Confessions of a first growth virgin.

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M. M c C a l l
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Confessions of a first growth virgin.

#1 Post by M. M c C a l l » January 30th, 2009, 9:13 am

I have never tasted a first growth Bordeaux. I love Bordeaux, but I've always gone the bang-for-the-buck route with LLC, Leoville Barton, Cos, Lynch Bages, and Calon Segur. Steve and I will celebrate our fifth anniversary at the end of this month, and I'd like to surprise him.

So what should I buy?

I want something a bit older, and don't mind stepping out of my $$$ comfort zone, but I absolutely do not what to spend the extra money for a "blockbuster" vintage like '61 or '82. Do you have a favorite unsung vintage?
-Melissa
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Re: Confessions of a first growth virgin.

#2 Post by Mark Slater » January 30th, 2009, 9:17 am

Melissa M c C a l l wrote:I have never tasted a first growth Bordeaux. I love Bordeaux, but I've always gone the bang-for-the-buck route with LLC, Leoville Barton, Cos, Lynch Bages, and Calon Segur. Steve and I will celebrate our fifth anniversary at the end of this month, and I'd like to surprise him.

So what should I buy?

I want something a bit older, and don't mind stepping out of my $$$ comfort zone, but I absolutely do not what to spend the extra money for a "blockbuster" vintage like '61 or '82. Do you have a favorite unsung vintage?
Lafite-Rothschild 1989 (but definitely not 1990!!). It has everything: outrageous nose, power, depth and super finish.
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Re: Confessions of a first growth virgin.

#3 Post by Eric Anderson » January 30th, 2009, 9:17 am

1989 or 1990 Chateau Latour.

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Re: Confessions of a first growth virgin.

#4 Post by Yoni O v a d i a » January 30th, 2009, 9:19 am

I've had the '83 Mouton and Lafite in the past year and both have been wonderful.
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Re: Confessions of a first growth virgin.

#5 Post by Bill Tex Landreth » January 30th, 2009, 9:21 am

Hit up Freemott for one of his '03 Lafites. Pretty near a 100 pt wine right now.
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Re: Confessions of a first growth virgin.

#6 Post by Eric Anderson » January 30th, 2009, 9:24 am

Yoni Ovadia wrote:I've had the '83 Mouton and Lafite in the past year and both have been wonderful.
'83...good point. Sleeper vintage, but probably not too cheap any more.

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Re: Confessions of a first growth virgin.

#7 Post by LMD Ermitaño » January 30th, 2009, 9:31 am

Boy, I've certainly posted a lot my first time here. At the risk of wearing my recent welcome thin, allow me a few suggestions before I go to bed (it's 1:19am as I type).

Before I go into vintages, let me first suggest you go for Haut Brion - it is one of my favorite 1st growths and, generally, the least expensive one at that.

That said, may I suggest the '94 Haut Brion which may be currently purchased for $300 more-or-less. I've had this not long ago (around September or October 2008) and it was wonderful. While most are generally cool to '94 Bdx, I've recently found several to be quite enjoyable: Angelus and La Mission HB immediately come to mind.

1989s are also very nice, but the HB is ridiculously priced, no thanks to you-know-who.

Instead of focusing on a 1st growth for Steve (send him my warmest regards please), why not go for something like a 1986 or 1990 Cos d'Estournel instead?
Luis Manuel Debuque Monreal Ermitaño

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Re: Confessions of a first growth virgin.

#8 Post by M. M c C a l l » January 30th, 2009, 9:43 am

Thanks for all the suggestions. I'm loving the prices on the '89s. Noel, re: '86 Cos, we've had it several times and I want to shoot for something that will be new to us both. I just ordered a '94 La Mission Haut Brion... might still order an '89 "something" since LMHB is not technically a first growth.

Tex, Is Freemunch giving away first growths? He's such a nice boy.
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Re: Confessions of a first growth virgin.

#9 Post by Yoni O v a d i a » January 30th, 2009, 9:45 am

Eric Anderson wrote:
Yoni Ovadia wrote:I've had the '83 Mouton and Lafite in the past year and both have been wonderful.
'83...good point. Sleeper vintage, but probably not too cheap any more.
True, but they'll probably cost around 300-400 at the moment. (Melissa said she was fine paying a little extra...)
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Re: Confessions of a first growth virgin.

#10 Post by Bill Tex Landreth » January 30th, 2009, 9:49 am

Melissa M c C a l l wrote:Thanks for all the suggestions. I'm loving the prices on the '89s. Noel, re: '86 Cos, we've had it several times and I want to shoot for something that will be new to us both. I just ordered a '94 La Mission Haut Brion... might still order an '89 "something" since LMHB is not technically a first growth.

