Sunday, February 14, 2010

San Diego Bordeaux

We're in San Diego for a little while visiting BrooklynLady's parents. The weather here is a little bit different from what we've had in NYC.

Eucalyptus tree in the backyard, bright sunny day.

My father in-law, or pop-pop, as my daughter calls him, has a nice collection of wine, mostly California wine and Bordeaux. He reads this blog and so he knows that BrooklynLady and I love wine. On the first evening of this visit, as I came down the hallway into the kitchen, pop-pop said to me "Why don't you go to the wine fridge and pick something really good for us to drink tonight. Nothing is off limits, pick whatever will make you happy." How generous is that?

Even though most of pop-pop's wine is different from the stuff I usually drink, I still felt like a kid in a candy store. Here are some of the things I didn't pick for the evening meal (a delicious turkey meatloaf with roasted potatoes and baby golden beets):
  • 2001 Lafite
  • 2001 Mouton
  • 1988 Château Léoville Las Cases
  • 1994 Cheval Blanc
  • 1997 Montrose
I've never had any of the above wines, no matter what the vintage. It's iconic wines like these that define the top echelon of Bordeaux, and to have the chance to drink any of them is to expand one's knowledge of wine. It was a difficult decision, and in the end I picked this wine:

1986 Château Margaux, Imported by Kobrand. We opened it about a half hour before dinner and didn't decant it. There was no primary fruit at all, as one would expect from a 24 year old wine. The nose showed a restrained delicacy - there was some pencil lead and gravel, but it was less about specific aromas and more about an overall sense of refinement and elegance. The palate was remarkably young and fresh, and still showed plenty of ripe red fruit. It was the texture that I found to be most striking, though. There were layers of fruit and gravelly earth, very intense and focused flavors, and at every point the wine felt silky smooth. Not in an artificially polished way, it just unfolded gently and felt right in the mouth.

What a treat - thanks again pop-pop!


Weston said...

hah the pop-pop makes me think of Arrested Development! oh yeah goodshow.

Not to bad for wines either, should of picked them all, its something I would oftried to do hah

Dan said...

Wow. Inlaws in San Diego and an open cellar of First Growth Bordeaux. Your a very lucky man!

Tag: Wine said...

Very good choice - 1986 Margaux was the first premier cru Bordeaux I ever tasted and it still sets the standard with my taste buds.

The thing that I remember the most, which seems to have made an impression on you too, was the texture. It's hard to describe the sensation of this wine in your mouth, but super focused and yet silky smooth at the same time is pretty accurate.

I had it about 4 years ago and I've been wanting to try it again ever since. It sounds like this wine is still holding up well. Thanks for the vicarious repeat tasting... Great story!

Anonymous said...

I have been in the wine business for 10 years and did not pay much attention to bordeaux. After visiting for a week on business to many chateau, both first growth and many smaller lesser known chateau, I left feeling with a much bigger paradigm for what wine is and could be. Like your tasting notes, I found them to be so much more layered and complex. The obvious fruit bombs I loved from the new world lost a bit of their prestige with me.

sl said...

Margaux and meatloaf. Gotta love it.