A couple of weeks ago, I was having a simple lunch with a friend at my house in Tuscany and I decided to go down to my cellar and try some of the older crus bourgeois and petite château Bordeaux that I had lying around. These were just odd bottles that I had had for years in my cellar. In fact, some had been in my cellar in London before I moved to Italy in 1998.
Anyway, I first pulled out a 1989 Château de Pez St.-Estèphe. I pulled the cork and decanted the bottle. The color looked good, but it was CORKED!
Lunch wasn’t ready yet, so I went back down to the cellar and I found a bottle of 1989 Château de Rochemorin Pessac-Léognan. The Pessac can be very good in top years, and I remembered liking the 1989. I quickly decanted it. And it was good, but nothing special. Here is my tasting note: Earthy and meaty with some mushroom aromas. Medium body, fruity and simple with good fruit and a light finish. 83 points, non-blind.
That wasn’t good enough, even if I was only making a mint omelet with a mixed green salad!
I decided to get two bottles of 1989 crus bourgeois now. I was getting little obsessive about the whole thing, to be honest. I wanted something outstanding for my omelet, and I felt I was letting my friend down.
1989 Liversan: Aromas of licorice and spice with some sandalwood and berry character. Medium body with fine tannins and a fresh finish. A bit simple but very good now. 87 points, non-blind.
1989 Soudars: A bit thin now with plum and light spice. Some tobacco. Medium to light body with a fresh finish. Not a lot going on . 85 points, non-blind.
I looked at all the bottles on the table, and I thought to myself for a moment. Perhaps crus bourgeois are not really meant to be drunk almost two decades after they were produced? Granted, I have had a number of exceptions, including drinking a 1945 Sénéjac in the late 1980s that some of my London wine trade friends mistook for Latour in a blind tasting. And I love the 1990 Sociando-Mallet at the moment.
But maybe most crus bourgeois and petit châteaus are better consumed in the first ten years of their lives?