Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

Tasting notes, varietals, grapes - anything related to wine
Message
Author
User avatar
Howard Cooper
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 18566
Joined: May 30th, 2009, 8:37 am
Location: Rockville, MD

Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#1 Post by Howard Cooper » September 23rd, 2019, 3:59 pm

Was at a friend's house Saturday night and had four what I would call excellent older Bordeauxs - 1979s and 1989s from Cos d'Estournal and Pichon Lalande. However, I did not find any of these wines thrilling and I have really enjoyed the 1979 Pichon Lalande in the past. This seems to be a continual theme for me this year. I am drinking classic Bordeaux from the 1970s and 1980s and, while I am enjoying them, I don't find them as thrilling as I would have hoped. They seem to lack a certain distinctiveness from each other that I found in the wines a few years ago.

I am thinking I should be opening more of my 15-20 year old Bordeauxs instead of older wines (with some exceptions). Thoughts.

Now I will get myself in trouble. The WOTN was a 1999 d'Angerville Volnay Taillepieds.
Howard

"That's what I do. I drink and I know things." Tyrion Lannister

User avatar
K John Joseph
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 7739
Joined: June 8th, 2011, 11:55 am
Location: Dallas

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#2 Post by K John Joseph » September 23rd, 2019, 4:07 pm

Mixed bag on this. When they're oldish and they're on, they're wonderful. But I've had much more consistent results at 20-25 than at 30-40. I also think things are trending to being more accessible young. So
J0hn-J-K4ne

User avatar
Paul Jaouen
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 4289
Joined: January 30th, 2009, 12:48 pm

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#3 Post by Paul Jaouen » September 23rd, 2019, 4:26 pm

Maybe you shouldn’t be drinking Bordeaux at all. I still enjoy them but I mostly reach for burgundy these days
Best,
Paul Jaouen

User avatar
Howard Cooper
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 18566
Joined: May 30th, 2009, 8:37 am
Location: Rockville, MD

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#4 Post by Howard Cooper » September 23rd, 2019, 4:44 pm

Paul Jaouen wrote:
September 23rd, 2019, 4:26 pm
Maybe you shouldn’t be drinking Bordeaux at all. I still enjoy them but I mostly reach for burgundy these days
I drink about 10 Burgundies to each bottle of Bordeaux, but historically I have enjoyed some diversification.
Howard

"That's what I do. I drink and I know things." Tyrion Lannister

User avatar
Robert.A.Jr.
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 23117
Joined: January 28th, 2010, 5:03 am
Location: Orlando, Florida

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#5 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » September 23rd, 2019, 5:17 pm

A bit of an odd post from my end considering that, IMHO, you are one of the most sophisticated wine palates and thinkers on this site. I assume this is not related to palate aging as your affinity for complex Burgs appear in tact. Perhaps bottles that were just not singing, perhaps it really is that you prefer Bordeaux in that 15-25 year window, who knows. There is no doubt, Bordeaux over 25 years when you are getting deep into ancillary characteristic, or even wines on the back-slope of their evolution, appeal to some and not to others. I wonder, too, if sometimes we go through these cycles where something is just off. I’ve had some recent misses on some wines that should hit, but tonight, I’m drooling over a killer 2017 Beaujolais.

"@lf3rt was clearly raised in an outhouse in the Loire. . . ."

Kenny H (circa 2015)

User avatar
Mattstolz
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 1851
Joined: June 26th, 2017, 7:46 pm
Location: South Carolina

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#6 Post by Mattstolz » September 23rd, 2019, 5:36 pm

I think in that 30+ year old range the adage of "no good wines only good bottles" really starts to separate out those stellar bottles from pretty much everything else, and that difference between the top 2% and the other 98 really starts to open up. personally, its made me think the same as you... maybe I lean towards 25ish years instead of 35.

User avatar
Ian S
Posts: 514
Joined: January 29th, 2019, 11:51 am

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#7 Post by Ian S » September 23rd, 2019, 5:55 pm

Howard Cooper wrote:
September 23rd, 2019, 3:59 pm
Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?
S t 1 g 0 m a n

Alan Eden - Berserker [berserker.gif] and Master Pot Stirrer [stirthepothal.gif] forever!

User avatar
NoahR
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 2420
Joined: December 1st, 2013, 1:07 pm

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#8 Post by NoahR » September 23rd, 2019, 6:12 pm

If it makes you feel better, most of the 1982’s I’ve had have been tired and underwhelming. But a recent slew of 89’s were all too young to me.

Howard: I suggest you only drink 86!
Noah Raizman
Washington, DC

User avatar
Pat Martin
Posts: 2747
Joined: May 22nd, 2011, 11:38 pm

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#9 Post by Pat Martin » September 23rd, 2019, 6:41 pm

Noah, I agree that the top 40 or so bottles of claret from 1989 (and the top 25-30 from 1990) are not yet at peak. For all but a few wines, the 1982s-1988s (including the 86s which still have firm tannins but are fully blossomed IMHO) have been at peak for a while and some have definitely started to fade in the last 5 years or so. Storage is so key for wines this old and older of course.
P@ tr!ck M 8rt!n

Subu Ramachandran
Posts: 815
Joined: May 3rd, 2017, 1:16 pm
Location: NYC

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#10 Post by Subu Ramachandran » September 24th, 2019, 12:56 am

Howard, perhaps combination of changing palate and the wines getting tired. Glad to hear the 99s from d'Angerville are open now.

User avatar
Robert.A.Jr.
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 23117
Joined: January 28th, 2010, 5:03 am
Location: Orlando, Florida

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#11 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » September 24th, 2019, 3:41 am

Mattstolz wrote:
September 23rd, 2019, 5:36 pm
I think in that 30+ year old range the adage of "no good wines only good bottles" really starts to separate out those stellar bottles from pretty much everything else, and that difference between the top 2% and the other 98 really starts to open up. personally, its made me think the same as you... maybe I lean towards 25ish years instead of 35.

