Leve done me wrong (2004 Valandraud)

I find Jeff’s notes very useful. While we regularly (but by no means always) disagree about the quality of a wine, his notes rarely if ever leave me uncertain about the nature of the wine he tasted.

This is what he recently said about the 2004 Valandraud:

Probably past its peak, the medium bodied, soft wine seems to have lost some of its depth and fruit over the years. This requires drinking before it begins to truly fade away.

90 points - Tasted Aug 7, 2017

Valandraud isn’t a wine I know, so when I saw this I figured it was (past) time for me to open the two bottles I had in the cellar.

That wine ^^^ ain’t the wine I had. I am pleased to report that the wine I had last night has miles to go before it fades away. Indeed, it still had tannins to spare, and only really opened up after 3-4 hours, the last glass being the best.

And contrary to the producer’s rep, the wine was generous and full without being “unctuous” or thick. Still reasonably primary, the fruit was deep and dark but well short of over the top. It was, in fact, a great pleasure to drink.

This was my first bottle of Valandraud, and the second in the cellar is likely my last. I bought these on a very good 04 clearance sale – it looks as though I paid $58.25 – but the wine is now in a price range I would not touch (winesearchers tells me a replacement would be $135 or more). Plus, my experience with the 04 suggests that I would not like the wine in a year like 09, when its fruit-forward personality may well tip over the edge for me.

But I am really glad to have had the experience and glad to have another bottle in the cellar to drink (Jeff notwithstanding) in another 5 years or so.

no great wines, only great bottles??

Leve’s incessant cheerleading for premier cru and shouting down of anyone who said a bad word about them did a lot of people wrong.

I don’t recognize Jeff in this description in the slightest. “Shouting down?” No. He has his opinion, and he expresses it. He’s entitled to do so and to disagree with those who feel otherwise, including me. Grossly unfair in my view

'04 is a wonderful vintage, especially for left bank, good to see Righties r doing well also

I think Jeff prefers wines with full intensity. He doesn’t seem to like the sublime personality of aged wines too much. This is all about personal preferences. In my 35 years of enjoying Bordeaux I experienced that the wines almost ever have 3 lifes. The first is directly after bottling. In the first one or two years Bordeaux can be delicious with an almost overwhelming personality. From year 2 until 8 or 10 many wines are closed and tannic. The the second life starts when the wines open up and have their supposed peak which can last a pretty long time. After this period one may think the wine is steadily going downhill but that’s not the case many times. A lot of good Bordeaux starts a third life when the wines get sublime with a lighter body but complex flavors and aromatics. This can be very interesting for some wine lovers but not for all. I guess Jeff would say the wines are over the hill then. But they are not. They simply changed their personality.

I wouldn’t go as far as Monsieur Aoudouze who seems to think only really old wine is interesting. But IMO a Bordeaux from a good producer and a decent year is never over the hill after 10 or 15 years. I drank a 1997 Poujeaux a few days ago which was still a good wine and 1997 was a rather mediocre vintage. It was a light style of Medoc but that’s it. I wouldn’t say it was dead or whatever.

I’m not that high on 2004s, but I also think that both Pomerol and St. Emilion did as well as most Medoc communes abnd better than Graves and Margaux.

Funny u should mention…found a buried '97 Beau sejour becot buried in a back room of s local merchant…price tag $38…grabbed it and popped it that evening…who know Becot was classic back then??? Yes lean, but very charming with crazy crisp acid…
I really enjoyed it…wish I had more

Perhaps even ridiculous?