Anecdotal Evidence That 'Parkerized' Wines Can Age Well?

I used to joke that the best way to enjoy Marquis Philips’ wines was over shaved ice. But when I revisited a lot of these wines a decade later, I found most to be surprisingly balanced and enjoyable. With the string about Aussie wines that is currently running, it would seem that I’m not alone with this experience. So it would appear, at least at the 10-15 year mark, wines that were originally hot, highly extracted, and low acid have the ability to age into enjoyable, if not profound examples of their origin. With the endless speculation that the destiny of this type of wine making would be the exactly the opposite, this early anecdotal evidence to the contrary should be worthy of consideration in regard to the longer termed aging potential of this style of wines. What do you think?

I find Australia to be similar to many other areas - the producer really matters. I’ve had transcendent bottles from Jasper Hill, Tahblik, Mount Mary, Henschke, Penfolds (only Grange), Jasper Hill, & Leeuwin Estate to name a few. I’ve also had my share of disgusting bottles. I can say the same thing about Bordeaux, Tuscany, California, Washington, Piedmont, Spain, Rhone, etc.

We had a great NZ/AU dinner in Chicago a couple months ago and in my CT write up I wrote, “I don’t drink much Australian or New Zealand wines, and am always so surprised by what I’m missing. Many of the wines were elegant, fresh, and deep once again shattering all those stereotypes floating around my head.” I’m certainly guilty of getting caught up in negativity surrounding Australia - the deeper I’ve looked, the more I’ve liked.

Michael - I wouldn’t consider the GREAT bottles I’ve had to be “parkerized”, so while I’m not 100% sure about your question, I’ve generally been happy with my continued exploration of Australia.

I think this totally has to do with site.

One caveat to me, wines that are heavily unbalanced when young will probably never be balanced. Wines that are 15+% alcohol will always need something to buffer this. Most of the hotter years wines have this kind of stuffing. One persons young hot wine is another’s fruit jam beauty.

I am sure that most age perfectly well but that is more related to site to me after a while and not winemaking as long as no funny stuff was applied which might affect balance.

Wines from 1949, 1959 and other hot vintages are utterly spectacular now. Parker wasn’t even around then. These are higher alcohol wines with lots of body. These wines were probably made in the style you describe because that is what the vineyard and weather gave them. They were Parkerized before Parker came around.

I think many of the 2003s from Europe are going to turn out like this with lots of time FWIW.

I’ve been impressed that Bordeaux from supposedly too-hot, too-ripe years seems to turn into real Bordeaux after 15+ years.

Had a big surprise at a dinner a number of years ago when someone poured an Elderton Command Shiraz blind for the group. I can’t recall the particular vintage but I do remember that it had been the poster child for over-oaked Aussie Shiraz on release. The bottle showed really well, with the oak integrated and the wine showing really nice balance.

That, plus a few examples in the other Aussie thread, certainly show that wines can surprise us. But they are just a few anecdotal examples. Pretty hard to make blanket statements based on a small sample size.

I had a 97 Bryant on NYE which I thought might make me gag but it didn’t.

Does that count?

I’ve had Copain (old style) and Pax syrahs from the 2003 on that seemed to evolve well. Just drank a 2005 Saxum Bone Rock that was evolving nicely. I have some Albans from 2003 or so that I need to tee up.

Not enough age on these to draw any definitive conclusions, obviouisly, but they do appear on the right track.

93 Colgin Herb Lamb Vineyard…I was quite apprehensive about opening this…turns out I hit the jackpot.

Don, I am not sure that “Parkerized before Parker” actually holds any water (as much as I love the phrase). Your point about hot-weather vintages and making what nature dealt is right, but “Parkerized by nature” and “Parkerized by design” must surely be two different things. The 1947 Cheval Blanc was not crafted for early drinking, eh? It was a freak even within its vintage…

The question is, were the wines merely drinkable, or were they astonishing? I’ll bet it was the first.
I’ve had plenty of experience with well stored examples of “Parkerized” wine, and while they were drinkable to good, not were great (or better than that). I found the wines only complex in fruit flavors, and not really much else after that. (this solely pertains to New World wines)

Whether or not a “Parkerized” wine can age is less relevant than you think. What is perhaps more relevant is the wine that was made in place of the traditional wine: the Rostaing that was made in place of the Gentaz; the new style Palmer made in place of the glorious old; the Rolland Figeac in place of the tradition of Theirry Manoncourt; etc…

Are all of these modernized wines going to be dreadful syrup comprised unbalanced fruit? Probably not. Will they be as good as they could have been? For the sites that have true terroir, the growing consensus is no. For those fakers that rube’d Parker into thinking their wines are profound? Those wines weren’t going to be good anyways.

What Faryan wrote.

