What 1978 Bordeaux would be great now?

I don’t have a ton of experience with Bordeaux (especially compared to many on these boards!), but know enough and know that I love good Bordeaux. 1978 is my birth year, so I’d like to begin a search for a few 1978 Bordeaux that should still be drinking well. High on my priority list will be seeking out bottles with solid provenance, of course. I saw Matt Latuchie’s note on the '78 Leoville Barton, and that inspired me to write this post.

What '78s would you seek out if you’re looking for a great wine that will still be drinking well? Let me say that I’m not after First Growth stuff here, as the prices are too crazy. Any and all thoughts / recommendations are appreciated!

What’s your price point? There are many good options across a pretty wide range.

Good question. I’d like to stay under $250 if at all possible. I’d peek just about that for a great deal on a well-stored wine, but that’s the ballpark.

There are many good wines, La Mission maybe the wine of the vintage - some others also quite expensive …
for a good q/p ratio try Giscours …
also La Lagune, Gruaud-Larose, Pichon-Lalande are excellent …

'78 Ducru is a top 10 wine in my life. We had our first bottle at our wedding in 2006, and many since then. All have been great!

In addition to the other suggestions in this thread, Figeac and Trotanoy have both been good from this vintage in the last 5 years and are very long lasting right-bankers. For wine this old provenance is going to be key so expect to pay a little more for that. But with your budget you should have quite a few options.

BTW I’ve had the Cheval Blanc and it is lovely, but above your price range.

If you ask me, none. All 78 Bordeaux was better 5 years ago, and most were better 5 years before that. If it is a birth year wine, 78 La Tour Haut Brion or 78 La Mission Haut Brion.

1978 was particularly strong in the Margaux Commune and in Graves.

At the very high end of your range you can sometimes get Chateaux Margaux, and Palmer will be within budget.

For the rest of Margaux, you can pick up wines like Giscours, Rauzan Segla, Lascombes, D’Issan (and the other classfied growths) etc. for bargain prices. They won’t always be a hit, but i find them often very pleasing.


From the above mentioned Margaux Giscours is the best choice for the money …

Fwiw: Poujeaux 1978 from a very well stored bottle was really outstanding - but the bottle was pristine, fill into neck …!

That’s my feel too. I guess if someone put a gun to my head and said pick one - GPL is a tough, strong wine that year.

Take a flyer on some of the 78 California Cabs instead.

“GPL?” Can you clarify?

sorry – Grand Puy Lacoste

Jeff has more experience drinking ‘78s than me. But – he’s probably right, unless you just love very aged wine. Most the these bottles are going to be on the downside of their development. A fun thing to do would be to compare some of these producers’ efforts in '78 with an '85, '89 or '90. That’s the difference (now in 2016) between a possibly too old wine (the '78) and one in state of peak development (the rest). Or '96 for one approaching the peak. This would give your birth year wine some context.

By the way, many will recommend '82 (and rightly so – it was a fantastic year in Bordeaux) but I’ve found '82s to be very expensive relative to the other vintages I mentioned. Worth it? Maybe. But absolute cost still matters!

My wife’s birth year also so have had a lot.

Latour showed well about a year ago.
A lynch bages this weekend was very nice.
Leoville las cases, leoville Barton both declining. Chateau Margaux was meh but think that could have been provenance.
Pontet canet had a fresh bottle followed by a completely oxidized bottle the next day.
A bottle of ducru was only ok
Have definitely had a few others but nothing jumps out.

Haven’t tried Haut Brion or La Miss but heard both very good.

Have often done these head to head vs Cali and Cali is showing much better on average.

Well-stored '78s from successful chateau are going strong in my experience. Can’t say how they tasted 10 years ago but many haven’t really changed over the last 5 years. Lagune, Pichon Lalande, Domaine de Chevalier rouge, GPL, and others are all really really good. But I like my claret mature.

One that I really liked a few years ago was Domaine de Chevalier. Earlier this year, Leoville las Cases and Ducru were quite good.

Great input so far. I really like the idea of buying the same wine from a great vintage, but younger, for some context. With the CA recommendations, it might be fun to do a comparative tasting of several '78s. I already have a 1978 Chateau Ste. Michelle Cold Creek Vineyard Reserve Cab Sauv that has excellent fill level and solid provenance (it still could be dead, but we’ll see), so sourcing a great CA example as well as something from Bordeaux would be a great idea.

I’ve yet to be disappointed by a sound bottle of 78 from cali