Saturday Night (May 19, 2007) - David Wolberg Takes The Stand

A few notes from the regular Saturday night tasting with my freinds, and then a guest speaker.

Andre Perret, Condrieu, Chery, 2002

Overwhlemed by oak to start with: on the nose, ripe pears, flowers, caramel notes; fat and akward on the palate. An hour or so later, it had opened nicely, showing minerals, nuts and citrus fruits. Greater delineation on the nose, whereas the palate is still rather sweetish. My guess is it should have been opened a couple of years earlier and had required some airing even then.

Felsina, Chianti Classico, Berardenga, 2001

Ripe, forward fruit on the nose, overbearing at first, then calming down. Tannic, with only adequate acidity, which I found surprising for a Chianti. Adequate complexity but no great shakes. The weakest wine of the evening.

Chateau d'Angludet, Margaux, 2000

I found the nose to be elegant, with ripe red fruit and a touch of earthiness, with later on a hint of chocolate. The palate is still tannic and backwards. “Not sexy enough for Margaux” was the general verdict around the table, "at least not yet". I don’t have enough experience for an opinion on that but I liked it and will open my other bottle in 3-4 years.

Clos du Marquis, Saint Julien, 2000

An elegant, complex nose, with hints of tobacco and smoke, that went on to improve further in glass and show menthol and spices. The palate, though exquisitely balanced, was very closed, showing a strong, tight structure. Excellent stuff. Wine of the night.

A Moment Of Controversy

David Wolberg told me after we had the Clos du Marquis, "write in your blog that your friend D. said all Bordeaux wines, even from good vintages, are ready to drink after five years, unless they are first growths". Well, David, you can't make a statement like that and hide behind an initial, even if you are a lawyer!

And actually, he isn't hiding.

"I generally think that wineries, critics and some wine drinkers, tend to set drinking windows well beyond reality. Though I do not posses enough drinking experience relating to Premier Grand Crus, in my experience, red Bordeaux, including high level Bordeaux, can be approached and enjoyed within 5 - 7 years. Yes, you may quote me.

"I have found that all the 2000 Bordeaux we drank on Saturday night were ready and approachable. Will they improve?, They may and they may not. Non of us, even the wineries, snobs and 'experts', are not prophets. Moreover, Bordeaux 2003, is already approachable. Thus, here you have an example of an approachable Bordeaux vintage short of its fifth anniversary. Again, I am sure the 2003 vintage has some more drinking years ahead. Will some of the 2003 improve? This is a question of personal taste. In any event, most the 2003 are ready to be opened and drunk. Remember, an 'over the hill' wine is more disappointing than an 'approachable, though a bit young' wine.

"And yes, of course there are exceptions. Thus, an email reply by an expert claiming that he recently tasted a 15 year old red Bordeaux which was completely closed, will not undermine the above.

"Bottom line, drink up and enjoy."

Thanks, David. It all depends on your definition of "ready". And how many bottles you have of a particular wine. I would have regretted opening the d'Angludet or the Clos du Marquis right now if they were the only bottles I had.


Unknown said…
Is David by any chance american?
2GrandCru said…
Originally, yes,
Unknown said…
I don't know if it is an american thing or a different wine cultural thing or what, but americans generally drink wines earlier than "needed". most of the bordeoux I sell I won't dare opening. I am not talking about first grows or even 3rd grows, but here people like 2003 the simple bordeaux when to me they are not even close to being ready for drinking.
Sad (to me) but true.
2GrandCru said…
Maybe David will answer himself but as I recall, his initial exposure to wine was in London, so he should have gone 'the other way'.

I think that what he's saying, basically, is that if the wine has stopped 'biting', then it's better drunk now rather than take a gamble and wait. Whereas my take is, if the wine has stopped being aggressive and I feel, intuitively, that I'm still missing something, then I'd say it's not ready and, depending on the region and vintage, decide to gamble on more cellar time.

I'd guess that an actual American might simply prefer his wine powerful and aggressive to begin with rather than mellow with mature aromas and flavors.