TN: 1976 Mouton, 1988 Cos d’Estournel

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Rudi Finkler
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TN: 1976 Mouton, 1988 Cos d’Estournel

#1 Post by Rudi Finkler » October 15th, 2019, 10:15 am

Last night. Still relatively dark in color, the 1976 Mouton shows wet forest floor, tobacco and mushrooms on the nose. Still some nice acidity on the palate, spices, herbs, graphite, pencil, old leather, and some ripe black and red fruits. The herbal finish has a good length, but nothing special. After about two hours, the wine starts to fade away. This is not an outstanding, exotic Mouton, nonetheless a seamless, fine and elegant wine - enjoyable, nicely balanced and still alive, but needs drinking up in the next couple of years. Better than expected!

No surprise, the excellently balanced 1988 Cos d’Estournel is more compelling than the 1976 Mouton. A real joy for lovers of traditional red Bordeaux. Complex and excellently balanced, this medium to full-bodied wine shows wonderful freshness, precision, and purity. Delicious dark berries and blackcurrant fruit still dominate on the palate, accompanied by notes of tea leaves, licorice, roasted coffee, herbs, forest floor, and a hint of anise. The well-structured, spicy, minerally finish is not overwhelming, but satisfying nonetheless. I think this graceful, seamless Saint-Estèphe can still age effortlessly.
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Re: TN: 1976 Mouton, 1988 Cos d’Estournel

#2 Post by YLee » October 15th, 2019, 10:30 am

I would have loved to try that '76
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Re: TN: 1976 Mouton, 1988 Cos d’Estournel

#3 Post by Robert Sand » October 15th, 2019, 1:44 pm

I cannot help, the two times I had the Mouton 1976 it was a major disapointment. In about 1995 I already thought it might have been better 5+ years ago, lacking depth and class, with a rather hollow midpalate, and 6 years ago it was seriously in decline. It´s not worth PC status imho, and that 3 years after its elevation to First Growth.
I know 1976 is not a great vintage, but we had all 5 FGs side by side in 1995, and Lafite, Latour and Haut Brion were much better, Margaux was corked unfortunately.

1988 Cos is a classic.

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Re: TN: 1976 Mouton, 1988 Cos d’Estournel

#4 Post by Rudi Finkler » October 15th, 2019, 11:30 pm

I have never understood why Mouton was elevated to First Growth status and none of the so called Super Seconds, Palmer included. If any, a more flexible classification would certainly be appropriate. In my view, however, the outdated 1855 classification belongs in a museum. [berserker.gif]
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Re: TN: 1976 Mouton, 1988 Cos d’Estournel

#5 Post by Robert Sand » October 15th, 2019, 11:41 pm

Rudi Finkler wrote:
October 15th, 2019, 11:30 pm
I have never understood why Mouton was elevated to First Growth status and none of the so called Super Seconds, Palmer included. If any, a more flexible classification would certainly be appropriate. In my view, however, the outdated 1855 classification belongs in a museum. [berserker.gif]
Well, when a growth is capable of producing legends like 1982 and 1986 - which imho are among the greatest Bordeaux ever - the status per se seems to be justified. Problem is only they produce this quality far too rarely. I mean tasting the 1990 for instance.

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Re: TN: 1976 Mouton, 1988 Cos d’Estournel

#6 Post by J a y H a c k » October 16th, 2019, 8:06 am

Rudi Finkler wrote:
October 15th, 2019, 11:30 pm
I have never understood why Mouton was elevated to First Growth status and none of the so called Super Seconds, Palmer included. . .
I will answer that question if you first tell me how old you are. It's all about history and politics.
Yes, that's a DM of 1978 Mouton!

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Re: TN: 1976 Mouton, 1988 Cos d’Estournel

#7 Post by David Glasser » October 16th, 2019, 8:11 am

I would have loved to try the '88 Cos.

