follow; also appreciative murmurs and ecstatic sighs. The wine, we conclude, is terrific. But wait; listen to what these sages have to say: ''Fantastic; tastes like a young wine!,'' or ''It's still full of life,'' and ''It's got the color of a wine bottled last year!''

What they are saying, what they are exclaiming over, in effect, is that the wine, in spite of its great age, still displays some of the charm of its youth. The inescapable conclusion: If youthfulness is such an asset, why all the fuss over age?

It is a bit more complicated than that, of course. A truly great old wine combines the subtlety of age with the freshness of youth, taking care to see that the latter does not overwhelm the former. But a lot of old wines are not truly great. They are just old. Which means they are brown in color, musty in the nose and taste like dried leaves. To a dedicated expert, perhaps, these wines have some information, some arcane pleasure to impart. Like listening to a French tenor on a 1910 wax cylinder. For most of us, old wines are just something to be able to say we've had.

The wine trade, unfortunately, works hard to foster the old-wine myth. Even inexpensive bottles are often pictured in beautiful wine cellars, surrounded by other wines hoary with age. Novelists and screenwriters dote on them. Thomas Mann wrote about the '28 Veuve Clicquot; James Bond said, ''Ah, the '69 Bollinger.'' Demimondaines order by vintage with not a clue as to what the wine is like. In fact, we all pull that trick once in a while. It's easier to memorize a few vintage numbers than to learn about the wine.

I'd hate to know how much money is spent by anxious hosts of a Saturday afternoon, buying a few bottles at the last minute and hoping some impressive-looking label dating from the Johnson Administration will complement the lamb and wow the guests. And guests rarely know any more about wine than their host. Those who do know that a simple, fairly inexpensive wine is often more fun to drink. Nothing is more irritating than having to praise a wine because the label is impressive. To people not well versed in wine, old wines rarely taste great.

There was a time when wines achieved great old age because it took them many years to become drinkable. A century ago, the wine-making process was still basically empirical. Vintners knew what was happening but not why. So, little could be done about controlling tannin and alcohol in wine. Tannins, which can take years to soften, more than anything determine the age of a wine. Today, wines are made to mature much more quickly and, consequently, to be drunk much younger.

The most famous red wines of Bordeaux, the Lafites and Latours and Margaux and Moutons, are made to last and there is no doubt that they get better as they get older. But even these rare and expensive wines usually reach their peak at around 10 years of age. Hundreds of lesser wines of the Bordeaux region are usually ready to drink in two or three years.

Some of the greatest Bordeaux wines, those from St.-Emilion and Pomerol, rarely mature as well as the best of the Medoc and Graves wines. Thirty-year-old Chateau Petrus, for example, the most famous of the Pomerols, is rarely the equal of a great Medoc of the same age. Some fine Burgundies will last for decades, but few of them will improve after 10 years in the bottle. Most good Burgundy is ready to drink, is at its peak, after five years.

California wines age, too; some of them quite well. Probably only a handful will achieve great old age and remain drinkable. It's too early to tell. There aren't that many wineries more than 15 years old and most wine makers make modest claims for their first three or four vintages.

Perhaps the collecting and drinking of old wines should be seen as a pastime apart from the fundamental enjoyment of wine. But no one who seeks to enjoy wine as part of everyday life should be too concerned with antiquity. There is too much good wine around, from last year's Beaujolais to the year before's zinfandel to the Burgundies of two years before that.

These are the wines that are available now, that are meant to be enjoyed now and replaced by other wines tomorrow. Rare old wines have their place, but probably not at the dinner table tonight. Rare old books are beautiful to behold; but they don't have much to do with reading.
Was this written by Terry Robards? He is well known, among other things, for trashing 82 Bordeaux and saying they would not live to be 10 years old. I cannot remember whether he was still the wine writer then or whether he had already been fired.
Nope. Frank Prial. https://www.nytimes.com/1987/01/18/maga ... -myth.html
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#88 Post by GregT » June 7th, 2019, 8:58 pm

Well, he must have been seriously into a few bottles when he wrote that.

He was a little off in the ten year mark obviously, but his statement that there are plenty of wines to be consumed earlier is pretty much on the money and is probably even more true today.
I do find it curious that if you look at CT scores on top chateaus, they’re relatively consistent year over year. For example, 1995 Haut-Brion scoring mid 90s in 2002 and still mid 90s in 2019. Different but equally great?
No.