So true, and then you have one of those good - nay, great - bottles with 40+ years, and it refocuses your opinion about them. Some can be so glorious. Have recently had show-stoppers from 1973 Latour, 1966 Magdelaine, and just last month, 1969 Mayacamas.

"@lf3rt was clearly raised in an outhouse in the Loire. . . ."

Kenny H (circa 2015)

PCLIN
Posts: 1471
Joined: August 3rd, 2013, 9:45 am

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#12 Post by PCLIN » September 24th, 2019, 4:36 am

Nah...just had a wonderful ‘62 Latour today.
Chiu Lin

User avatar
Howard Cooper
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 18566
Joined: May 30th, 2009, 8:37 am
Location: Rockville, MD

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#13 Post by Howard Cooper » September 24th, 2019, 4:45 am

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
September 23rd, 2019, 5:17 pm
A bit of an odd post from my end considering that, IMHO, you are one of the most sophisticated wine palates and thinkers on this site. I assume this is not related to palate aging as your affinity for complex Burgs appear in tact. Perhaps bottles that were just not singing, perhaps it really is that you prefer Bordeaux in that 15-25 year window, who knows. There is no doubt, Bordeaux over 25 years when you are getting deep into ancillary characteristic, or even wines on the back-slope of their evolution, appeal to some and not to others. I wonder, too, if sometimes we go through these cycles where something is just off. I’ve had some recent misses on some wines that should hit, but tonight, I’m drooling over a killer 2017 Beaujolais.
Robert,

Thank you for the kind words. When you use the words "Perhaps bottles that were just not singing" you are saying what I am trying to figure out. Is it me (either fading palate, preference for more fruit, etc.) or them (the wines). Certainly, there are older Bordeauxs that I have had over the last few years that I have thought were fabulous including 1959 Latour, 1970 Lynch Bages, 1982 and 1985 Leoville las Cases, 1982 Ducru and others, but I have now attended at least three dinners in the last year where I did not like wines from the 1970s and 1980s as much as others I have dined with. I sense that the wines have lost some vibrancy and have not made up for it with additional complexity and that they taste too much alike (not entirely alike, but not enough diversity for my tastes - I learned from David Schildknecht as a younger wine drinker that wines of distinction are wines of distinctiveness. I wanted to check this out a bit Saturday night by bringing a 1989 Domaine de Chevalier to get away from Pauillac/St. Estephe and try to add a bit of diversity to the dinner but others wanted me to bring the 1989 Cos for symmetry. I really don't know whether I am losing a bit of my ability to taste nuance (if so, why does it show up only in Bordeaux and not in Burgundy or even California Cabs) or whether these friends (also long-time wine drinkers really with palates similar to mine - i.e., Burgundy (esp. Truchot) freaks) are somewhat drinking labels. As I said, I am finding the wines (and one of the tastings was a vertical of Chateau Margaux from the 80s (admittedly, not my favorite of the first growths)) excellent but not thrilling.

Interestingly enough, at a mini-vertical of Ridge Montebello not too long ago, it was the oldest wine of the three we had that I liked the most. We had a 2009 (still very primary and marked by oak-dill flavors), 1999 (more mature but still a hint of the dill) and 1993 (oak had fully integrated and wine was fabulous).

If I had to guess, what I am finding is a combination of the following (1) whereas there are a lot of thrilling wines at 15-25 years in Bordeaux, there are a lot fewer at 30-40 years old and that, while those are the ones that are mind-blowing experiences, you just don't get that with most wines (i.e., there is a reason that wines like 1959 Latour are so prized); (2) Burgundies are just more complex than are most Bordeauxs and while most people like body in wines more than complexity, I am the opposite; and (3) maybe my palate is fading a bit (but then why does it not impact my enjoyment of Burgundies (for example, I had a 1966 Pierre et Jean Baptiste Lebreuil Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Cru Les Serpentières that I love) or even of whites like German Rieslings, white Burgundies (although I don't drink these that old anymore) and Champagne (where among my top ten wines of the year this year are 1996 Taittinger CdC blanc and rose).
Howard

"That's what I do. I drink and I know things." Tyrion Lannister

User avatar
Howard Cooper
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 18566
Joined: May 30th, 2009, 8:37 am
Location: Rockville, MD

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#14 Post by Howard Cooper » September 24th, 2019, 5:02 am

Subu Ramachandran wrote:
September 24th, 2019, 12:56 am
Glad to hear the 99s from d'Angerville are open now.
Open, wonderful, but still a bit young. And, I cannot comment on all his 1999s, just the one I had.

More generally, I have had a few 1999s lately and they really are confirming that 1999 is a great vintage.
Howard

"That's what I do. I drink and I know things." Tyrion Lannister

User avatar
Howard Cooper
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 18566
Joined: May 30th, 2009, 8:37 am
Location: Rockville, MD

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#15 Post by Howard Cooper » September 24th, 2019, 5:04 am

PCLIN wrote:
September 24th, 2019, 4:36 am
Nah...just had a wonderful ‘62 Latour today.
One wine (and a Latour, which has the reputation (deservedly so IMHO) of being the longest lived wine in Bordeaux) proves exactly what?
Howard

"That's what I do. I drink and I know things." Tyrion Lannister

PCLIN
Posts: 1471
Joined: August 3rd, 2013, 9:45 am

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#16 Post by PCLIN » September 24th, 2019, 5:16 am

‘66 Beychevelle is drinking great too, nowhere near first growth pricing or reputation.
Chiu Lin

User avatar
Carlos Delpin
Posts: 1886
Joined: June 13th, 2012, 3:22 am
Location: San Juan, Puerto Rico

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#17 Post by Carlos Delpin » September 24th, 2019, 5:27 am

For my palate Bordeaux can be enjoyed at various stages except young. Over the past month I’ve experienced the following bottles.