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Re: TN: 1976 Mouton, 1988 Cos d’Estournel

#8 Post by Rudi Finkler » October 16th, 2019, 8:49 am

J a y H a c k wrote:
October 16th, 2019, 8:06 am
Rudi Finkler wrote:
October 15th, 2019, 11:30 pm
I have never understood why Mouton was elevated to First Growth status and none of the so called Super Seconds, Palmer included. . .
I will answer that question if you first tell me how old you are. It's all about history and politics.
I'm 64, Jay. :-)
Last edited by Rudi Finkler on October 20th, 2019, 9:50 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: TN: 1976 Mouton, 1988 Cos d’Estournel

#9 Post by J a y H a c k » October 16th, 2019, 9:12 am

Rudi Finkler wrote:
October 16th, 2019, 8:49 am
J a y H a c k wrote:
October 16th, 2019, 8:06 am
Rudi Finkler wrote:
October 15th, 2019, 11:30 pm
I have never understood why Mouton was elevated to First Growth status and none of the so called Super Seconds, Palmer included. . .
I will answer that question if you first tell me how old you are. It's all about history and politics.
I'm 64, Jay. :-)
I'm 68, so let's say close enough. The answer is that when they were elevated to being a first growth (IIRC the 1973 vintage, one bottle of which I bought on release), the "super seconds" were not so super, and there were only two - Cos and Las Cases. There had been a run of bad vintages going back to 1967 (the '66s had a good reputation that in hindsight was probably undeserved), and there was a lot of mediocre and worse Bordeaux. The late 1950s and 1961 Moutons were outstanding. The Baron and others had expressed the view for years that the only reason Mouton was not a first growth in the initial classification was because of rampant antisemitism in France (Lafitte was not acquired by the Rothshilds after 1855). Combine that with the fact that his ex-wife died in a concentration camp, plus the power of his 1945 bottle label - La Victoire - was enough to swing the French to elevate Mouton to first growth status. And then there's line line on the 1973 label - Premier je sui - Second je fus - Mouton ne change. First I am, second I was, Mouton never changes.
Yes, that's a DM of 1978 Mouton!

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Re: TN: 1976 Mouton, 1988 Cos d’Estournel

#10 Post by Mark Golodetz » October 16th, 2019, 9:50 am

A couple of corrections if I may.
Palmer was every bit as worthy as Mouton in the 1960s and 1970s, as was La Mission, which you may argue is not a super second, but if Haut Brion is a First Growth, then LMHB undoubtedly should have been considered for elevation.

I assume you meant that Lafite was acquired after 1855.

I agree with the comments that because Mouton is capable of producing Bordeaux’ best wine in any given vintage, the terroir is indeed first growth in quality, even if the winemaking is sometimes not. I was reminded how great Mouton can be in 2016, a wine I bought in quantity. Although I did not taste the Latour, this was the best of the first growths I did taste, including Cheval and Ausone (not Pavie and Angelus for obvious reasons).

The 1976 has always been mediocre. Ironically after it’s elevation, Mouton went through a really bad patch. 1978 and 1981 were the only real exceptions, although I have good and bad bottles of 1975 and 1979.
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Re: TN: 1976 Mouton, 1988 Cos d’Estournel

#11 Post by Gerhard P. » October 16th, 2019, 12:19 pm

Mark Golodetz wrote:
October 16th, 2019, 9:50 am
....
The 1976 has always been mediocre. Ironically after it’s elevation, Mouton went through a really bad patch. 1978 and 1981 were the only real exceptions, although I have good and bad bottles of 1975 and 1979.
Yes, 1976 Mouton was disapointing.

Reg. the 1979 M.: when we had been invited by a befriended family nearby La Rochelle about 8-9 years ago we were proudly served a 1979 Mouton, the treasure bottle of their cellar, purchased by their father after release and travelled maybe less than 200 km in its lifetime. The cellar was perfectly cool.

The wine was not cool - in fact it was really mediocre, hard, metallic, without any charme and only minor uninteresting fruit, short and acidic ...
if I had to rate it I wouldn´t have given 80 points.
One can imagine how I was struggling what to say to the host ... (of course I was "excited and honoured" to be served such a famous bottle ... a necessary lie ...)