It's scoring by label. And maybe also without a lot of experience with the wine.

On the subject of oak, as Howard wonders, I think the level of toasting has a big impact on smell and taste.
And more! As far as oak goes, it's not only a matter of whether a wine was "oaked" or not so much as what was done with and to the oak. Where is it from? Most people only know French vs American, but even then there is more than one forest in each country and more than one species used in each country. And the forests aren't monoculture forests, sometimes with more or less of a particular species and the species interbreed. You can tell the parents apart by the leaves and the acorns but forests aren't necessarily harvested that way. And cold forests with harsh winters will produce trees with tighter grain and consequently more aromatics than forests that might be slightly warmer. Then how was the oak seasoned? Was it left out for a few years or hurried through the seasoning process? Was it left in the forests where it was harvested to obtain the same bacteria and other critters or was it seasoned somewhere else? Was it then toasted or not? And if it was, was it toasted really quickly or more slowly?

Then once you have all those issues settled and you get a barrel, you have the specific vineyard and the specific vintage to match it with. It becomes pretty complicated and I don't know how you do it other than have a lot of experience with the vineyard, the grapes, the forest, the cooper and everything else.
I had an episode at a blind tasting of 2000 Bordeaux where they were all tight and tannic. No one even identified them as Bordeaux and we thought perhaps Northern Rhône.
Glenn P - that might say more about your tasters than the wines!!
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#89 Post by Josh Grossman » June 7th, 2019, 8:59 pm

Neal.Mollen wrote:
June 7th, 2019, 8:45 pm
Nope. Frank Prial. https://www.nytimes.com/1987/01/18/maga ... -myth.html
The 1987 version of this:

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

#90 Post by Sc0tt F!tzger@ld » June 8th, 2019, 6:09 am

Okay, the 1987 NYT article was trash. Here’s a perspective which seems more aligned with the comments on this thread...
Bordeaux: the ageing process
Stephen Brook June 6, 2008
From birth through maturity to old age, STEPHEN BROOK investigates the life cycle of red Bordeaux and asks how to know when to open that prized bottle

For many wine lovers, the greatness of a red wine is largely defined by its capacity to age. And not just to age, but to age interestingly. For all their merits, Sauvignon Blanc or Beaujolais are essentially uniform and don’t gain much from ageing, barring them from the pantheon of great wines. As Hubert de Boüard of Château Angélus puts it: ‘A great wine is a film, not a snapshot.’

Many red wines develop complexity with age – Barolo, Burgundy, Bandol – but Bordeaux pulls off that particular trick more often than most. Ageability is the stuff of which connoisseurship is made. The old cellar books of former Oxford don Professor Saintsbury and his acolytes were exercises in comparisons of famous vintages; the merits of an 1870 could be played off against the charms of the 1875s. It’s the vinous equivalent of

an addiction to Wisden. You would need a chemist to explain precisely why a wine alters as it ages. Probably the most important element is the interaction of oxygen with the wine.

No doubt dry extract, mineral compounds, remaining bacteria in the wine, acidity and alcohol also play their subtle parts. Aromas as well as flavours change with age, and colour may shed its youthful purple robe in favour of a more mellow garnet. One might suppose that a healthy dose of press wine, with its more overt tannins, would also affect ageability,

but Anthony Barton of Château Léoville- Barton questions this. ‘When we prepare our blends, we find that the one with a little but not too much press wine is usually the best. But I don’t believe that the proportion of press wine affects longevity one way or the other.’ Bordeaux does not age uniformly. Any time one tastes a wine, it has made a further shift along its line of development. This is frustrating for guidance-hungry consumers when the same wine is rated differently by critics at various stages of its development. Moreover, subjective factors come into play. It is easy to underestimate – because it’s impossible to quantify – the impact of mood and temperature on tasting. The same row of wines tasted at 15˚C or 18˚C is highly likely to yield different results. Minor

impairments such as colds, jet-lag, bad temper and hangovers can alter one’s perception and appreciation. A claret first becomes available for assessment during the en primeur tastings (in the year following the vintage), when by definition the wine is only partly formed. Choose an analogy: it’s a sketch, a pre-teen, a child painted in adult clothing by Velázquez. A year or so later the wine is assembled, bottled and released, and ready for a fresh assessment. It’s an adult wine.