At Troquet in Boston we had a 1966 Gruaud Larose and 1976 and 1978 Mouton which showcased the nuances and complexities of mature Bordeaux. All of these wines developed in the glass over more than 2 hours. Would every wine drinker appreciate equally this experience? Doubt it. Drinking mature wine is not everybody’s cup of tea.

At a Saturday tasting group table we had a nice cross section of super seconds from the 85, 86 and 88 vintages. A bit more power and structure present but fruit levels were still high and very forward. This is the sweet spot for me. The balance of sweet fruit with secondary characteristics provides for me the best balance of intelectual and sensual pleasure.

Dinner last week presented the opportunity to experience a few super seconds from the 95, 96 and 98 vintages. This is a completely different wine experience. Too much power and concentration and the volume obfuscates the message inside the bottle. Some people loved them but all I could think about was unfulfilled promises.

To each his own and only experience can dictate the individual sweet spots for each drinker. For me I do not even look at my good or great vintage Bordeaux bottles until they turn 30. There are plenty of other vintages ready to drink younger such as 93, 94, 97.

Bordeaux, tojours Bordeaux...

User avatar
David Glasser
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 7390
Joined: August 16th, 2009, 6:03 pm
Location: Maryland

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#18 Post by David Glasser » September 24th, 2019, 5:43 am

For my palate, the highs are higher but less frequent as you go from 20-25 years to 30-35 years.

Jürgen Steinke
Posts: 1195
Joined: September 30th, 2009, 6:28 am

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#19 Post by Jürgen Steinke » September 24th, 2019, 5:55 am

I think the older wines get the more bottle variation plays a role. It would not be the first time that some old bottles from the same case are overwhelmingly good while others are just ok. Furthermore the age of wines is often more respected as it should be. One of the very best experiences with Bordeaux I ever had (and I had many) was a bottle of 1989 La Mission Haut Brion when the wine was almost a baby, only 10 years old. This specific bottle made me speechless. It was so good that I almost forgot eating my main dish in a Michelin starred restaurant. I had the same wine at other occasions but no bottle came close.

BTW: I drink my Bordeaux younger these days too. Because I made the experience that it is better too drink a good wine a tad too young then too old. And btw.: With the beginning of a certain age many wine lovers prefer Burgundy over Bordeaux. I drink more Burgundy these days than 15 years ago. Thats a typical development for a wine lover. So maybe the wine has not changed that much but the palate did.

User avatar
Howard Cooper
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 18566
Joined: May 30th, 2009, 8:37 am
Location: Rockville, MD

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#20 Post by Howard Cooper » September 24th, 2019, 6:38 am

David Glasser wrote:
September 24th, 2019, 5:43 am
For my palate, the highs are higher but less frequent as you go from 20-25 years to 30-35 years.
I think this is a big part of it. Also, I think that very few Bordeauxs ever get the complexity of a really good Burgundy, so that I may be looking for something else in most Bordeauxs. It may just be that waiting the extra 10 years means you lose fruit and never get sufficient complexity (in most cases) to compensate it, esp. in comparison to what I am used to.
Howard

"That's what I do. I drink and I know things." Tyrion Lannister

User avatar
Howard Cooper
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 18566
Joined: May 30th, 2009, 8:37 am
Location: Rockville, MD

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#21 Post by Howard Cooper » September 24th, 2019, 6:41 am

Jürgen Steinke wrote:
September 24th, 2019, 5:55 am


BTW: I drink my Bordeaux younger these days too. Because I made the experience that it is better too drink a good wine a tad too young then too old. And btw.: With the beginning of a certain age many wine lovers prefer Burgundy over Bordeaux. I drink more Burgundy these days than 15 years ago. Thats a typical development for a wine lover. So maybe the wine has not changed that much but the palate did.
I have preferred Burgundy over Bordeaux since near the beginning of drinking fine wines. For example, I have visited Burgundy seven times and Bordeaux once.

But, I have generally found Bordeaux to be a wonderful change of pace for me because I don't want to drink the same thing over and over and I have always been a Bordeaux fan as well.
Howard

"That's what I do. I drink and I know things." Tyrion Lannister

User avatar
Keith Levenberg
Posts: 5495
Joined: June 6th, 2009, 3:11 pm
Location: Washington, D.C.

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#22 Post by Keith Levenberg » September 24th, 2019, 7:41 am

Howard Cooper wrote:
September 24th, 2019, 5:04 am
PCLIN wrote:
September 24th, 2019, 4:36 am
Nah...just had a wonderful ‘62 Latour today.
One wine (and a Latour, which has the reputation (deservedly so IMHO) of being the longest lived wine in Bordeaux) proves exactly what?
Not much less than the four wines you mentioned. Why would you expect a '79 Bordeaux to be better now than, say, 10 or 20 years ago? This was never supposed to be a 40-year vintage.

Mark Thompson
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 165
Joined: April 25th, 2017, 2:27 pm

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#23 Post by Mark Thompson » September 24th, 2019, 9:17 am

David Glasser wrote:
September 24th, 2019, 5:43 am
For my palate, the highs are higher but less frequent as you go from 20-25 years to 30-35 years.
So kind of like drinking Burgundy of any age. (I agree with you by the way).

Jeff Leve
Posts: 1736
Joined: August 2nd, 2009, 4:17 pm

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#24 Post by Jeff Leve » September 24th, 2019, 9:44 am

Howard Cooper wrote:
September 23rd, 2019, 3:59 pm
I am drinking classic Bordeaux from the 1970s and 1980s and, while I am enjoying them, I don't find them as thrilling as I would have hoped. They seem to lack a certain distinctiveness from each other that I found in the wines a few years ago.
Howard... While we do not agree that often, I am not sure what you were expecting. 79 Pichon is 40 years of age! Wines are not immortal. And 79 was an early drinking vintage. I liked 79 Pichon in the past as well, but that was 15-20 years ago, when I feel that wine was at its peak.

