We gathered again in Bill’s friend’s chilly basement wine cellar on a bright and sunny Saturday afternoon (first time the sun has showed its face in Chicago in nearly 2 weeks). Our tasting theme for the day: old Bordeaux. Bill’s cache of 8 Bordeaux’s he’d brought for the day’s tasting was a partial payment for helping a friend catalog her old wine collection.
1986 Talbot St-Julien (Vineyard breakdown: 66CS 26M 8PV) (Actual wine breakdown: 70CS 25M 5CF)
4th growth, auction price ~$200
We kicked off with the 1986s. This wine, like all the rest that followed, had a beautiful deep red color, without a hint of the brick. It had a lively nose, with fruit and earth, but the body was austere, and tasted kind of musty. Bill’s words: “liquid tea leaf”
1986 Clerc-Milon Pauillac (Vineyard breakdown: 49CS 37M 11CF 2PV 1Car)
5th growth, auction price ~$200
This vineyard is smack between Lafite and Mouton, but classified as a 5th growth only. Nonetheless, WS gave it 97 points; RP 90. The body was a tease – a most fleeting sensation of fruit, before it disappeared into nothingness. Thank goodness I didn’t part with $200 for this.
1994 Pontet-Canet Pauillac (Vineyard breakdown: 62CS 32M 5CF 1PV)
5th growth, auction price ~$105
Some black pepper in its nose; a bigger perfume than the 86s. Yet, the finish was bitter, with flavors of earth, gravel, and graphite, but no fruit.
1989 Chasse-Spleen Moulis-en-Medoc (Vineyard breakdown: 73CS 20M 7PV)
Non-classified growth, auction price ~$100
The most rounded finish of the line-up thus far. Great nose of cedarbox, cassis, graphite. Really enjoyed this one. Non-classified growth be damned.
1989 de Fieuzal Pessac-Leognan (Vineyard breakdown 48CS 48M 3CF 1PV) (Actual wine breakdown 60CS 30M…)
Some metal in the nose. At first taste, it was soft, with some fruit – tasted young, almost. But just as quickly, the finish tasted somewhat funky
1989 Beychevelle St-Julien (Vineyard breakdown 62CS 31M 5CF 2PV)
Nice! Great nose, body, and finish. Some tannins at the end, but still smooth. The bottle has a dragon boat on its label, and has consequently proven really popular with the Chinese market
1989 Gruaud-Larose St-Julien (Vineyard breakdown 57CS 31M 8CF 3PV 2Mc)
2nd growth, auction price $75-200
At this point, my notes were shorter, but much more enthusiastic: Good!!! Wow! Young tasting! Beautiful perfume
1989 Meyney St-Estephe (Vineyard breakdown: 61CS 26M 10PV 3CF)
Auction price ~$50
At $50 smackers, this one took the cake. Beautiful structure. Loved, loved it. 🙂
So glad that the 1989s were generally delicious – I was disappointed by the 86s and the 94, and wondering to myself what the big deal about Bordeaux was. Hehe.