While many people consider wines from the Burgundy region of France to be the very best in the world, I think Bordeaux offers wines that are more complex and nuianced. I prefer these blended wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot (and to a lesser degree Cab. Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot) more than the single Pinot Noir grape used to make Burgundy. I think there is more artistic talent involved when blending different wine grape varieties and naturally the science of winemaking is more complicated when using different grapes.
Since about 2003, I have been holding a couple of bottles of the 2000 Vintage Bordeaux – Chateau La Croix du Casse from the Pomerol district and Chateau Ferrand Lartigue from St. Emilion. I purchased both of these wines directly after they were released to the retail market. The purveyor from whom I bought these wines had established a favorable reputation after more than 15 years doing business with them.
It is not everyday that I have a chance to drink a bottle of wine that is 17 years of age, let alone 2 bottles! Food pairing with two big reds is important. We had lamb shanks one night and for the second night some spicy chicken wings with Chinese pork dumplings. Both bottles stood well against the spice and strong flavors of lamb and spiced chicken.
And now, I will share my tasting notes….
Ch. La Croix du Casse – 2000- Pomerol
Cork- In good condition after 15 years in my storage cellar. However, the center of the cork seemed to be a bit squishy and soft. This could be an indication that the cork is about to crumble.
Color- Ruby turning to slight tawny.
Nose- Wood, herbal, tobacco and maybe a hint of mineral with a slight musty scent.
First taste- Complex earth, wood, fruit, full body.
Second taste- One hour later- Bigger fruit, more layered, more complex as the wine begins to open up.
13% alcohol by volume makes this a keeper, but the question is; will the cork last?
3rd tasting on the second day after opening- The wine was smooth and well rounded with more fruit showing, but falling flat on the finish.
I scored the wine at 88 points and think it might have been slightly better to drink about 2 years earlier….still a very fine wine.
Ch. Ferrand Lartigue – 2000 – St. Emilion
Cork- Good condition though slightly soft.
Color- Ruby with some slight brown on the edges. For a 17 year old wine this seems surprisingly bright and youthful.
Nose- Big wood! Also, surprised at the amount of wood on the nose after first opening. It did mellow considerably over the course of the evening.
First taste- Smooth and mellow, though plenty of oak while the fruit seems hidden under the tannin.
Second tasting- 30 minutes later- more fruit, but still a bit flat on the finish.
2nd Day- 24 hours later- this wine opened up very well. The fruit came through nicely, giving a better balance and more complete palette of flavors.
At 17 years this wine is drinking quite nicely, but there is always the lingering question of whether the wine would have been better 2 – 3 years earlier. Better in the sense of whether the finish would have held more finesse, or, whether the wine would have lasted 3 – 5 years more in the cellar and perhaps opened up to be more than what I tasted….we will never know. So, I say the wine was perfect right now!
If you think you might like to delve into wine tasting on a serious level I recommend that you go here for a complete guide to tasting wine….
And check out reviews of a few very nice wines tasted in summer of 2017. Those wines, in fact, reinvigorated my interest in Rioja!
…and finally, read from more than 30 years of my notes on some of the finest wines I’ve tasted.
*Next in this series; tasting notes for a 20 year old Vintage Port.