In the top vintages, some of the best chateau can age for 30, 40, 50 or more years. But in moderate years, those wines are best after a decade of age IMO.

User avatar
Howard Cooper
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 18566
Joined: May 30th, 2009, 8:37 am
Location: Rockville, MD

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#25 Post by Howard Cooper » September 24th, 2019, 10:30 am

Jeff Leve wrote:
September 24th, 2019, 9:44 am
Howard Cooper wrote:
September 23rd, 2019, 3:59 pm
I am drinking classic Bordeaux from the 1970s and 1980s and, while I am enjoying them, I don't find them as thrilling as I would have hoped. They seem to lack a certain distinctiveness from each other that I found in the wines a few years ago.
Howard... While we do not agree that often, I am not sure what you were expecting. 79 Pichon is 40 years of age! Wines are not immortal. And 79 was an early drinking vintage. I liked 79 Pichon in the past as well, but that was 15-20 years ago, when I feel that wine was at its peak.

In the top vintages, some of the best chateau can age for 30, 40, 50 or more years. But in moderate years, those wines are best after a decade of age IMO.
Jeff,

I did not bring either of the 1979s - my 1979s were drunk long ago (I brought the 1989 Cos, as I said above). But, two of the wines were second growths from 1989 and others of the wines I have had over the past year or two have included 1982s, 1986s, and 1990s. And, as I said, I have not felt this way about all of the wines I have had from that era, but I have from more than I would have expected.

It generally is not like you to cherry-pick two wines out of a dozen or more in my posts when I clearly am raising a broader question. While you and I do often disagree, we are friends and I have not seen you in the past do something that I consider underhanded like that to make your points.
Howard

"That's what I do. I drink and I know things." Tyrion Lannister

User avatar
GregT
Posts: 8751
Joined: April 15th, 2009, 3:12 pm

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#26 Post by GregT » September 24th, 2019, 10:40 am

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?
Whether young or old, whether you're drinking one Bordeaux or several Bordeaux, you wouldn't have an "s", would you?

neener

As in, "Nous avons bu plusieurs Bordeaux hier soir."
G . T a t a r

[i]"the incorrect overuse of apostrophes is staggering these days. I wonder if half the adults these days have any idea what they are for." Chris Seiber, 5/14/19[/i]

User avatar
Mike Grammer
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 6686
Joined: April 27th, 2010, 7:19 am
Location: Toronto

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#27 Post by Mike Grammer » September 24th, 2019, 10:50 am

Howard Cooper wrote:
September 23rd, 2019, 3:59 pm
Was at a friend's house Saturday night and had four what I would call excellent older Bordeauxs - 1979s and 1989s from Cos d'Estournal and Pichon Lalande. However, I did not find any of these wines thrilling and I have really enjoyed the 1979 Pichon Lalande in the past.
I think one of those pasts was our dinner 2 years ago at Chaumiere? As you know (and I'll take issue with you here, Jeff, though my own palate is not Bordeaux-centric), I swooned for both the 79 Comtesse and the 82 Canon, Howard--not finding either anywhere close to tired or past prime. All I can recommend is that you taste-drive some of your younger bottles and see what your palate says. Maybe it's a case of you having had a lot of these in the last little while, as far as your Bordeaux drinking is concerned, so that your palate is looking for a change of pace--even within that style?

Best,

Mike
Lived Life. With Love. Full Cup

Jeff Leve
Posts: 1736
Joined: August 2nd, 2009, 4:17 pm

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#28 Post by Jeff Leve » September 24th, 2019, 10:54 am

Howard Cooper wrote:
September 24th, 2019, 10:30 am
Jeff Leve wrote:
September 24th, 2019, 9:44 am
Howard Cooper wrote:
September 23rd, 2019, 3:59 pm
I am drinking classic Bordeaux from the 1970s and 1980s and, while I am enjoying them, I don't find them as thrilling as I would have hoped. They seem to lack a certain distinctiveness from each other that I found in the wines a few years ago.
Howard... While we do not agree that often, I am not sure what you were expecting. 79 Pichon is 40 years of age! Wines are not immortal. And 79 was an early drinking vintage. I liked 79 Pichon in the past as well, but that was 15-20 years ago, when I feel that wine was at its peak.

In the top vintages, some of the best chateau can age for 30, 40, 50 or more years. But in moderate years, those wines are best after a decade of age IMO.
Jeff,

I did not bring either of the 1979s - my 1979s were drunk long ago (I brought the 1989 Cos, as I said above). But, two of the wines were second growths from 1989 and others of the wines I have had over the past year or two have included 1982s, 1986s, and 1990s. And, as I said, I have not felt this way about all of the wines I have had from that era, but I have from more than I would have expected.

It generally is not like you to cherry-pick two wines out of a dozen or more in my posts when I clearly am raising a broader question. While you and I do often disagree, we are friends and I have not seen you in the past do something that I consider underhanded like that to make your points.
I only mentioned that wine because it was in that post. IMO, 89 COS has always been a moderate wine. The 90 has another 10-15 years of pleasure if well stored.

As for 1982, most wines are at peak maturity. Few will improve from here. This is not a bad thing as those wines are approaching 40 years of age. 86 will live forever. But with few exceptions, they are not charming wines that I seldom enjoy. There are a few stunners, but most are too hard for me.

Jeff Leve
Posts: 1736
Joined: August 2nd, 2009, 4:17 pm

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#29 Post by Jeff Leve » September 24th, 2019, 10:56 am

Mike Grammer wrote:
September 24th, 2019, 10:50 am
I'll take issue with you here, Jeff, though my own palate is not Bordeaux-centric), I swooned for both the 79 Comtesse and the 82 Canon,
I'm with you on the 82 Canon. It is gorgeous. As for the 79 Pichon, there is no substitute for your own palate. I cannot think of any 79 Bordeaux that is better today than it was 10 years ago. But that's just me.