As for the early Pax wines, those who like the way they have developed have different taste in wine than I do. Same for the hugetastic Aussies lauded for the way they have aged in another current thread.

A question for those who like the way the ‘Parkerized’ wines age? Have they improved, stayed the same, or declined since release? If they have improved, in what ways?

With time, the wines become more integrated and balanced as well as showing some tertiary development.

What do you mean by tertiary?

From the always great Gahan Wilson in the current issue of The New Yorker

In my experience, these wines generally become dominated by alcohol and oak aromas and flavors. I bought a bunch because I thought they tasted pretty good on release and would hopefully improve the way you find that they do. In my opinion, they haven’t. I’ve sold almost all of the Aussie and US wines of this type that I owned and don’t regret it. I still have hope for post 2001 Shafer Hillside, but not much. In the past 18 months I’ve sold almost 1500 bottles of Cali Cults and Rhones. I bailed on the huge Aussies several years ago and consider myself fortunate to have recouped what I did.

I like wines with natural acidity, as I drink wine with meals. In my opinion, high fruit, high abv, high oak, low acid wines don’t drink well with food. If a wine isn’t a refreshing beverage with a meal, I don’t want to drink it. YMMV.

Astute point as always, Faryan. Dead on correct, IMHO.

I bought a few bottles of the Marquis Phillips S2 and Shiraz 9 a few years ago at close-out pricing. Based on my experience, including a recent bottle, I still don’t feel that I got a great deal. I wish I could say differently – I’m thrilled whenever I enjoy undervalued wines. Granted, I don’t drink much in this style and may be more sensitive to high alcohol than the average drinker. YMMV and it appears that it did!


Or, one might add, today’s Napa cabs versus the BV, Mondavi, Phelps etc. from the 70s and (maybe) 80s.

I wouldn’t worry about cab-based wines cracking up. For them the issue is whether they will become more interesting.

But for the lower-acid, higher-alcohol Southern Rhones, Priorats, Ribera del Dueros, West Coast pinots and zins, in many cases I think they will crack up. I’ve certainly had some Turley zins and some Clos Mogadors that have – they fell flat on their oaky, alcoholic faces. I’m glad someone else had shelled out the bucks for those.

At the lower end of the price scale, examples that may be familiar are the notorious Sierra Carche from Jumilla and the Domaine la Garrigue “Cuvee Romaine” Cotes du Rhone, which had a high failure rate after a year or so in some vintages.

This is tertiary: jbray23 wrote:
I’m fairly confident that in 10 years people will be kicking themselves and scurrying to backfill as they will realize that all of that oak and fruit has been absorbed and the wines will show really well…

It can happen. From early 2002, my first note on 1998 Astralis:

“Yup. They had some to try. Well, it’s got the nose. Monumental hardwood/evergreen, mint, pepper nose. Ohmigod…I’m seeing stars!! It’s so RICH, so unctuous. Yeah, pepper, yeah, blackberry, yeah, black cherry and oak. But it’s so sweet and rich, like a hundred things are just under your palate. On reflection, it was definitely the best wine here. I’ve never tasted anything like it…you don’t swallow this stuff, it swallows you. I remarked to friends that you need a fork to eat it with. Filet Mignon or Venison in a rich sauce are the only things that even stand a chance. Otherwise, drink it a capella and luxuriate.”

Then, 7 years later, tasted blind at a La La and similar-stature comparative tasting:

“First one starts with funk and barnyard, maybe even a little merde, motor oil too. But there are fruits underneath and some of that definitely blows off after a short time so that we get good cherry and plum fruit. My,my–hits the mouth with blueberry and brush, this is pretty, elegant and fairly refined. Another Ermitage maybe? W-O-W. Never in a MILLION years would I have guessed this is the 1998 Clarendon Hills Astralis Shiraz. The last time I had this some 6 years ago, it was certainly delicious, but so thick and concentrated you could eat it with a spoon. I am truly amazed at the transformation this wine has undergone. Humberto brought this, many, many thanks for allowing me to check in on one of my earlier wine loves. I’m still shaking my head this morning wondering if it was a dream. It was that different from what I had the last time.”

So point certainly taken

Wow I remember that night. Been too long. Time to do it again soon. If I remember correctly Loren pegged it as aussie. Everyone else was all over the place :slight_smile:

2003 Domaine de la Mordoree Reine des Bois CDP drunk last week was rich, but not hot or lacking freshness; really delicious! 2003 Pegau Reservee wasn’t quite as well composed, but still a pleasure to drink: really big, slightly raisiny without being port like. It did show a smidge of volatile acidity intermittently that made it slightly disjointed compared to the Reine des Bois.

I can’t offer a ton of insight on this topic, but i will say that 2004 Cali Pinots are just starting to come around.