My friend Tracy got this at Trader Joes, for $8. I am absolutely blown away. Seriously delicious, with cellaring capacity and yummy flavors. Opaque, purple, inky. The nose is exactly what I expect from a 7 year old Bordeaux- some cassis, cedar, earth, game and black plum. Tertiary flavors are coming out whilst primal fruit is still very fresh. The palate is silky with nicely integrated tannins, a touch of acidity and layered fruit. A medium length finish makes for a delicious, tidy package of rich fruit and good structure. Yummy stuff to drink till 2025. 91 points! Yup, for $8 at TJ’s, this is probably my bottle of the year when it comes to QPR (quality price ratio). 5 stars, only cause I can’t go 6. WAY TO GO! Salut….
My friend Jimbo is in town and I promised him some good wine. Back in 2003 I bought three cases of this stuff and now I am opening bottle #26, having tasted the evolution over the past 15 years or so. This was a spectacular example of perfectly aged Bordeaux. It is at peak right now, showing layers of tertiary fruit, rich cassis, gentle acidity and soft tannins. Balanced perfectly with a sublime mouthfeel. I’m super happy with the results of my patient cellaring. I believe this cost me $59 back in the day, now it will run over $100. A good deal if you ask me that gets 92 points and 5 stars. Probably need to think about the rest of the case as I don’t think there is much left in the tank with this claret. Here are my class notes. Salut….
Chateau Lynch Bages 2001, Pauillac, France 13.0% ABV
- Appearance- Deep garnet
- Pronounced nose of dried blackberry (Cassis), leather, earth, tobacco, cedar, forest floor. Fully developed.
- Palate- dry, medium (-) acidity, medium (-) tannins, medium alcohol, medium body, pronounced flavors of dried blackberry (cassis), tobacco, leather, forest floor and charred wood. Long finish.
- Conclusion- outstanding quality, drink now: not suitable for aging or further aging.
Twenty years ago I bought a case of this Fifth Growth Bordeaux. Last year I gave this bottle as a house warming gift to friends, who sat on it and waited for my return. This past weekend we opened it in all its glory- it was delicious.
Totally showing its age with some serious bricking and sediment in the bottle, it is medium tawny in color. The nose is loaded with tertiary flavors of tobacco, cedar, leather, stewed prune and cinnamon stick. The palate is super smooth with tannins that are so integrated and balanced by a modicum of acidity. The fruit flavors have pretty much disappeared- it’s all about the tertiary notes. Classic Bourdaux that’s been aged with a smooth mouth feel.
Tell you what- there’s still some back end juiciness and tannic grip which tell me this wine has a little more life in it! Tremendous value when I bought it back in the day. 92 points, which is amazing considering the pros went with high 80’s when they first tasted it. The ’01 Left Bank vintage has outperformed anyones expectations as can be witnessed by this exceptional bottle that is currently running $80 at auction. 5 stars, but drink this delicate juice sooner rather than later. Salut….
Last up at the 14th Virtual Wine tasting was this stunner from Bordeaux that got a perfect 20 from yours truly. Totally opaque and dark purple. The nose showed off musty cigar box, leather, tobacco, dried cherry, damp forest floor and ‘a bag of craisins’. There was a very earthy component that was woodsy. Simply stunning. The palate had dried sage, dark fruit, cassis, smoke, black tea and cranberry. This 10 year old blend of 50% Merlot, 45% Cab Sav and 5% Petit Verdot has hit peak. The primal fruit is being overtaken by the tertiary flavors we long for when cellaring fine wine. This vintage was scored an overall 99 points by Wine Spectator, producing long lived wines with high scores from pretty much any producer. This one gets 92 points from me, which is consistent with the pros. At $40 it gets 5 stars and should be drunk by 2025. Salut….
This blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc is a mid shade of gold in the glass. On the nose I get citrus, melon, lychee and ginger. On the palate it offers bright and juicy lemons, pineapple, lychee and some good minerality. The acidity is very well appointed, not too sharp but enough to keep it crisp. The flavors continue to a decent length finish. I am really impressed with the complexity of this wine’s nose. For $15 this is a great summer sipper that will also pair really well with grilled Salmon, Cobb salad or chicken on the charcoal. 89 points from me make it a 5 star effort to stock up on- really yummy stuff. Drink till 2024. Salut….