User avatar
Mike Grammer
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 6686
Joined: April 27th, 2010, 7:19 am
Location: Toronto

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#30 Post by Mike Grammer » September 24th, 2019, 10:59 am

Agreed and thanks Jeff. For reference, my notes on the two wines from 2 years ago. Both these wines made my WOTY list that year with the Canon coming close to being the WOTY:

"1979 Chateau Pichon de Longueville Comtesse de Lalande

Nutmeats, more cedar and pencil shavings. This is really very good. Curvy and slimly pretty with still-very-lively red fruit. It has nobility and that sublime sense that, in a way, only Comtesse gets to. Truly, one of my fave Bordeaux houses. #2 for me tonight."

"1982 Chateau Canon

Powerful nose--still very primal and primary with dark currant and pine, cedar and meat tinges. Polished and powerful on the tongue, more quintessential Bordeaux---the plums and currants form the base of a finish that lasts forever. Graphite and pencil shavings complete the package and the tannins are beautiful. 94 if pressed to score, I can't pour out any of this. One of the greatest Bordeaux I've ever had the privilege to taste. WOTN"
Lived Life. With Love. Full Cup

User avatar
RyanC
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 3643
Joined: June 2nd, 2009, 4:20 pm
Location: Houston, TX

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#31 Post by RyanC » September 24th, 2019, 11:12 am

I'm the opposite. Every time I open a 20-year-old Bdx I think I should have waited another decade. I'm not a lover of truly ancient wines, but 1970s / 1980s Bdx are in the sweet spot for me.
C@ughey

User avatar
Howard Cooper
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 18566
Joined: May 30th, 2009, 8:37 am
Location: Rockville, MD

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#32 Post by Howard Cooper » September 24th, 2019, 11:15 am

Mike Grammer wrote:
September 24th, 2019, 10:50 am
Howard Cooper wrote:
September 23rd, 2019, 3:59 pm
Was at a friend's house Saturday night and had four what I would call excellent older Bordeauxs - 1979s and 1989s from Cos d'Estournal and Pichon Lalande. However, I did not find any of these wines thrilling and I have really enjoyed the 1979 Pichon Lalande in the past.
I think one of those pasts was our dinner 2 years ago at Chaumiere? As you know (and I'll take issue with you here, Jeff, though my own palate is not Bordeaux-centric), I swooned for both the 79 Comtesse and the 82 Canon, Howard--not finding either anywhere close to tired or past prime. All I can recommend is that you taste-drive some of your younger bottles and see what your palate says. Maybe it's a case of you having had a lot of these in the last little while, as far as your Bordeaux drinking is concerned, so that your palate is looking for a change of pace--even within that style?

Best,

Mike
One of the first Bordeauxs I bought when I got to DC was the 1979 Comtesse, so I am very familiar with the wine (I think it was $13 or $14 a bottle). I remember the wine being much better when we had it a couple of years ago than when we had it this weekend. Neither were my bottles (I brought the 1982 Canon), and the storage of the person who brought the bottle two years ago is better than the storage of the person who brought it Saturday night. However, Mike, my issue has been more recent than the tasting with you, which is why I don't know whether my problem is with the wines or with me.
Last edited by Howard Cooper on September 24th, 2019, 11:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
Howard

"That's what I do. I drink and I know things." Tyrion Lannister

User avatar
Howard Cooper
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 18566
Joined: May 30th, 2009, 8:37 am
Location: Rockville, MD

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#33 Post by Howard Cooper » September 24th, 2019, 11:21 am

Jeff Leve wrote:
September 24th, 2019, 10:54 am

As for 1982, most wines are at peak maturity. Few will improve from here. This is not a bad thing as those wines are approaching 40 years of age. 86 will live forever. But with few exceptions, they are not charming wines that I seldom enjoy. There are a few stunners, but most are too hard for me.
My sense is that some classified 1982s are past peak (e.g., Cos d'Estournal), some are at peak (like Gruaud Larose) and some are just getting to peak (like LLC). The Cos was the favorite 1982 at most of the tastings I went to where it was served for the first 20 years of so of its life, but that generally is no longer the case.

I have had some excellent 1986s. Come back to DC and we can drink 86s.
Howard

"That's what I do. I drink and I know things." Tyrion Lannister

User avatar
J.Vizuete
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 546
Joined: March 19th, 2017, 12:15 pm
Location: San Antonio, Tx

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#34 Post by J.Vizuete » September 24th, 2019, 11:30 am

Carlos Delpin wrote:
September 24th, 2019, 5:27 am
At a Saturday tasting group table we had a nice cross section of super seconds from the 85, 86 and 88 vintages. A bit more power and structure present but fruit levels were still high and very forward. This is the sweet spot for me. The balance of sweet fruit with secondary characteristics provides for me the best balance of intellectual and sensual pleasure.

Dinner last week presented the opportunity to experience a few super seconds from the 95, 96 and 98 vintages. This is a completely different wine experience. Too much power and concentration and the volume obfuscates the message inside the bottle. Some people loved them but all I could think about was unfulfilled promises.
Makes his point clearly and poetically... Nice post.

As a younger and more novice taster, I too experience what Howard describes with many older bottles gravitating to a similar mean - many seem to lose their precision and distinctiveness and just taste like... well... old Bordeaux. I personally enjoy that taste. I opened an 81 Montrose last weekend that was very pleasant, not flawed in any way, and allowed me to demonstrate for our guests an example of an aged Claret, but it wasn't an ethereal experience for me. Frankly I was just happy it showed well and gave it a 92.

