Aging dry white Bordeaux.

I had never had a fully aged white Bordeaux, but maybe I have and I just don’t know what fully aged really means. I have one of these left. The last one I had was New Year’s Eve 2014. If you have to guess what is the perfect aging point for this one, or for white Bordeaux generally.

  • 1995 Château Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc - France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan (12/31/2014)
    Popped and poured on day 1, then recorked, put in a refrigerator, and the second half of the bottle was finished on Day 2. A bit better on day 2 than day 1, but very close. Just a bit more feeling of depth.

This wine has now moved from “I don’t know why I bought this, it’s too bitter” to “not a bad wine as a change of pace from Chardonnay” to “This is now outstanding.” Smokey, meaty white fruit. Sound like an odd mix? Yes, it is. There is a tiny bit of tropical fruit, but that’s the only component reminiscent of Sauvignon Blanc, and there’s very little of that. Semillion? Who knows? I’m not sufficiently familiar with it.

The learning here is age. 19 year old white Bordeaux is outstanding. Older? I do not think this wine is on the down slope yet. Still never had an Haut Brion Blanc, but this was worth the wait. (92 pts.)

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If this is any indication, I’d suggest that you probably have another decade +

  • 1981 LaCour Pavillon Blanc - France, Bordeaux (11/10/2019)
    This is F-ing ridiculous!! A deep golden yellow in the Zalto Universal. This leads with butterscotch, chamomile tea, and honey comb on the nose. Open close to 90 minutes now and this just keeps getting better. There is no perceptible acidity, but it is just plain lovely. The Semillon seams to be screaming out. There’s a lemony richness in the mid palate that just explodes and unloads enough tropical fruits to justify a fruit salad. Outstanding!!!

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Sometimes it’s easier to ask yourself, “what would François Audouze do?”.


Had a 2000 Ygrec recently that I thought was a trifle past peak but still wonderful. I prefer dry white Bordeaux to have more obvious fruit

2000 d’Yquem 'Ygrec’
Interestingly there was no fruit, just sweet, waxy, honeyed white flowers, and a powerful hit of buttered popcorn as the wine warmed up, the whole experience enhanced by a sense of weight and lovely textural thickness; though wide and inviting to start, this converges nicely to an elegant, refreshing finish; a good reminder that Bordeaux whites can be pretty damn good - I wish older Ygrec was easier to source; very good minus

Happy to read these posts. I recently picked up a 2001 Laville Haut Brion and was worried it might be over the hill.

Question for the group; Does white Bordeaux go through a dumb phase like whites from Northern Rhone?

Yes it tends to.

Serious question, but sort of tongue in cheek–any concern of premox for aging white Bordeaux?

well, I’m not sure that one can say premox happens in white Bordeaux, please check with the trade. [snort.gif]
But I will say assuming decent conditions/storage, I am far more confident buying pre-1994 white Bordeaux than mid90s thru aughts. I’ve had dozen+ of bottles of 80s LavilleHB and DDC in last 3 years, some better than others, none tired. But I’ve had very advanced 1994 and 1998 HBB, tired (and not tired) '96 DDC, etc. 2001 La Louviere were half great, half dead about 6-10 years ago.

I’m a big fan of aged white bordeaux, although it’s difficult to find in the US (outside of very high-end wines). In 2015 I had two bottles of 1998 Larrivet Haut Brion that made me a believer in the ageability of reasonably priced white bordeaux from the right producers. That said, I think that producers / vintages with more semillon tend to age much better (or at least more to my preference) than bottles that are primarily SB.

I think probably so. So few of us drink so little of it, like white Rhone and other ageable white wines, that we haven’t accumulated the shared stories about it like we have with Burgundy.

I don’t think anyone has much of a feel for the rate or which producers or whatever though.

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More than once, John Gilman has posted here that yes, there sure is:

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I had a 1929 La Mission Haut Brion blanc a few years ago , still a stunning wine . Some of these wines can age forever

2021 - 1995 = 25+ years

He drank it in '14

this is a recent tasting note…“the last one i had in 2014…”

But he wrote that in 2014.
“The learning here is age. 19 year old white Bordeaux is outstanding” is part of his Dec 31, 2014 TN.

The Sauternes/Barsac region now is making more blanc, given that its so hard to sell the sweet wines, and the dry whites are easier to make. (noted upthread on the Ygrec comment) They can’t use the AOC name in selling it though.

I just pulled a 2010 blanc from Sigalas Ribaud, and will have it soon. I don’t really care much for the category, but sort of dutifully have a random bottle or two every year.

There are some wh.Bx. than can improve over decades, but only a few: HB, Laville-HB (now LMHB bl), DdChevalier, Fieuzal, maybe Pape Clement, Malartic-L, LT-Martillac, not so sure about SHL or Carbonnieux … rather not Olivier, Clos Floridene or La Louviere … those are best up to 15-20 years.
But I had some stunning HB and Laville from the 50ies, 60ies …

The note was written in 2014 and the wine was a 1995. I know you artsy people are math-challenged, but 2014-1995=19.

Face Palm. :frowning: I forgot about Ygrec. I did have this bottle at 37 years old (2016-1979) that I shared in SF with Rath and AA and a few others:

  • 1979 Lur-Saluces “Y” - France, Bordeaux, Bordeaux Supérieur (12/5/2016)
    Pop and pour at Les Clos in San Francisco with assorted Berserkers. Purchased at an Acker Internet auction about 6 years ago. Golden yellow with a hint of orange but lighter than a comparably aged Yquem. The nose was expressive floral with pineapple. The palate was like a dry Yquem- there was citrus, pineapple, some tropical fruit and spicy botrytis. It opened up more as it took on air over two hours and warmed a bit. The finish filled the mouth for a long time and you could taste it well after it was gone. Another Acker auction gamble that paid off.

My general comment is that if this is an example of a well-aged white Bordeaux blend, an aged dry Haut Brion, which is supposed to be the top of the pyramid, must be absolutely phenomenal. (93 pts.)

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