There may be better bottles anywhere ... but a 2nd one 3 years ago was barely better ..
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Re: TN: 1976 Mouton, 1988 Cos d’Estournel

#12 Post by Rudi Finkler » October 16th, 2019, 10:58 pm

Mark Golodetz wrote:
October 16th, 2019, 9:50 am
... Palmer was every bit as worthy as Mouton in the 1960s and 1970s, as was La Mission, which you may argue is not a super second, but if Haut Brion is a First Growth, then LMHB undoubtedly should have been considered for elevation...
I couldn’t agree more. And if we consider the performance of the top wines of the region over the last seven/ eight decades until today, an elevation of La Mission and Las Cases is long overdue - not only as measured by the performance in top vintages, but also and especially by the performance in more difficult vintages.
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Re: TN: 1976 Mouton, 1988 Cos d’Estournel

#13 Post by Rudi Finkler » October 16th, 2019, 11:01 pm

Robert Sand wrote:
October 15th, 2019, 11:41 pm
Well, when a growth is capable of producing legends like 1982 and 1986 - which imho are among the greatest Bordeaux ever - the status per se seems to be justified. Problem is only they produce this quality far too rarely. I mean tasting the 1990 for instance.
Yes, but Las Cases, La Mission, and even Pichon Comtesse were capable of producing legendary wines in 1982 too. And over the last seven/ eight decades, Las Cases has produced at least as much legends as Mouton.. and La Mission even more.
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Re: TN: 1976 Mouton, 1988 Cos d’Estournel

#14 Post by Rudi Finkler » October 16th, 2019, 11:05 pm

J a y H a c k wrote:
October 16th, 2019, 9:12 am
I'm 68, so let's say close enough. The answer is that when they were elevated to being a first growth (IIRC the 1973 vintage, one bottle of which I bought on release), the "super seconds" were not so super, and there were only two - Cos and Las Cases. There had been a run of bad vintages going back to 1967 (the '66s had a good reputation that in hindsight was probably undeserved), and there was a lot of mediocre and worse Bordeaux. The late 1950s and 1961 Moutons were outstanding. The Baron and others had expressed the view for years that the only reason Mouton was not a first growth in the initial classification was because of rampant antisemitism in France (Lafitte was not acquired by the Rothshilds after 1855). Combine that with the fact that his ex-wife died in a concentration camp, plus the power of his 1945 bottle label - La Victoire - was enough to swing the French to elevate Mouton to first growth status. And then there's line line on the 1973 label - Premier je sui - Second je fus - Mouton ne change. First I am, second I was, Mouton never changes.
Thanks for your detailed answer, but what would have been your response, if I were much younger or twenty years older for instance? - Just curious. :-)
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Re: TN: 1976 Mouton, 1988 Cos d’Estournel

#15 Post by Gerhard P. » October 16th, 2019, 11:30 pm

Rudi Finkler wrote:
October 16th, 2019, 10:58 pm
an elevation of La Mission and Las Cases is long overdue - ....
La Mission-HB is in Graves/Pessac-Leognan, and that´s a completely different classification (1953/59), there are no First Growths there, only classified (red/white) ... and the rest non-classified.
Haut-Brion was the only Chateau included in the 1855 classification out of the Medoc and Sauternes/Barsac.
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Re: TN: 1976 Mouton, 1988 Cos d’Estournel

#16 Post by Rudi Finkler » October 16th, 2019, 11:54 pm

newhere

You are completely right, Gerhard, but if there is one exception, why not a second exception? :-)
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Re: TN: 1976 Mouton, 1988 Cos d’Estournel

#17 Post by Greg K » October 17th, 2019, 12:14 am

Rudi Finkler wrote:
October 16th, 2019, 10:58 pm
Mark Golodetz wrote:
October 16th, 2019, 9:50 am
... Palmer was every bit as worthy as Mouton in the 1960s and 1970s, as was La Mission, which you may argue is not a super second, but if Haut Brion is a First Growth, then LMHB undoubtedly should have been considered for elevation...
I couldn’t agree more. And if we consider the performance of the top wines of the region over the last seven/ eight decades until today, an elevation of La Mission and Las Cases is long overdue - not only as measured by the performance in top vintages, but also and especially by the performance in more difficult vintages.
I think you'll get quite a bit of loud arguments over any attempts to elevate Las Cases (deservedly so, imho).
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Re: TN: 1976 Mouton, 1988 Cos d’Estournel

#18 Post by Mark Golodetz » October 17th, 2019, 3:15 am

I am with Greg here. There are many who love this wine, and many who don’t see what the fuss is about. I am one of the latter, and had maybe a couple of wines I consider great, the 1996 and 2005.

I do not think it is even in the top five candidates worthy of promotion.
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Re: TN: 1976 Mouton, 1988 Cos d’Estournel

#19 Post by Mattstolz » October 17th, 2019, 3:29 am

Mark Golodetz wrote:
October 17th, 2019, 3:15 am
I am with Greg here. There are many who love this wine, and many who don’t see what the fuss is about. I am one of the latter, and had maybe a couple of wines I consider great, the 1006 and 2005.

