After the UGC tasting in Santa Monica, I went to a dinner and tasting for Les Carmes Haut-Brion at a trendy restaurant called Adobe, put on by Steve Winfield of LiquidLink, an LA –based wine importer. I sat across from Tristan Beamon of The Wine Exchange in Orange, California. He was a cool cat and an obvious lover of wine. Somehow we started talking about old Bordeaux ,and he mentioned how he had recently received 50 cases or so of the 1970 Beau-Séjour-Bécot, the premier grand cru from St.-Emilion. And it was selling for $80 bottle.
Not only did the price seem reasonable for a mature claret (what do you get for $80 bottle these days?), but the wine came straight from the château. So the provenance was perfect. I know the cellars of BB. They are dug deep into chalk caves, and are very cold as well. Even though the 1970 BB is a wine that I originally scored a meager 84 points, I wanted to taste it again. I remember that the score was from a horizontal tasting of 1970 clarets in London, back in the early 1990s, so God only knows where the bottle came from that I tasted then.
Anyway, I stopped in at Beamon’s store on the way to a barbeque at my dad’s house in San Diego and hung with Tristan and Kyle Meyer for about an hour to check the store out and taste the 1970 BB. Check out the video.
The wine was delicious. It showed a ruby garnet color, with mushroom and ripe fruit aromas that turned to blackberry, mineral and leaves. Sweet tobacco, too. Medium body, with silky tannins, the finish became fruitier as it opened with light plum, tobacco, meat and hints of milk chocolate. Balanced and pretty. Round and soft. Really develops nicely. It's more than just alive. It's a beautiful, elegant claret. In this non-blind tasting I gave it 89 points.
I bought a bottle and drank it a few nights later with a beautiful blonde friend from the vintage, and I had to give a one-point boost. Was it the company or a slightly better bottle?
Beamon and Meyer said that the 1970 Beausejour-Becot had been hard to sell so far. People just didn’t seem very interested in mature, elegant, non-big name clarets. Some were even scared of old wine.
Sort of makes you think, doesn’t it? Are a lot of people who are into wine only interested in big, ripe young things? What about something with age, elegance and finesse?
The 1970 Beausejour-Becot that I bought was certainly appreciated a few nights later by my dining companion. I am tempted to buy a few more bottles.