Gruaud-Larose, Saint Julien 2me Cru, 1988 (Apr. 28, 2012)

We'll always have Bordeaux!

Efrat and I had this at Cafe 48, and before I proceed further I must say Efrat didn't go for the place as much as I do. I'm not going to change my stance: I love the place, I think the food is yummy and that's my final word. But it tickled my alpha male's testosterones that Efrat thought the wine I brought outclassed the settings.

And what a wine it was. 1988 may not be the most illustrious of the great trio that Bordeaux produced in the late 80's, and Gruaud-Larose may not have the sheen nor the depth of a really great growth - but on this night, this specific bottle illustrated all of Bordeaux strengths: poise, balance and food-friendliness. And what a better appellation to illustrate this than Saint Julien! The nose initially shows earthy red fruit, then with a little air is more about blackcurrants - more Cabernet Sauvignon in character than I'd expect from Saint Julien - complemented by mature claret funk. The palate is even lovelier, with mellow fruit whose sweetness has simmered slowly after two decades in bottle and whose warmth tempers the tannic bite of the finish.

At 108 USD from K&L, this cost just about as much as the bottle of 2008 I picked up recently. With the ever-increasing quality control in Bordeaux, I expect the 2008 will turn out much the same as this, but it sucks big time that I'll have to wait so long.