I do not think it is even in the top five candidates worthy of promotion.
personally I think it should be elevated just because they were making wine in 1006. [tease.gif]

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Re: TN: 1976 Mouton, 1988 Cos d’Estournel

#20 Post by Mark Golodetz » October 17th, 2019, 3:53 am

Fixed
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Re: TN: 1976 Mouton, 1988 Cos d’Estournel

#21 Post by Gerhard P. » October 17th, 2019, 10:02 am

Rudi Finkler wrote:
October 16th, 2019, 11:54 pm
newhere

You are completely right, Gerhard, but if there is one exception, why not a second exception? :-)
... because it´s not 1855 anymore ... pileon

Seriously, if we remember the fuss in St.Emilion, what would a new classification bring us in value?
Nothing - except still higher prices ... see Angelus and Pavie ...
it´s already sad what happened to Laville-HB after renaming it LMHB blanc ... who can and will afford such a bottle for 600/700/900+

I think the well informed freaks here each have already their own classification in mind, and they might or might not include Chateaux like Palmer, Las Cases, La Mission, Ducru ... as FGs ... it doesn´t matter much ...

Pomerol lives very well without any classification - and everybody knows that L´Evangile usually is a wine of higher class that ... let´s say L´Enclos ... [cheers.gif]

Discussing here is fun - and one thing ... another thing would be to put it on a label officially ... (nightmare)
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Re: TN: 1976 Mouton, 1988 Cos d’Estournel

#22 Post by P@u1_M3nk3s » October 17th, 2019, 3:16 pm

Gerhard P. wrote:
October 17th, 2019, 10:02 am
Rudi Finkler wrote:
October 16th, 2019, 11:54 pm
newhere

You are completely right, Gerhard, but if there is one exception, why not a second exception? :-)
... because it´s not 1855 anymore ... pileon

Seriously, if we remember the fuss in St.Emilion, what would a new classification bring us in value?
Nothing - except still higher prices ... see Angelus and Pavie ...
it´s already sad what happened to Laville-HB after renaming it LMHB blanc ... who can and will afford such a bottle for 600/700/900+

I think the well informed freaks here each have already their own classification in mind, and they might or might not include Chateaux like Palmer, Las Cases, La Mission, Ducru ... as FGs ... it doesn´t matter much ...

Pomerol lives very well without any classification - and everybody knows that L´Evangile usually is a wine of higher class that ... let´s say L´Enclos ... [cheers.gif]

Discussing here is fun - and one thing ... another thing would be to put it on a label officially ... (nightmare)
Very well stated!
Cheers,
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Re: TN: 1976 Mouton, 1988 Cos d’Estournel

#23 Post by David Kubiak » November 2nd, 2019, 3:15 pm

At a wine dinner once I was to my great surprise put next to Mons. Cazes, who said that none of the estates had the slightest interest in altering the 1855 classification no matter how good the wine they were making was (and we were drinking the '89 Lynch-Bages at the time), precisely because they considered it a museum piece, to be treated as such and not messed about with.

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Re: TN: 1976 Mouton, 1988 Cos d’Estournel

#24 Post by Rudi Finkler » November 3rd, 2019, 8:31 am

It’s all very well for him... :-)
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Re: TN: 1976 Mouton, 1988 Cos d’Estournel

#25 Post by William Kelley » November 3rd, 2019, 11:06 am

Rudi Finkler wrote:
October 15th, 2019, 11:30 pm
I have never understood why Mouton was elevated to First Growth status and none of the so called Super Seconds, Palmer included. If any, a more flexible classification would certainly be appropriate. In my view, however, the outdated 1855 classification belongs in a museum. [berserker.gif]
Not to defend the 1855 classification, which is indeed more than outdated, but I would venture that for the last 100 years or so, Mouton was all in all more consistently high quality than both Lafite and Margaux. Even Mouton's somewhat shaky period in the late 80s/early 90s cannot be compared with Lafite and Margaux's doldrums through the '60s and '70s.
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Re: TN: 1976 Mouton, 1988 Cos d’Estournel

#26 Post by Art R » November 5th, 2019, 9:32 am

William is surely correct about Lafite and the late Ginestet years at Margaux.
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Re: TN: 1976 Mouton, 1988 Cos d’Estournel

#27 Post by Arv R » November 8th, 2019, 11:21 pm

The 88 Cos has always seemed a bit more taut than years of comparable age. My last notes from a couple of years ago...