Tex, Is Freemunch giving away first growths? He's such a nice boy.
He is if you cook him a steak and snuggle with him.
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Re: Confessions of a first growth virgin.

#11 Post by Jorge Henriquez » January 30th, 2009, 9:55 am

I agree with Noel about 94. Very underrated vintage.

Here's Haut Brion in your neck of the woods for under $200:
http://www.brentwoodwine.com/os/itemhtm ... num=992516" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

83 Latour:
http://hookedonwine.net/index.php?main_ ... cts_id=855" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

93 Latour:
http://hookedonwine.net/index.php?main_ ... cts_id=858" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

94 Mouton for under $200:
http://hookedonwine.net/index.php?main_ ... ts_id=2836" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

94 Margaux:
http://hookedonwine.net/index.php?main_ ... ts_id=1481" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

You get the idea Mel. [thank_you.gif]
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Re: Confessions of a first growth virgin.

#12 Post by Bill Tex Landreth » January 30th, 2009, 10:11 am

P. Robert wrote:
Bill Tex Landreth wrote:
Melissa M c C a l l wrote:Thanks for all the suggestions. I'm loving the prices on the '89s. Noel, re: '86 Cos, we've had it several times and I want to shoot for something that will be new to us both. I just ordered a '94 La Mission Haut Brion... might still order an '89 "something" since LMHB is not technically a first growth.

Tex, Is Freemunch giving away first growths? He's such a nice boy.
He is if you cook him a steak and snuggle with him.
Those aren't pillows!
That's not my thumb.
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Re: Confessions of a first growth virgin.

#13 Post by Peter C. » January 30th, 2009, 10:23 am

Bill Tex Landreth wrote:
Melissa M c C a l l wrote:Thanks for all the suggestions. I'm loving the prices on the '89s. Noel, re: '86 Cos, we've had it several times and I want to shoot for something that will be new to us both. I just ordered a '94 La Mission Haut Brion... might still order an '89 "something" since LMHB is not technically a first growth.

Tex, Is Freemunch giving away first growths? He's such a nice boy.
He is if you cook him a steak and snuggle with him.
Is that how you got to taste yours? How was the snuggling?
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Re: Confessions of a first growth virgin.

#14 Post by Bill Tex Landreth » January 30th, 2009, 10:27 am

Actually I tasted first, cooked him a steak and Lang snuggled with him and a bag of M&M's at La Keeentah.
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Re: Confessions of a first growth virgin.

#15 Post by Cris Whetstone » January 30th, 2009, 10:40 am

Noel wrote:Boy, I've certainly posted a lot my first time here. At the risk of wearing my recent welcome thin, allow me a few suggestions before I go to bed (it's 1:19am as I type).
Post all you like Noel. I think I can speak for all of us to say that your contributions are very welcome. Terrific notes and posts.
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Re: Confessions of a first growth virgin.

#16 Post by Bob Kaminski » January 30th, 2009, 12:38 pm

I would try to find an 85 Margaux or Haut Brion. Just rocking now. The 83 Lafite is no big deal -the 83 Pichon Lalande kills it.

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Re: Confessions of a first growth virgin.

#17 Post by Steve Saxon » January 30th, 2009, 12:52 pm

Red if your looking for a Haut Brion, I suggest the 88, 98 or 01. The 88 and 01 are sleeper vintages but are delicious and you can get them all for around $250 or less.
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Re: Confessions of a first growth virgin.

#18 Post by John Davis » January 30th, 2009, 1:23 pm

Lots of good ideas. 98 HB comes to mind first, 83 Mouton or Margaux. Love the 85 HB, too.

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Re: Confessions of a first growth virgin.

#19 Post by Chris Freemott » January 30th, 2009, 5:10 pm

Red,

If you snuggle you can have your choice of my Lafite, Latour or Margaux. But, I'm the outside spoon as that's the cheatin' spoon.

My $.02..........

Don't sweat it. It's not as monumental as you may think it is especially with your depth of super second exposure. - is it worth it? Perhaps, if someone else is buying.

But, prices on recent vintages are falling fast - so pick one off and wait if you cannot get an older one with good sourcing.

I've had 82 and 83 and prefer the latter. I also happen to like fruit and find that the 98s are singing right now. But that's MY palate, not yours.

I had the great group in Chicago treat me to about 15 firsts on one night - it was splendid. Alas, if you have to rely on Woody for your cherry to be broken - you're screwed.

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Re: Confessions of a first growth virgin.

#20 Post by Bill Tex Landreth » January 30th, 2009, 5:12 pm

Chris Freemott wrote:Red,

If you snuggle you can have your choice of my Lafite, Latour or Margaux. But, I'm the outside spoon as that's the cheatin' spoon.

My $.02..........