After that, endless variables come into play. Some clarets shut down after bottling,

sometimes for three years or more. This means their aromas become suppressed, and the fruit quality subdued. One senses the wine rather than enjoys or savours it. But other wines shine out radiantly for a few years after bottling – and then shut down. In a horizontal tasting across a particular vintage, some wines will be less expressive than wines tasted alongside them and, consequently, may be under appreciated. Much depends on the vintage.

De Boüard notes that the 2000 Angélus is only just beginning to emerge from its shell, whereas the 2001 and 2004 are already more accessible. ‘The bigger the vintage,’ recalls Barton, ‘the longer the shut-down period is likely to be. I remember the 1989 stayed closed for quite a few years. But some other good vintages such as 1985 didn’t shut down that much. And my uncle told me that the great 1929s, which were very long lived, drank well throughout the 1930s.’

Safe keeping

Once the wine is in bottle, storage becomes important. I recently had the privilege of

tasting some very old vintages of Yquem. The bottles came directly from the château, so the wines were at their very best. That is the exception rather than the rule. Valued wines, especially first growths, are traded. A mature Lafite bought at auction may have crossed many an ocean from merchant to customer and back again. Most red wines

are robust and can take a good deal of punishment, but even a mighty Latour might wilt after an ordeal by heat in a container ship en route for Shanghai.

All this supports the adage that there is no such thing as a great old wine, just a great old bottle. Once a wine has reached maturity, its survival becomes something of a lottery. Devotees of costly tastings of rare vintages know how frequently a pair of bottles of the same wine can differ enormously, usually as a consequence of storage or cork condition. As a Bordeaux ages it takes on certain characteristics. Essentially, primary fruit aromas and flavours retreat as more subtle, complex, secondary attributes emerge. Aromas of undergrowth or cedar would be typical of a mature or maturing claret; on the palate there may be a growing silkiness and harmony, as elements once separate – oak, acidity, fruit, tannin – start to integrate. Whether or not you like those secondary characteristics will define whether or not you are beguiled by older wines, especially as tones of leather and

game become more apparent. There is no law that states that an old, or mature, wine is ‘better’ than or preferable to a young, fruity wine. Wine lovers who admire the

vibrancy and attack of a young claret are entitled to that preference. Vintage also plays an enormous part in the ageing capacity of Bordeaux. A touch of herbaceousness was often part of the profile of a young claret. Full phenolic ripeness was rare, though global warming and more rigorous viticulture are now making it the rule rather than the exception. But in the past, when harvesting was less selective and the vagaries of an autumnal climate meant that there would usually be some varieties or vineyard blocks that would not ripen fully, a slight greenness was almost inevitable.

If discreet it could, to many palates, be an attractive feature of the wine. But in truly awful years that greenness, rather than adding complexity, suffocated the wine with vegetal aromas. Anyone who has had the misfortune of drinking a 1972 claret will know how unpleasant that can be. In such years, ageing the wine will do nothing to repair it. To age successfully, a Bordeaux must be from a good vintage and must be reasonably well balanced at the outset.

It is worth bearing in mind the saying of John Williams of Frog’s Leap estate in Napa:

‘Ugly young, ugly old.’ There’s a lot of truth in that. Some wines that are very oaky or very tannic in their youth may blossom, after a decade or two, into complex rather than merely oaky wines, nobly structured rather than merely tannic. It is, however, exceedingly difficult to predict whether a youthful imbalance will remedy itself with time, or become permanent disfigurement. The 1975 vintage was a case in point. The young wines were ferociously tannic. The trade mostly had confidence in them, acclaiming the vintage as a great one but saying that it simply required time for the tannins to soften. In a few cases, they did; La Mission Haut-Brion and Pétrus, for instance, are excellent

1975s. But most wines from that vintage remained tough as nails and never became

enjoyable. Many wines open up at a leisurely pace and then reach a kind of plateau, where they remain frozen in time for around 10 years, sometimes more, before beginning a gentle decline.

That is often the case with the best vintages. Lighter and less structured years, such as 1987, tend to mature more rapidly and then decline more rapidly.

