|Cos to Cos|
Chateau Cos d'Estournel, Saint Estephe 2me Cru, 2001
Tasted blind, everyone (except me - I brought the wine, remember?) went for Pauilliac. I agree this has something of the characteristically iron-laden lift of black currants and cigar box. The tannins are bitter and earthy at first and, even with air, the palate is still mute, deep but not very complex. It's still too young for my tastes, even after fifteen years, and 2001 is only a very good to excellent vintage, not a great one. Which makes me sad when I think about it: basically I have something on the order of five more years to buy new Bordeaux vintages before I'd be too old to reasonably expect to drink them at their peak.
Chateau Lynch-Bages, Pauilliac 5me Cru, 1998
These days, Lynch-Bages is one of the most expensive Left Banks, especially given its official 5me Cru ranking, I wouldn't cast doubts on its quality, because I love it and I think it's high class indeed, but some might. What I believe is inarguable is how seductive, even sexy, it is. The 1998 is a classic Pauilliac, with pungent, rustic aromatics, and it opens very nice to show a soft, classic facade, which is very seductive indeed.
Chateau Haut-Bailly, Pessac-Leognac, 1989
This is what a mature Bordeaux is all about, with the fruit in the background and a herbal, cedary character. Having said that, it still has a rusty, tough aspect that I guess will always be there. So yeah, further evidence I'm almost too old to buy young Bordeaux.
Chateau Prieure-Lichine, Margaux 4me Cru, 1996
This, too, is a sexy wine, like you'd expect a Margaux to be. Be it the vintage, or the fact that this wine arrived at the table at a warmer temperature than the other wines, this was the softest wine of the evening.
Chateau Cos d'Estournel, Saint Estephe 2me Cru, 1989
A very complete, complex wine, on the nose (bacon, cigar box and smoke) and the palate isn't very far off, either, with its savory, muscular tannins. It's a ripe wine, but ripe in a reined in way, the way the warm vintages used to be, before ripeness became such a holy grail that other considerations were overwhelmed.
Chateau La Tour Blanche, Sauternes 1er Cru, 2003
Sauternes and its satellites are the most over-hyped region and style in Bordeaux. And I don't like them much any more. I've said it before, and its acolytes can only kill me once. But this is quite nice. The acidity is very low, as is often the case in the region (which is why I always veer towards German, Loire and Tokay dessert wines, where the acidity is sanctioned, preserved, even championed) but the botrytis funk saves the day.