The wine is nice, very nice in fact. It is perfectly made, has all the correct Bordeaux characteristics; the dark cherry fruit, graphite, cedar, sweet tobacco, smooth tannins. I could probably nail this as a quality L Bank Bordeaux with my eyes closed, nose plugged, and tongue covered in Novocain. It is prototypical, ideal, hits every high point that it should. The wine goes down smooth, supple, all rough edges sanded down, and is completely inoffensive. Age has treated it nicely.
The wine is, in a certain way, the perfect Bordeaux. But it does not excite. It feels engineered and decided upon by consensus; conceived in a board room to fulfill the desires of the average Bordeaux drinker. It reminds me of an episode of the radio show This American Life where a research group creates the “perfect” American art piece, which turns out to be a landscape painting of a lake with 2 deer and George Washington that looks like it was done by Norman Rockwell; This Is America’s Most Wanted Painting | Artsy The painting is absurdly fascinating, appealing in an abstractly idealistic way, but ultimately cold and unemotional. This wine, somehow, is an, admittedly tasty, version of that painting. I guess what do I expect from the second wine of a gigantic Bordeaux powerhouse?
Not sure what I think about that for $250. Could be the perfect wine for an occasion where you want a great pairing but aren’t necessarily looking for an ephiphany like a steakhouse business dinner. Sounds kind of great in some ways though. I’ve certainly spent $250 on wine I wouldn’t call the perfect anything, though.
One more thing. The wine looks very youthful, but somehow loses steam after a couple of hours open. It doesn’t go off exactly, it just becomes less expressive. Muted overall. I generally find that youthful appearing wines will develop further with air, but somehow this does the opposite. Not sure what is going on, but I suggest PnP with this bottle. Also, it is a bit confusing when predicting further aging potential.
I’ve never been a big fan of second wines in general, but particularly not for the first growths. The quality vs price is lacking, and you’re getting the “leftovers” from the grand Vin. For $250, you can get some real left bank rockstars from the 2000 vintage: Pichon Lalande, Pichon Baron, Lynch Bages, Ducru Beaucaillou et al.
The second wine of a first growth versus the first wine of a second growth. Interesting question, and one that I plan to explore in a blind tasting post COVID. My gut is that Noah is absolutely correct here; that second wines are less exciting than the first wines, and as they tend to be more expensive, they seem to be a lousy value.