Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Celebrate Grandson Birth with Vintage Birth Year Bordeaux

Celebrating Grandson's Birth with Vintage Birth Year Bordeaux

The Five Forts
Grandson Jesse Robert Fort was born on 17 November to daughter Erin and Son-in-law Johnny, new little brother to Lucy and Richie.

To celebrate this joyous occasion, we opened a bottle of Erin's birthyear Bordeaux at our celebration dinner.

I've written often in these pages about this practice of collecting special vintage wines for such occasions. Amazingly, while 1981 was not a highly rating vintage with prospects for longevity, we still hold about a case of such wines and they're still holding their own after 30 plus years.

Horizontal collection of 1981 Bordeaux
While we continue to be amazed, and pleased with the longevity and drinkability of these aged wines, I am diligently sorting through those remaining to consume those thought to be less age-worthy, such as tonight's Haut Medoc, Grand Cru Classé.

Several of those remaining bottles are higher end labels thought to be more ageworthy such as Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Château Leoville Las Cases, Château Gruaud Larose, Ducru Beaucaillou and the legendary Château Mouton Rothschild, as shown in the picture of our horizontal collection of 1981 Bordeaux from a few years ago (and look at the price tags showing on some - of course those were acquired in the mid-eighties!). I look forward to enjoying each one of these remaining bottles in our collection and intend do so soon as they're understandably reaching their end of life.

At a recent wine group tasting dinner, we opened several vintage bottles including Château Cos d' Estournel 1981 (as well as '88, '89 and '91) and Château Brane Cantenac 1970, 1982 and 2000. One of the diners, a newcomer to our group exclaimed how he could'nt believe we were still holding, and drinking such old wines. I responded that over almost forty years of collecting, I learned we drank many of our Bordeaux too early, especially bottles from classic vintages such as 1982, 1986, 1989 and 1990. Indeed, somewhere in between is the optimum - opening a bottle at the apex of its prime drinking window. We'll continue to enjoy these wines and the adventure and experience of opening an aged bottle of a special vintage for a special occasion.

Château La Lagune Grand Cru Classé Haut Medoc 1981

We opened this at daughter Erin's house, where we were staying with the grandkids whilst E and J were still at the hospital with the new baby. While the cork disintegrated when I tried to extract it, using a cork screw rather than my ahso (two pronged cork puller - which was at home) that I normally use for such situations, the wine was still holding its own.

Dark garnet colored with no evidence of brickish or rust aging signs, medium bodied, the black berry and cherry fruits were a bit muted, giving way to a layer of acidic musty, earthy leather, black olive tapenade, and tobacco leaf, all classic aged Bordeaux characteristics. Time to drink. This was our last bottle of this label, the others having been consumed long ago. Our cellartracker records indicated our remaining bottle (s) are from the more age-worthy 1982 vintage.

RM 86 points.