Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A couple of interesting bottles

I helped to consume a couple of interesting bottles of mature Bordeaux this weekend, graciously donated in the interests of science by one of my work colleagues. The wines came from opposite ends of the Medoc, one from the far North and one from the South and the styles really showed that well, very distinct and different wines probably separated by no more than 30 miles distance.

First up was a 1986 Chateau Rollan de By; this one had a good fill and a very badly soiled label, although the cork was in good condition. Nice ruddy colour, interesting nose, blackcurrant, tobacco, wet leaves; quite angular in the mouth, probably what you would call "classic", quite a lot of iron/blood taste but with good grippy spicy fruit underneath. I liked this and it did improve after an hour in the decanter, softening up quite a bit. Certainly well within its drinking window and probably best to drink up now if you have any, decant it for at least an hour though. We drank this with no food, I reckon it would be lovely with a good fillet steak or similar.

The next one was from Margaux in the South of the Medoc (Soussans); 1989 Chateau Deyrem Valentin; a very good year and the bottle and cork were in very good condition. Nice colour slightly lighter than the Rollan and initially the nose showed some "farmyard" with red berries underneath, after a while this completely blew off and the wine seemed to really shine; good balance, nicely rounded and fruity, soft and resolved, surprising weight and finish for the age and colour, a very pleasant wine clearly from a good vintage. Although this certainly has life left in it I reckon it's probably not going to get any better than it is right now.

It was very surprising how a couple of relatively cheap (i.e. roughly £10-15) cru bourgeois wines like this can age well and improve like this over 20+ years, it just confirms in my mind what an interesting region Bordeaux is and what a fascinating hobby wine can be.

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