The cork failed on this 20 year old Classed Bordeaux but it’s a dark purple and almost opaque with a touch of bricking. The nose is classic Claret that is well aged. Tobacco, raisins, steeped plum and a healthy dose of leather. On the palate it is a touch sour initially with cherry that gives way to tertiary flavors of cedar cigar box, Maduro and leather. It’s very mature and certainly delicious. The tannins are fully integrated at this point so the wine is at peak if not just past. The finish has a modicum of acidity, the structure that has let this wine last this long. It is the final bottle of a case I purchased in 2003. It’s sad to see it go but I’m glad I have been able to track its evolution. 92 points from me has been consistent in all my tastings of this wine. The pros went sub 90 back in the early days, I guess they did not think it would hang in there for two decades and evolve so beautifully. If you want to try one, they are available online for about $80. We drank it all by itself , something I would recommend. 5 stars. Salut….
It would not be Christmas without an aged Claret. This 19 year old took the honors and I am sure glad I picked it. Wow, what a stunner. I did not take notes but recall the wine looked a dark shade in the glass with no signs of bricking. The nose was astounding- tobacco, leather, earth, steeped plums and cassis. On the palate this wine is at plateau. I cannot even describe the beauty of liquid elixir. It was layered with the tertiary flavors I had smelled plus a surprising dose of dark currants, cassis and cedar. The tannins are fully resolved at this stage of the maturity, sublime being a good descriptor of the mouthfeel. The finish was super long and gratifying. This wine was a home run and has rewarded my patience. I think it still has a few years of life, but like I said- it’s at peak now. I have 6 more bottles in the cellar, lucky me! You could pair this wine with an array of foods, but simply enjoying it on its own would be amazing. I have written about the ’01 Cos before, once in 2012 and then in 2013. I am upping my score to 95 for this $150 beauty and sticking with 5 stars. Salut….
The 13th Virtual Wine tasting included this Right Bank Merlot. It was stunning, mature and a hit. The wine is at peak, the color showing a bit of bricking on the rim. The nose is classic Bordeaux- Earthy, smoky, molasses, black fruit jam, leather, tobacco, licorice, cloves…. that’s a lot of descriptors from the panel. On the palate it was delicious, even dreamy as one member piped out. Black cherry, blackberry, tobacco, mushroom and leather were really the key components. The wine is still robust, with very well integrated tannins and a hint of acidity. The mouthfeel is great and lingers on the decent length finish. On my 20 point scale it got 19. Technically speaking, it is a 93 point wine in my book, way higher than the pros rated it back in the day. 2010 was a great year for the Clarets and this example is showing how well the wines have held up and how they have evolved so nicely. Drink till 2025 and for $35 buy a case if you can find it. 5 stars. Salut….
It’s inky, brooding, opaque and shows fine legs in the glass. On the nose I get graphite, plums, oaky vanilla and cedar. On the palate there are black currants, green plums, black tea and dry tannins. The mid palate is very astringent with more tea, strange tannins, some black fruit and not much acidity. I’m not enjoying this wine very much, too off-balance and way too dry without fruit to back it up. The finish is very dark and austere- over-steeped tea, some plums and a woodsy note. The grip of the tannins hold on for a while but the fruit fades quickly. Overall a disappointing wine from a great Bordeaux vintage. 86 points from me, the pros went much higher but I don’t see it. It may mellow out in the near future. Drink till 2025. For $75 it gets 1 star and a pass from yours truly. Salut….
The nose on the third wine of our virtual tasting was wild. Gamy AF, with loads of mushroom, forest floor, bacon fat and some semblance of black fruits. On the palate it was much more manageable and in line with expectations. Bramble, blackberry reduction, leather and some really nice tannins all came together on the palate. The wine smoothed out some on the mid palate and it showed some nice balance between the fruit, the tertiary flavors, tannins and acidity. The funk wore off but there were trace elements of morel mushrooms, leather and blackberry. The finish was where this wine finally came on pointe. Good fruit presentation, some nice touches of those secondary flavors and a decent amount of astringency from the lithe tannins. Overall I really enjoyed this wine, but the nose was offputting for many on the tasting. 91 points for me. Drink till 2026, but let it breathe for at least an hour to help dispel the funk. For $20, it gets 5 stars. Salut….