Conversely, sometimes really young Bordeaux (I mean really young) just tastes like... young Bordeaux, and requires time to find its own way. However, I'm enjoying the place that many 89s are in now. Perhaps that's my sweet spot, and would have expected the Cos to be a little more compelling.

There's a reasonable consensus here - some chateaux in certain vintages have the life for 40+ years. There is bottle to bottle and storage variation. If Mr. Cooper retains the ability to appreciate nuance in other regions, I doubt it's his palate.
John
CT: jviz
WOTY: 1989 VCC

Greg K
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 1216
Joined: December 21st, 2013, 3:16 pm
Location: New York

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#35 Post by Greg K » September 24th, 2019, 11:46 am

Howard, it's entirely possible you've had a run of slightly tired bottles; it certainly happens. I opened up a few 85s/86s in a row that were disappointments, but then opened up an 83 La Mission a few months back that was absolutely phenomenal and tasted remarkably fresh despite its age and tertiary flavors. I could certainly be wrong, but I suspect the right bottle might get you back to enjoying Bordeaux as a change of pace.
Greg Kahn

User avatar
Marcu$ Stanley
Posts: 1205
Joined: November 1st, 2010, 3:31 pm

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#36 Post by Marcu$ Stanley » September 24th, 2019, 12:43 pm

I feel like Bordeaux is at its best from 20 to 30 years old, when the tannins have relaxed but the fruit is still vivid. I love Bordeaux but to me it just doesn't have the complexity payoff to make up for the loss of fruit. Even for older wines they are much better when there is a warm layer of fruit still lifting up the flavors.

Your sweet spot in that 20-30 year zone will depend on your tastes, but for my tastes at least (and I do like fruit) I've consistently found that they are much better in that age range. So I guess I'm agreeing with the OP.

User avatar
Howard Cooper
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 18566
Joined: May 30th, 2009, 8:37 am
Location: Rockville, MD

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#37 Post by Howard Cooper » September 24th, 2019, 1:39 pm

John, Greg and Marcus all make excellent points and I am sure they are all correct.
Howard

"That's what I do. I drink and I know things." Tyrion Lannister

Robert Sand
Posts: 506
Joined: August 13th, 2010, 1:19 pm

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#38 Post by Robert Sand » September 25th, 2019, 12:28 am

Marcu$ Stanley wrote:
September 24th, 2019, 12:43 pm
I feel like Bordeaux is at its best from 20 to 30 years old, when the tannins have relaxed but the fruit is still vivid. I love Bordeaux but to me it just doesn't have the complexity payoff to make up for the loss of fruit. Even for older wines they are much better when there is a warm layer of fruit still lifting up the flavors.

Your sweet spot in that 20-30 year zone will depend on your tastes, but for my tastes at least (and I do like fruit) I've consistently found that they are much better in that age range. So I guess I'm agreeing with the OP.
Of course everyone is entitled to drink the wines whenever he/she wants. However my feeling is - depending on the vintage - that often 20 years is slightly too young for the better Chateaux. A 2001 Leoville-Poyferre recently could have done it with a few more years, and most 2000s are still very youthful.
On the other hand most vintages in the nineties are drinking very well, with the exception of a few 96 left bank and 98 right bank.
So 20-30 years seem to be a good point with the focus around 25 years - and who likes it older can simply wait a few more years.

User avatar
Craig G
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 15589
Joined: March 6th, 2011, 10:57 am
Location: Town of Cats

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#39 Post by Craig G » September 25th, 2019, 4:39 am

Jeff Leve wrote:
September 24th, 2019, 10:56 am
Mike Grammer wrote:
September 24th, 2019, 10:50 am
I'll take issue with you here, Jeff, though my own palate is not Bordeaux-centric), I swooned for both the 79 Comtesse and the 82 Canon,
I'm with you on the 82 Canon. It is gorgeous. As for the 79 Pichon, there is no substitute for your own palate. I cannot think of any 79 Bordeaux that is better today than it was 10 years ago. But that's just me.
79 was so good at a relatively young age. I started drinking Bordeaux in the late 80’s and two of my favorites then were 79 Gruaud Larose and 79 Pichon Lalande. I have really enjoyed both wines in recent years but unless you have a very particular taste for older wines, it’s hard to argue with your points above.

As for the OP, there are so many variables at work, it’s really difficult to generalize. I’ve had excellent luck from my own storage of wines from the 80’s bought on release (86 onwards), but mixed results backfilling - lots of great experiences but also many bottles that seemed less than they should have been.

There was also a marked improvement in wine treatment (mostly shipping, I believe) in the late 80’s. When I started buying there were all sorts of heat-damaged wines on the shelves from 1985 and before.

Finally, personal taste plays a huge part. I love tasting old wines, but there are lots of times when I see my wife and others looking a bit sideways when we open something that is objectively past peak.

BTW if you have any current recommendations for wines like those 10-year old 79 Gruaud and Pichons, I would love to try them.
“You need to look down to the bottom shelf where they keep the Fighting Cock” — Corey N.

C. Gle@son

User avatar
Robert.A.Jr.
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 23117
Joined: January 28th, 2010, 5:03 am
Location: Orlando, Florida

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#40 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » September 25th, 2019, 4:56 am

Craig G wrote:
September 25th, 2019, 4:39 am
Finally, personal taste plays a huge part. I love tasting old wines, but there are lots of times when I see my wife and others looking a bit sideways when we open something that is objectively past peak.


Great post, Craig.

This comment resonated. It’s a funny reality check that I get often, not just on older wines, but also in unique wines, like a Levet. While I may love them, find them intriguing, or like a Musar more interesting than great, I try to be mindful that most people that I hang out with do not share my palate. That’s why at Bern’s a couple weeks ago, I did not go for 30-40+ year old Bordeaux, even though that would have been my preference. Or, like my business dinner last week, and another this Friday, a 2000 Bordeaux is the choice. I think a vintage like that is more in the sweet spot for most people, where the youth of fruit prevails over the maturity, but there is still enough maturation to be of interest for the likes of us.

