TN: 1988 Leoville Las Cases

Today this wine and I are the same age! Great way to celebrate 30 years. Interesting 1988 fact: 1988 was the year that CERN first started discussing the idea of the world wide web.

There is always debate about how soon to open mature bottles, so for what its worth, I opened 30 minutes prior to drinking and decanted off the sediment. It smelled and tasted open and ready, so I covered the decanter’s opening (I’m sure this was just me trying to be controlling and having no effect). Turns out the sediment had caked nicely on the side of the bottle during its time in my cellar and not even the 4 days of standing upright touched it.

Anyways onto the wine. Classic darker fruit characters still very much present, but the forefront to this wine was a savory, kalamata olive note. I served it with beef braised down with herbs de Provence and they really brought out a thyme/rosemary note in the wine. There was a nice bit of acidity left and the tannins were still fairly present but smooth and velvety. Interesting and tasty, but improved by the food pairing for sure. 92pts

Bonus TN: 2014 Old Forrester Birthday Bourbon

Paired with brownie for dessert. Bottle has been open for about 6 months and was brought to dinner by a friend. 97 proof but smooth and sweet. Vanilla, mild clove and baking spice. Goes down dangerously easy. chocolate actually accentuated the vanilla of the bourbon. 95pts.

Nice note Matt. My wife and I are opening a 1988 Mouton for our 30th anniversary next week. We’ve got a few years on you! The opening and decanting thing remains a bit of a mystery even after all these years. I think the effect of air exposure has more to do with evaporation of volatile compounds at different rates rather than compounds reacting with oxygen, so maybe re-covering the decanter was effective.

My routine is to open the wine ahead and take a small taste. If it smells and tastes good I put the cork back in until ready to decant off the sediment. Or if taking it to a restaurant I’ll double decant and replace the cork.

If it’s not so good on opening I’ll decant, pour a small glass and let the wine sit exposed to air and go back for a sniff and maybe a taste every 30-60 minutes until it seems ready. Then it goes back in the cleaned bottle with a cork in it.

Happy early anniversary! I would have probably preferred to just recork it and let it sit in the bottle an extra 20 minutes until I poured it with how it smelled, but unfortunately the second the first prong of my Ah-So hit the cork it was already sliding further down the neck (it also actually bubbled as soon as the prong started to work its way between the cork and the bottle? I’m assuming thats why it slipped so easily) but in the end i had to push the cork through.

For the record, I did figure out how to get the cork back out in one piece today though, which im pretty proud of! looped the thin wire of a grill thermometer into the neck and around the far end of the cork, pulled and prayed. i was pretty surprised with how well it worked!

Happy birthday, Matt! I couldn’t find much to drink from 1977 when I turned 40 last year (I’m not really a port guy).
Just curious, as you’re a relatively young “wino”, what got you into wine? For me it was my girlfriend’s pretentious brother-in-law. He introduced us to Bordeaux, Rioja, and Burgundy. He was a snob about it (and I will admit, generous), but I discovered a taste for good red wine, particularly old world wines.
I have some 2005 Leoville Las Cases that I salivate over every time I see it in the off-site storage. I probably should try a bottle soon, although I hear it’ll reach it’s peak when I’m 120. Cheers!

Sounds like a wonderful bottle, the bourbon, no so for me. I’ve always noticed a Bordeaux-Scotch, Cali Cab-Bourbon correllation. I’m the former. Have others noticed that? I find most bourbon too sweet and too oaky.

Chris, stay away from that 2005 LLC. Show some restraint, boy! It’s a baby.


I have a similar preference for Bordeaux/Scotch, but I can also enjoy California Cab/Bourbon. I guess I’m just not as far out on the end of the preference spectrum. Or I’m just oblivious, with the palate of a yak.

I tend to be someone who wants to know everything I can about subjects I am into. the sheer depth of information there is about wine out there initially was too intimidating to me, so I really kind of avoided wine. eventually though, I had a few wines that I couldn’t ignore the impact of them (2010 Trotanoy and 1986 Chateau Canon chiefly). they convinced me that being able to replicate experiences like that was worth getting into, and the learning is a challenge now instead of an intimidation. above all else, I think it took just being around a few people that are passionate but not snobby about wine and hearing how they talk about it. now I try to make sure people know that its not about knowing everything or a right or wrong style, but drinking what you enjoy, because that was what turned the leaf for me.

I am sure that '05 Las Cases has a long life ahead of it, but I bet its pretty enjoyable at this point already. I love the idea of having a few bottles to follow over its lifetime. At this point I’m still learning so much and see so many things out there I wanna try I have trouble convincing myself to invest in several bottles of the same thing! haha

thats interesting. I guess I am the exception that proves the rule on this one, because I’m not a huge fan of scotch or the archetypal Cali Cab. I can definitely see the correlation though, as there is a ton more flavor crossover between those two pairs.

for me, bourbon is what whiskey should taste like because it was where I started to get an appreciation for finer spirits (and, cuz, MURCA, right?) and I want my whiskey to taste like whiskey (not earth or soil), and my wine to taste like wine (not american oak). I also tend to drink wine with appetizers and entrees and bourbon with dessert, so the sweetness and vanilla works really well.

Ha, I want my whisky to taste like peat moss, but I also like the wet mossy feel of Pomerol. I also like the whisky/Northern Rhone iodine note as well. I like some Speysides and Highland malts as well, but really prefer Islay. I think of Levet like I think of Laphraoig.

Maybe I’m an outlier, but I drink quite a bit of California Cab (though I do like Bordeaux), and I much prefer Scotch to Bourbon.

Islay all the way! I’ve tried many of the Islay whiskies, Ardbeg being my favorite. I had in my possession a bottle of '82 Port Ellen at one point, and opened it after closing on my first condo. That was a special bottle. I’ll wait on the LLC as long as I can!