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Re: TN: 1976 Mouton, 1988 Cos d’Estournel

#28 Post by Kirk.Grant » November 9th, 2019, 2:38 am

YLee wrote:
October 15th, 2019, 10:30 am
I would have loved to try that '76
My understanding is that '76 wasn't a really good year in Bordeaux. It's my birth year and I've found it a tough year to find wines that aren't dessert wines that are still hanging on. I'm aware that the 1976 Grange is a legendary wine...but it's also commanding a legendary price. So are most reds from '76 that still show well.
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Re: TN: 1976 Mouton, 1988 Cos d’Estournel

#29 Post by Mark Golodetz » November 9th, 2019, 3:14 am

1976 was hot in Europe, very hot. I remember taking a lot of cold baths in England to keep cool. The winemakers did not really know how to cope with the conditions, and only the wealthy had cooling on their tanks, so fermentation temperatures were high. Many wines showed jam initially with low acidity, a combination that is not good for longevity.
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Re: TN: 1976 Mouton, 1988 Cos d’Estournel

#30 Post by Jeff Leve » November 9th, 2019, 8:40 am

Mark Golodetz wrote:
October 16th, 2019, 9:50 am
La Mission, which you may argue is not a super second, but if Haut Brion is a First Growth, then LMHB undoubtedly should have been considered for elevation.
As long as you are correcting things, LMHB cannot be elevated as it is not part of the 1855 Classification neener

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Re: TN: 1976 Mouton, 1988 Cos d’Estournel

#31 Post by Jeff Leve » November 9th, 2019, 8:47 am

FWIW, every chateau has its ups and downs, sometimes lasting for decades. Since 2005, Mouton has been among the best of Bordeaux, at the level of any First Growth. In fact, they are IMO, potentially at the peak of the Firsts Growths today. Not only that but their second wine, Petit Mouton, is perhaps the best second wine in Bordeaux today, rivaling Forts de Latour.

As far as the 1855 Classification, when you consider it's about 165 years old and it was never intended to remain in place, remembering it was created in a few weeks, generally speaking, "much" of 1855 still holds true today.

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Re: TN: 1976 Mouton, 1988 Cos d’Estournel

#32 Post by Mark Golodetz » November 9th, 2019, 11:09 am

Jeff Leve wrote:
November 9th, 2019, 8:40 am
Mark Golodetz wrote:
October 16th, 2019, 9:50 am
La Mission, which you may argue is not a super second, but if Haut Brion is a First Growth, then LMHB undoubtedly should have been considered for elevation.
As long as you are correcting things, LMHB cannot be elevated as it is not part of the 1855 Classification neener
Of course it can be elevated; from a non growth to a first growth. I can be elevated to become the Pope [dance-clap.gif]
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Re: TN: 1976 Mouton, 1988 Cos d’Estournel

#33 Post by Jeff Leve » November 9th, 2019, 12:09 pm

Mark Golodetz wrote:
November 9th, 2019, 11:09 am
Jeff Leve wrote:
November 9th, 2019, 8:40 am
Mark Golodetz wrote:
October 16th, 2019, 9:50 am
La Mission, which you may argue is not a super second, but if Haut Brion is a First Growth, then LMHB undoubtedly should have been considered for elevation.
As long as you are correcting things, LMHB cannot be elevated as it is not part of the 1855 Classification neener
Of course it can be elevated; from a non growth to a first growth. I can be elevated to become the Pope [dance-clap.gif]
I suspect LMHB has a better chance of being promoted than you becoming Pope😁

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Re: TN: 1976 Mouton, 1988 Cos d’Estournel

#34 Post by Mark Golodetz » November 9th, 2019, 5:14 pm

It wouldn’t be the first time a nice Jewish boy became head of the Christian church.
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Re: TN: 1976 Mouton, 1988 Cos d’Estournel

#35 Post by Rudi Finkler » November 9th, 2019, 11:34 pm

If I were the Pope, I would make La Mission and Pape Clément my favorite altar wines and ban the 1855 classification. :)
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