"@lf3rt was clearly raised in an outhouse in the Loire. . . ."

Kenny H (circa 2015)

User avatar
Craig G
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 15589
Joined: March 6th, 2011, 10:57 am
Location: Town of Cats

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#41 Post by Craig G » September 25th, 2019, 5:06 am

Yep. On the other hand, I’ve served 1989 Meyney, Pichon Baron, Pichon Lalande and Lynch Bages to a bunch of people who like wine but are not wine geeks, and they go wild over them. There’s definitely a sweet spot where many people can appreciate aged wines that still have some youth in them.

One friend in particular has told me three years in a row that I’ve served him the best wine he’s ever had. In order those were 89 Meyney, 89 Pichon Baron, and 89 Lynch Bages. I’m not sure where to go next :-)
“You need to look down to the bottom shelf where they keep the Fighting Cock” — Corey N.

C. Gle@son

User avatar
J a y H a c k
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 13436
Joined: May 29th, 2009, 9:59 am

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#42 Post by J a y H a c k » September 25th, 2019, 5:07 am

You have almost found religion. A few more years and you can come to the Saxum offline.

Seriously, I had the same response when I opened a 1966 and 1975 Gruaud last year. Academically interesting and enjoyable but hardly what I would call thrilling. Words like appreciate come to mind, but not thrilling.
Yes, that's a DM of 1978 Mouton!

You can read my Financial Institutions Law Blog at https://www.gdblaw.com/blog?practiceID=4985.

User avatar
Howard Cooper
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 18566
Joined: May 30th, 2009, 8:37 am
Location: Rockville, MD

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#43 Post by Howard Cooper » September 25th, 2019, 5:08 am

Craig G wrote:
September 25th, 2019, 4:39 am

79 was so good at a relatively young age. I started drinking Bordeaux in the late 80’s and two of my favorites then were 79 Gruaud Larose and 79 Pichon Lalande. I have really enjoyed both wines in recent years but unless you have a very particular taste for older wines, it’s hard to argue with your points above.

As for the OP, there are so many variables at work, it’s really difficult to generalize. I’ve had excellent luck from my own storage of wines from the 80’s bought on release (86 onwards), but mixed results backfilling - lots of great experiences but also many bottles that seemed less than they should have been.

There was also a marked improvement in wine treatment (mostly shipping, I believe) in the late 80’s. When I started buying there were all sorts of heat-damaged wines on the shelves from 1985 and before.

Finally, personal taste plays a huge part. I love tasting old wines, but there are lots of times when I see my wife and others looking a bit sideways when we open something that is objectively past peak.

BTW if you have any current recommendations for wines like those 10-year old 79 Gruaud and Pichons, I would love to try them.
I first started buying wine in the early 1980s. Some of the earliest wines I bought were 1979 Bordeauxs, where wines like Pichon Lalande and Leoville las Cases were selling for $13-15 a bottle. During the 1980s, when I was first collecting, the Bordeauxs I drank were often these 1979 Bordeauxs along with lesser 1982s like Gloria, Chasse Spleen, etc., while I kept my 1982 classified wines and let them mature. I did similar things in Burgundy where I bought some 1978s and let them mature while drinking 1979s and 1980s.

If I had to guess the recent vintage that will produce nice, mid-weight Bordeauxs that will drink kind of like the better 1979s did, it would be 2014.
Howard

"That's what I do. I drink and I know things." Tyrion Lannister

User avatar
Howard Cooper
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 18566
Joined: May 30th, 2009, 8:37 am
Location: Rockville, MD

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#44 Post by Howard Cooper » September 25th, 2019, 5:13 am

Craig G wrote:
September 25th, 2019, 5:06 am
Yep. On the other hand, I’ve served 1989 Meyney, Pichon Baron, Pichon Lalande and Lynch Bages to a bunch of people who like wine but are not wine geeks, and they go wild over them. There’s definitely a sweet spot where many people can appreciate aged wines that still have some youth in them.

One friend in particular has told me three years in a row that I’ve served him the best wine he’s ever had. In order those were 89 Meyney, 89 Pichon Baron, and 89 Lynch Bages. I’m not sure where to go next :-)
I have found that most people I know who are not wine geeks but like wine like California Cabs more than anything else. If you ask them what they like in a wine, with an awful lot of people the first word is body. I was thrilled to have one friend (again far from wine geek) who really liked a Burgundy I opened for him - 2005 Rossignol-Trapet Gevrey Chambertin.

By contrast, the people I had the Bordeauxs with this weekend are very much my wine geek crowd. To a man (and woman), their favorite producer is Truchot.
Howard

"That's what I do. I drink and I know things." Tyrion Lannister

User avatar
J.Vizuete
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 546
Joined: March 19th, 2017, 12:15 pm
Location: San Antonio, Tx

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#45 Post by J.Vizuete » September 25th, 2019, 5:17 am

Craig G wrote:
September 25th, 2019, 5:06 am
.
One friend in particular has told me three years in a row that I’ve served him the best wine he’s ever had. In order those were 89 Meyney, 89 Pichon Baron, and 89 Lynch Bages. I’m not sure where to go next :-)
89 Haut Brion?
John
CT: jviz
WOTY: 1989 VCC

User avatar
Howard Cooper
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 18566
Joined: May 30th, 2009, 8:37 am
Location: Rockville, MD

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#46 Post by Howard Cooper » September 25th, 2019, 5:19 am

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
September 25th, 2019, 4:56 am
Craig G wrote:
September 25th, 2019, 4:39 am
Finally, personal taste plays a huge part. I love tasting old wines, but there are lots of times when I see my wife and others looking a bit sideways when we open something that is objectively past peak.