Swinging to the Left

It is tempting to assume that Bordeaux from the Left Bank, especially the Médoc, will age better than wines from the Right. Some 19th-century Médocs are still enjoyable. Cabernet Sauvignon contributes tannin and backbone that will preserve a wine admirably whereas, it’s argued, the fleshier Merlot of St-Emilion and Pomerol gives less structure and thus less ageing capacity. By and large, I think this is true. Of course there are legendary vintages such as 1947 when the Right Bank produced remarkable wines that are still going strong, such as Cheval Blanc. But they tend to be exceptions. Pétrus, with its clay soil and firm

tannins, or wines such as Ausone or Cheval Blanc, with their significant proportion of Cabernet Franc, are not that typical of the Right Bank. Hubert de Boüard argues that Merlot-based wines can age well, but much depends on soils, the age of the vines and vinification. ‘The wines need to be structured, and some fashionably overripe, jammy wines can have low acidity and little structure. In my experience, after 10 years or so, these wines generally lack staying power.’

Every winemaker, and many a wine writer, is often asked when is the ‘right’ moment to drink a particular bottle. The answer is that there is no such thing. If you have three bottles of a fine Bordeaux from the same year, chances are you will drink the first too young, the second at a moment when it gives great pleasure, and the third when it is in decline. But those moments can only be defined by personal taste. My moment of perfection may not be the same as yours, and vice versa. It is entirely legitimate to enjoy a great wine in its virile, imposing youth. It is equally legitimate to enjoy it during its mellow middle age – at, say, 20 years. After 30 years, the risk factor increases significantly. The chances of a wine, however great the property or vintage, being faulty are far greater at, say, 40 or 50 years. Oxidation, cork taint, poor storage, different bottlings (château bottling was the exception rather than the rule until the 1960s or beyond) can all gang up to mug a wine’s evolution. Opening a venerable bottle, especially one acquired at great expense, is an act of faith not always rewarded. I recall watching a duff bottle of 1953 Château Margaux being tipped

down the sink. Only those with unlimited means or a gambler’s instinct should collect venerable bottles. Some wine merchants and specialists organise vertical tastings that

often include wines from the 19th century or 1920s. These events don’t come cheap but they offer an opportunity to taste legendary vintages for less than the price of a single bottle. For wines from good, if not stellar, vintages such as 1978, 1985, 1988 and 1995, there are rich pickings at auction houses, with prices often lower than the grossly inflated prices of some

modern vintages.

Written by Stephen Brook

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

#91 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » June 8th, 2019, 6:31 am

Sc0tt F!tzger@ld wrote:
June 8th, 2019, 6:09 am
Okay, the 1987 NYT article was trash. Here’s a perspective which seems more aligned with the comments on this thread...
Bordeaux: the ageing process
Stephen Brook June 6, 2008
From birth through maturity to old age, STEPHEN BROOK investigates the life cycle of red Bordeaux and asks how to know when to open that prized bottle

For many wine lovers, [1] the greatness of a red wine is largely defined by its capacity to age. And not just to age, but to age interestingly. [2] For all their merits, Sauvignon Blanc or Beaujolais are essentially uniform and don’t gain much from ageing, barring them from the pantheon of great wines. As Hubert de Boüard of Château Angélus puts it: ‘A great wine is a film, not a snapshot.’

Written by Stephen Brook
Ha, except that I stopped reading after the first two erroneous comments at the beginning.

I was actually going to to use Beaujolais to debunk the first point, but then he uses it as the prime example of his point. Beaujolais can be great both young and with maturity. I love them fresh, but to say they do not age, is flat out stupid. Some demand aging: Roilette, for example. I have quite a lot of Beaujolais in my “cellar” that is sitting at 10+ years of age and some still need time. I’ve had some Beaujolais from Bern’s that are 25+ years old. They do indeed develop additional layers of complexity with age. And then to say Sav Blanc doesn’t age, either, suggests to me that this author’s prime experience with the grape is limited to NZ. Um, the great Sav Blancs from Loire and Bordeaux age beautifully, and like their red siblings, do indeed evolve with additional layers of complexities, aromas and tastes.

I did not read any further.

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

#92 Post by Pat Martin » June 8th, 2019, 7:14 am

I concur, counselor.

IMHO, there are hardly any red varietals that don’t improve with 10+ years (the usual caveats apply: good producers, good to excellent vintages)

What are those? Maybe Dolcetto?
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#93 Post by Sc0tt F!tzger@ld » June 8th, 2019, 10:43 am

I agree with both your points on those two wines. Maybe he meant aging in the context of Bdx (20-30+ years)? Oh well, I’m done quoting articles.

