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Wine Spectator School


Course: Bordeaux

Class 1: Bordeaux


MATURATION AND PEAK

 
"New wave" Bordeaux, with its emphasis on riper fruit flavors and supple tannins, is much easier to enjoy when young, yet the wines continue to improve with age.

A great bottle of Bordeaux reveals its true character only after 10 or 15 years of bottle age.

 

 
Stages of Maturity

Among the top tier of châteaus, wines live in three stages.

  1. Youth lasts about two to five years after a good vintage, with fresh fruit flavors and prominent tannins.
  2. Maturity is an undulating plateau of harmony and complexity that may last 20 years or more.
  3. Then comes decline—or, in great vintages, an apotheosis that can make the wine seem immortal. Certain bottles of Château Lafite-Rothschild 1870 are...

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