Great post, Craig.

This comment resonated. It’s a funny reality check that I get often, not just on older wines, but also in unique wines, like a Levet. While I may love them, find them intriguing, or like a Musar more interesting than great, I try to be mindful that most people that I hang out with do not share my palate. That’s why at Bern’s a couple weeks ago, I did not go for 30-40+ year old Bordeaux, even though that would have been my preference. Or, like my business dinner last week, and another this Friday, a 2000 Bordeaux is the choice. I think a vintage like that is more in the sweet spot for most people, where the youth of fruit prevails over the maturity, but there is still enough maturation to be of interest for the likes of us.
Somehow, these experiences remind me of a happy hour at work several years ago where people brought bottles of wine to try. One older partner brought a reasonably old Bordeaux that he had been given years ago (don't remember the wine). I got to the happy hour a bit late (work interfered) and that partner and our office manager were about ready to toss the wine as over the hill. I took one taste and recognized that all the wine needed was a few minutes to open up and then it would be very good. I enjoyed drinking it - not sure if the partner and office manager ever did but they said they did - not unusual as (and I am sure that this is the case for most of us) they did not want to disagree with me and seem less sophisticated. They don't realize that true wine lovers never hesitate to argue with each other newhere
Howard

"That's what I do. I drink and I know things." Tyrion Lannister

User avatar
Robert.A.Jr.
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 23117
Joined: January 28th, 2010, 5:03 am
Location: Orlando, Florida

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#47 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » September 25th, 2019, 5:21 am

Howard Cooper wrote:
September 25th, 2019, 5:13 am
Craig G wrote:
September 25th, 2019, 5:06 am
Yep. On the other hand, I’ve served 1989 Meyney, Pichon Baron, Pichon Lalande and Lynch Bages to a bunch of people who like wine but are not wine geeks, and they go wild over them. There’s definitely a sweet spot where many people can appreciate aged wines that still have some youth in them.

One friend in particular has told me three years in a row that I’ve served him the best wine he’s ever had. In order those were 89 Meyney, 89 Pichon Baron, and 89 Lynch Bages. I’m not sure where to go next :-)
I have found that most people I know who are not wine geeks but like wine like California Cabs more than anything else. If you ask them what they like in a wine, with an awful lot of people the first word is body. I was thrilled to have one friend (again far from wine geek) who really liked a Burgundy I opened for him - 2005 Rossignol-Trapet Gevrey Chambertin.

By contrast, the people I had the Bordeauxs with this weekend are very much my wine geek crowd. To a man (and woman), their favorite producer is Truchot.

Or “smooth”. I usually interpret that to mean more lush less acid.

"@lf3rt was clearly raised in an outhouse in the Loire. . . ."

Kenny H (circa 2015)

User avatar
Howard Cooper
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 18566
Joined: May 30th, 2009, 8:37 am
Location: Rockville, MD

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#48 Post by Howard Cooper » September 25th, 2019, 5:32 am

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
September 25th, 2019, 5:21 am


Or “smooth”. I usually interpret that to mean more lush less acid.
I agree. This reminds me of two incidents. Once, years and years ago when I was an associate, I (and I think one or two others) opened 4 bottles of BV wines at work and drank them blind with a bunch of other associates. Three were private reserves and one was Beautour, their basic wine, which at the time was a very nice inexpensive Cabernet. I thought the Beautour was easy to pick out as having less of just about everything than the three Private Reserves. Well, for about 1/3 to 1/2 the people, this was their favorite wine. It was, as you said, smooth while the three Private Reserves had tannins and needed time.

The second incident (also at work when I was a junior associate) involved Irish whiskey. I am far from an expert on any whiskey, esp. Irish whiskey, which I have hardly ever touched. The two bottles being tasted blind (it was St. Patrick's Day) were Jamison (less expensive) and Black Bushmill (more expensive). Because I liked wine, somehow people expected me to pick the more expensive from the less expensive. I actually got it correct. The Jamison (which was the favorite of a majority of the people) was smoother and easier to drink. The Black Bush, while probably a bit harsher, had a lot more flavor. I figured based on wine experience that the more flavorful one likely was the more expensive one, not the smoother more innocuous one.

My guess is that smooth is the reason why we often hear about people (generally not wine geeks) preferring cheap wines in blind tastings over much better wines. They prefer smooth over complex and nuanced. Frankly, the rest of the world is not like all of us.
Last edited by Howard Cooper on September 25th, 2019, 5:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
Howard

"That's what I do. I drink and I know things." Tyrion Lannister

User avatar
Robert.A.Jr.
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 23117
Joined: January 28th, 2010, 5:03 am
Location: Orlando, Florida

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#49 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » September 25th, 2019, 5:43 am

Was just having this exact discussion with two associates last night - over some whiskies of course - imparting my wisdom on them regarding Scotch over Bourbon. Then I went home to pop some vino and left them to keep billing, with their “smooth” Bourbon. Hopefully I left them with a sour taste. ;)

"@lf3rt was clearly raised in an outhouse in the Loire. . . ."

Kenny H (circa 2015)

User avatar
Julian Marshall
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 948
Joined: August 12th, 2011, 4:44 am
Location: Next to Auvers sur Oise, France

Re: Do I need to be drinking my Bordeauxs younger?

#50 Post by Julian Marshall » September 25th, 2019, 6:19 am

Great thread - which gave me a laugh: I remember some wine writer, probably French, waxing lyrical about the differences in national "tastes", whereby Americans liked drinking their Bordeaux young, whereas Brits were necrophiliacs. I therefore hereby declare you all knights of the realm! Personally I tend to drink most of my Bordeaux at the 15-20 year point, but that's mainly because unlike most of you, I only have a teeny-weeny cellar!

Post Reply

Return to “Wine Talk”