The Usual Suspect of Four First Growth and a non First Growth
18 July 2020
As there were 10 wine connoisseur in my virtual tasting, including an MW and a few other MW candidates, so I have to have some fun with them. I know my Bordeaux so well, I know we’re in for some fun, and some jaw dropping outcome. Not a double blind flight, I told all the attendees that there were 4 first growth and a bottle of non first growth wine in this flight. Your job was to pick up the non first growth wine. The lineup:
Chateau Siran 1961, Margaux (a Cru Bourgeois)
Mouton Rothschild 1962
Haut Brion 1960
Siran 61: coming from a superb vintage, this Cru Bourgeois survived the 59 years journey, although showing some cupboard bouquet character (but wine was not corked). It was a stunning fruity wine on the palate, with very structurally sound fruits, very appealing, although the fruits were not as refined as the first growth featured here. Rating 9/10
Lafite 1955: An absolutely appealing wine to me; the bouquet was filled with sweet cassis, almost took me to burgundy if I was blinded if I didn’t know this flight being a Bordeaux flight. This was quite a signature character of aged Lafite. The content was easy, elegant and lovely. The wine gained weight and body the next day, revealing itself as the definitive classic claret. Lafite 55 was a league by itself. Rating 10/10
Mouton Rothschild 1962: Signature smell of burned rubber, and this was my second bottle, still showing the same character. Content was very solid, with very appealing fruits, chunky and moderately big fruits, with a touch of elegance. Next day it showed more coconut tastes! It’s still a solid 2nd growth back in 1962 (Mouton was only promoted to first growth in 1973). Rating 9.75/10
Latour 1978: Some stemmy and leafy nose to start off with, not quite common for first growth to have this character, perhaps a characteristics of a moderate to poor vintage of 1978. Latour is always a robust wine, and I loved the 1978, an absolutely stunning vintage for Pauillacs (my two favorites were Latour and Pichon Baron). Obviously a strong and big wine, it was so robust and powerful that it could easily cover up the taste of all other wines. Rating 9.5/10
Haut Brion 1960: 1960 was a weak vintage for Bordeaux, not many wines survived this vintage except for first growth. Strange bouquet of band aid and eucalyptus, probably showing a weakness in vintage. Actually I quite enjoy the content, as it’s expressing ultra-elegance on the palate despite coming from a weak vintage, still very enjoyable to me although many drinkers didn’t quite like the bouquet which somehow is affecting them on the judgment of the content. Rating 9.25/10
Many connoisseurs chose the Siran 61 as their wine of the flight (fell off your chair yet?), somehow they’re ignoring the finesse and elegance of the first growth. In fact most drinkers commented the Lafite as the 2nd wine, only 2 drinkers enjoyed the Lafite (and I was one of them as I know what I’m drinking). It was a fun and educational flight, but wine this old was anybody’s game. Just give some respect to Bordeaux, when it’s a great vintage, you don’t need first growth to quench your thirst!
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