Blind tasting is always fun. Two nights ago, we had a wine dinner theme of 10+ year old French wines. The blind tasting format made us think harder and we all ended up appreciating the wine much more. I will first talk about the three Bordeaux oldies we had. When combined, these three wines are at 108 years old and all came from outstanding vintages.
Clive Coates, MW wrote in his book, The Wines of Bordeaux, that "1966 is at its best in St. Julien and Pauillac. Ducru-Beaucaillou is the plum of the first commune." This statement was proven correctly with Ducru Beaucaillou 1966 we tasted two nights ago. The wine was surprisingly young and vibrant, with mature nose and with good load of red and black fruit. The color of the wine suggested it was old, but we were mostly guessing it coming from 80s or 70s. Hard to imagine this was made 48 years ago.
It does need the time to open up though. We opened the wine at 530pm, poured a glass and put the cork back on to allow further breathing in the bottle. When we finally tasted it around 930pm, it was just perfect, luckily!
1982 is the legendary vintage. Some considered it not even vintage of the century, but vintage of the millennium.Compared with Ducru Beaucaillou 1966, a good contrast was the Leoville-Barton 1982. The aroma was very simlar to the Ducru Beaucaillou 1966 in the glass. Tannin is soft but the wine is still full of good energy thanks to the acidity. There is no doubt that this meaty St. Julien can live much much longer, easily another 15 years or so.
In hindsight, we should have opened the wine much earlier in late afternoon, or even decanted it before the meal. If you are lucky to have this 1982 beauty, no rush of opening it (although it is already enjoyable now). We all hope to see this wine this wine at its 48-year-old birthday.
Last wine of the night was Pape-Clement 1986. 1986 ranks with 1982 and 1990 as the best vintages of the decade. In Graves, Pape Clement 1986 was actually rated much higher than Haut-Brion 1986 and La-Mission Haut-Brion 1986 by Clives Coates, MW. For enjoyment today, Pape Clement 1986 is definitely at its right place. It presented a Graves aroma of tobacco and cigar. Balanced with well-integrated tannin, the wine still has plenty of fruit left with acidity for age further. A fully mature, lovely, interesting wine indeed. Grab some if you find any and enjoy it from now till end of the decade.
Prior to the Bordeaux, we had an interesting encounter comparing a Roumier’s Burgundy and a Rayas’ Rhone. Surprisingly, it could be difficult to distinguish them. Stay tuned for next week.