Don't sweat it. It's not as monumental as you may think it is especially with your depth of super second exposure. - is it worth it? Perhaps, if someone else is buying.

But, prices on recent vintages are falling fast - so pick one off and wait if you cannot get an older one with good sourcing.

I've had 82 and 83 and prefer the latter. I also happen to like fruit and find that the 98s are singing right now. But that's MY palate, not yours.

I had the great group in Chicago treat me to about 15 firsts on one night - it was splendid. Alas, if you have to rely on Woody for your cherry to be broken - you're screwed.
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Re: Confessions of a first growth virgin.

#21 Post by Chris Freemott » January 30th, 2009, 5:14 pm

It aint that bad. but, if it helps get laughs, I'm game.

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Re: Confessions of a first growth virgin.

#22 Post by Bill Tex Landreth » January 30th, 2009, 5:16 pm

Speaking of laughs...aren't you supposed to have a new avatar?
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Re: Confessions of a first growth virgin.

#23 Post by Chris Freemott » January 30th, 2009, 5:46 pm

Yes. My avatar is now up.

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Re: Confessions of a first growth virgin.

#24 Post by LMD Ermitaño » January 30th, 2009, 5:56 pm

Melissa M c C a l l wrote:Noel, re: '86 Cos, we've had it several times and I want to shoot for something that will be new to us both. I just ordered a '94 La Mission Haut Brion... might still order an '89 "something" since LMHB is not technically a first growth.
I actually recommended the '94 HB (which definitely is a first growth) - I just mentioned the other '94s to reassure that many '94s are very nice despite professional reviewers' general coolness to the vintage.

You won't regret the '94 LMHB though. At its price, it delivers a lot.
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Re: Confessions of a first growth virgin.

#25 Post by Chris Freemott » January 30th, 2009, 6:46 pm

it needs to be zoom'd in.

who is that?

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Re: Confessions of a first growth virgin.

#26 Post by BobH » January 31st, 2009, 8:43 am

Why spend $500 on a first growth? For the same price, you can get planes tickets for you and Steve, come to pittsburgh, and I'll open one for you. Heck, we can even finish off with a d'yquem if you absolutely have to have. You'll spend the ame amount of money, but you'll have a trip and a good time to, and not just the wine.

Now, if you won't take my very sage advice, here are some suggestions:

98 and 96 Mouton are inexpensive compared to other First's growths, and both are simply outstanding wines. And both are drinking well now, but will age for many years. They will give you 96-100 "points of pleasure"as well. If you are going to spend the money, spend it on something great.


this reminds me of a funny story. I used to have the theroy that First growths were better than other wines. In other words, a 90 point First growth was somehow better than a 90 other wine. What was the basis for this? The 96 Mouton, which I have had numerous times, and probably more times than any other single Bordeaux wine. RMP rated it 94 or 95, and yet to me it was always almost perfect. I thought that I was either overrating it, or that a 94 point First Growth was better than a 94 point other wine. Then, when he tasted it at the EWS and rated it 99, I realized that other people were seeing what I had seen allalong.
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Re: Confessions of a first growth virgin.

#27 Post by M. M c C a l l » January 31st, 2009, 12:51 pm

b hudak wrote:Why spend $500 on a first growth? For the same price, you can get planes tickets for you and Steve, come to pittsburgh, and I'll open one for you. Heck, we can even finish off with a d'yquem if you absolutely have to have. You'll spend the ame amount of money, but you'll have a trip and a good time to, and not just the wine.
You are a 99 point sweetheart, Bob. I forgot about Sauternes... I've had Yquem (and most of the "regular" first growths) many times. I'm not a virgin after all!
-Melissa
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Re: Confessions of a first growth virgin.

#28 Post by Rick Smith » January 31st, 2009, 12:55 pm

Melissa M c C a l l wrote:I'm not a virgin after all!
:P

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Re: Confessions of a first growth virgin.

#29 Post by Jeff Pf0h1 » January 31st, 2009, 3:14 pm

Melissa M c C a l l wrote: I'm not a virgin after all!
I think your post on the other forum here, following Poppy's lead and showing us the "bouquet", gave us some indication this was the case.

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Re: Confessions of a first growth virgin.

#30 Post by Ben Sherwin » January 31st, 2009, 4:06 pm

Completely agree on the '85s drinking well right now. Margaux is a good starting point for Firsts.

We just did a fantastic vertical of '89s and the Firsts we had, best to least, were Margaux, Lafite, Latour and Mouton. Not that '89 is an unsung vintage...
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Re: Confessions of a first growth virgin.

#31 Post by Michael Bowden » February 1st, 2009, 9:15 pm

Melissa.....how much are you looking to spend? This might give you some more specific answers.
I'm taller than Zach Lang.

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Good fries are better than great tater tots.

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