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

#94 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » June 8th, 2019, 10:50 am

Sc0tt F!tzger@ld wrote:
June 8th, 2019, 10:43 am
I agree with both your points on those two wines. Maybe he meant aging in the context of Bdx (20-30+ years)? Oh well, I’m done quoting articles.
Please don’t. We need content to satiate our inner-pedants! champagne.gif

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

#95 Post by Jeb Dunnuck » June 9th, 2019, 6:34 am

Keith Levenberg wrote:
June 6th, 2019, 8:20 am
Scott McDonald wrote:
June 4th, 2019, 6:00 pm
About a month ago Jeb Dunnuck wrote:

Screenshot_20190511-230825_Messages.jpg
Sorry, I'm new here... are you telling me people actually pay for this kind of misinformation?

I had a 1928 Bordeaux last night and can assure all concerned that it isn't remotely the same experience as a young wine made with "riper" or "more uniform" fruit...
Ha, getting shade from Levenberg.. almost like the good old days on the Parker board. [cheers.gif] As I said, it’s an uphill battle. I’d wager some good old fashion blind and double-blind tasting might at least loosen some of these firmly held positions on vintages and what's drinking well (or not). Nevertheless, when to drink wines is unquestionably subjective (for perspective, the 2011s are now being poured in mass at restaurants in Bordeaux) and people should drink their wines when they want. To be clear, nowhere have I suggested drinking old wines is the same as drinking younger wines (I'd argue it's not always better... or worse), peddled in misinformation, or suggested Bordeaux should be Napa. Drink on...
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#96 Post by Jeb Dunnuck » June 9th, 2019, 6:39 am

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
June 8th, 2019, 6:31 am
Sc0tt F!tzger@ld wrote:
June 8th, 2019, 6:09 am
Okay, the 1987 NYT article was trash. Here’s a perspective which seems more aligned with the comments on this thread...
Bordeaux: the ageing process
Stephen Brook June 6, 2008
...I’ve had some Beaujolais from Bern’s that are 25+ years old...
Dude, don't use Bern's as a reference point for drink windows... that place is like the twilight zone where time stops!
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Re: Does Modern Bdx Need 20-Years of Aging to Drink Well?

#97 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » June 9th, 2019, 6:53 am

Jeb Dunnuck wrote:
June 9th, 2019, 6:39 am
Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
June 8th, 2019, 6:31 am
Sc0tt F!tzger@ld wrote:
June 8th, 2019, 6:09 am
Okay, the 1987 NYT article was trash. Here’s a perspective which seems more aligned with the comments on this thread...

...I’ve had some Beaujolais from Bern’s that are 25+ years old...
Dude, don't use Bern's as a reference point for drink windows... that place is like the twilight zone where time stops!
Haha, fair enough! But you might be surprised! And I wish Berns, as often as I go there, could slow my aging.

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

#98 Post by Howard Cooper » June 9th, 2019, 11:38 am

Jeb Dunnuck wrote:
June 9th, 2019, 6:34 am
Nevertheless, when to drink wines is unquestionably subjective (for perspective, the 2011s are now being poured in mass at restaurants in Bordeaux)
Restaurants in the US are probably pouring 2015s - I would not say in mass as I doubt Bordeaux is poured that often anymore at restaurants in the US. Is it common for you to see a correlation between what restaurants are pouring and what is mature because that has not been common in my experience?
Howard

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

#99 Post by GregT » June 9th, 2019, 11:52 am

But Alfert is right - even Beaujolais from my own cellar ages quite nicely. And I'm sorry but if you're going to talk about aging wine that transforms into something magnificent that could not have existed young and you don't mention Tempranillo at all, the article isn't worth reading.

BTW - from lots of tasting both blind and double blind.

But - if anyone is up for it . . .
G . T a t a r

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

#100 Post by David Glasser » June 9th, 2019, 2:46 pm

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
June 9th, 2019, 6:53 am
Jeb Dunnuck wrote:
June 9th, 2019, 6:39 am
Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
June 8th, 2019, 6:31 am


...I’ve had some Beaujolais from Bern’s that are 25+ years old...
Dude, don't use Bern's as a reference point for drink windows... that place is like the twilight zone where time stops!
Haha, fair enough! But you might be surprised! And I wish Berns, as often as I go there, could slow my aging.
You just need to spend more time in their cellars. Do they have Ted Williams' head in there?

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