Do you treat old Bordeaux like Burgundy?

Do those of you experienced with old Bordeaux tend to treat them like Burgundy? I was thinking that the delicacy of these wines might warrant that. By “treat like Burgundy”, I mean drinking them out of big Burgundy stems. Or do you stick to Bordeaux stems?

Not my forte, but we use the Grassl Cru for Borgeaux as well as Burgundy. And I prefer the Zalto Bordeaux stem to the Zalto Burg stem for both Bordeaux and Pinot Noir(Burgundy or otherwise).

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Old Bordeaux isn’t especially delicate. But why would delicate wines require big glasses?

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the zalto bordeaux glass looks like a classic burgundy glass and the zalto burgundy glass looks like a very drunk bordeaux glass.

i doubt this information is useful, and for that i apologize.


Oh I don’t know. Just thinking that the more delicate aromas might develop more nicely in a bigger bowl. But that is 100% conjecture, which is why I turned to the forum here.

The real motivation behind my question is that I have some nice older Bordeaux that I’d like to open soon-ish. I am very much looking forward to trying them. I’ve got some really nice Burgundy stems, but only so-so Bordeaux stems. Wondering which ones would best to serve the old Bordeaux. Maybe the solution is to buy nice Bordeaux stems!

Not sure what it is you consider old, but I would think that the more “delicate” a wine is, the more controlled it needs to be to exposure to air. Probably why a lot of old Burgs aren’t decanted.

Just as Bordeaux needs to go into straight tall bottles, a Bordeaux stem should be used.
Call me a traditionalist.

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Require is a particularly strong word. No wine really requires a glass at all(I know this to be true from my mispent youth).


Nothing wrong with that. And in multiple tastings of glassware, good Bordeaux stems do not fare well at all with Pinot Noir. Zalto excepted for the excellent reason Yaacov noted.

In terms of glassware, wider bowls bring out the pyrazine aromas inherent to the Cabernet-family varieties, so I find more classically tulip-shaped Bordeaux glasses work better.

It depends how you define “old”, but I have found, repeatedly, that wines from good vintages back to at least the 1950s benefit from aeration in a decanter. Wine that can seem lean, or even a little tired, “pop” and display much more fruit and mid-palate volume after decanting. I think people are often too afraid to try it, and thus never see what some of these wines have to offer. Of course, all that’s negated if you stir up all the sediment, so proceed carefully.


I used the Riedel Vinum Bordeaux glass for Bordeaux and the Riedel Vinum Burgundy glass for Burgundy.

I defer to both your knowledge and experience, but it seems to me decanting a 40-70 year old Burgundy to be quite a craps shoot. I’d be inclined to follow it in the glass. Would make an interesting poll.

The thread is about Bordeaux, not Burgundy, but I assume that’s just a typo on your part?

The results of the poll would only be interesting if people who have never done it, and thus have no salient experience, were excluded from responding.

Noah–tell us how old your Bordeaux is. My guess is you’ll want to decant it for an hour or two as described above, and use a standard bordeaux stem.

I drink an abundance of Bordeaux. No I would not drink out of a “burgundy” glass. And, in my humble opinion, it is not delicate or fragile. Clearly, there are anomalies but as a rule NO.

The poll would not be whether you are correct or not, but would they take the chance.

I suspect most wouldn’t/don’t.

I used to be quite risk averse about decanting myself, and it was only in playing around with multiple bottles of the same wine that I learnt otherwise. One wine I opened a lot of, in bottles and magnums, was the 1970 Pape Clément. A little thin and even metallic when popped and poured, we figured out that, for a magnum, after about five hours decant, it became, if not quite a fruit bomb, at the very least a fleshy, dramatic, lush wine. It was in its prime after a decant, but on opening one could easily have thought it a bit long in the tooth. I think wines like this are the biggest casualties of not decanting, as they present a totally different and much less interesting personality without aeration. A wine such as 1961 Haut-Brion or 1982 Lafleur certainly gains a lot with decanting, too, but is at least obviously great whether popped-and-poured or decanted, so you’re not going to miss its quality either way.

Not decanting old Bordeaux off sediment and then letting it open are both mistakes in my experience. 1970 Pape Clement, per WK above and also one of my favorite birth year wines still, is one of innumerable examples why. They are not delicate wines unless the bottle is already a goner. Of course, you can sample along the way.

Drink your Bordeaux in a Bordeaux glass. You won’t regret it. Or better for your education, try side by side with a Burg bowl. You will experience the difference. No reason to deprive yourself of the side by side experience by locking yourself into one path or the other in advance.


The bolded sentence captures my experience exactly. I can’t recall any sound older red wines I’ve opened in the past 5 years that have not benefitted from a gentle decant, including a number of Bordeaux and Barolos that were 35 or more years old.

As for glasses, I’ve tried most of them, including all of the Zaltos and Grassls, and I keep finding that I prefer Gabriel Glas Golds with everything, particularly with a tasting pour. However, I discovered tonight that I like the Grassl 1855 for cognac.

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I am most concerned about a 1964 Chateau Latour. I got this bottle at a ridiculously discount because of the low fill level- there’s a decent chance it’s a bottle of vinegar. The shop owner, who I think really knows his stuff, said that if the wine is intact it will be very fragile, should not be decanted, and he even recommended to put a stopper into the bottle between pours in order to halt the ingress of oxygen. So this is the wine I was originally referring to when I was wondering about the Burgundy stems.

But I also have a few bottles from the earlier to mid 80s. I was curious about those as well.

Thanks for all the suggestions!