Wine Wednesday: Older Bordeaux Wines

Today is Wine Wednesday and I’m finally thinking about and desire to write about wine rather than the Italian crises. I got an email from Snooth this morning which mentioned a new website for Bordeaux.

A friend from Bordeaux was in town recently and as always I was reminded how charming the French and their wines can be. After so many years focusing on Italy, I sometimes feel that I am cheating on her when I write about my love of things French, even though France came first in my life.

About two months ago, I had the pleasure of attending a tasting hosted by Gregory Del Piaz of Old Bordeaux. Greg brought a number of wines from his cellar and a group of us tasted and compared views of the wines.

We tried wines from Chateau Meyney, Chateau Cos d’Estournel, and Chateau Lynch Bages. The vintages we tasted, although not of each wine, were 1986, 1988, 1989 and 1990.

I normally don’t drink aged Bordeaux sadly but that day did give me a clear profile of this group of wines. Of the vintages we tasted from Chateau Meyney, the 1989 impressed me more than the 1988 and the 1990.

The 1989 Chateau Meyney from St-Estèphe was still deep ruby red in color with persistent chocolate, meaty, earthy and cedar notes. It was harmonious and balanced with some black fruit. It tasted and smelled like a classic older Bordeaux I was told by the Bordeaux experts in the room.

The 1988 offered fewer nuanced aromas and flavors and the 1990 had a somewhat bitter finish and newer oak.The 1990 also has a liquored note while the 1988 had traces of Brett. I am not opposed to Brett but it is not a must for me either in terms of the tasting profile of these wines.

For more information on the estate, here’s a great write up I found on the Wine Doctor.

The second grouping that we tasted was a 1986 Chateau Lynch Bages, a 1986 Chateau Cos d’Estournel and the 1989 Chateau Cos d’Estournel. This grouping blew me away.

Lynch Bages is in Pauillac while Cos d’Estournel hails from St-Estèphe. They have different blends of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and other Bordeaux varietals (Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot for the most part). We compared a 1989 Cos with a 1986 Cos and a 1986 Lynch Bages. All three were spectacular. The 1986 Lynch Bages was my favorite of the three. It had ‘nothing to prove” one of my companion tasters noted. It was spectacular with a deep ruby red color, great acidity and alcohol, firm tannins, fruit, chocolate, leather, spice, you name it. It was exquisite. We also discussed whether the wine was about to go into it’s closed period,something wines do during their lives and concluded that it might go into a quiet phase soon although on that September night it was incredible.

The 1986 Cos also was fabulous in fact in my notes I wrote, “I’m happy” while tasting that wine. It was more luscious and floral, with exciting fruit notes and wonderful balance. It made me crave a steak then and there but I just ate an entire box of crackers.

When I compared the 1989 Cos to the 1989 Meyney, the Meyney won out surprising. I liked the traditional old world Bordeaux style of the Meyney more than the fuller Cos.

In all, it was a great tasting with interesting people and was very educational for my palate. Thank you Greg for allowing me to participate.

I didn’t get any pictures of the tasting group but our phones were out in force. Modern living :).

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