Whisky Advocate

Wine lovers: I need some Bordeaux advice for my birthday

May 26th, 2010

Another drink on the agenda for my 50th Birthday celebrations is a great bottle of Bordeaux that my wife and I will share at dinner.

About eight years ago, I purchased one bottle each of the five “First Growth” Bordeaux Wines (Lafite Rothschild, Latour, Margaux, Haut-Brion, and Mouton-Rothschild) from the famed 2000 vintage, with the intention of opening one bottle every five years, beginning with my 50th birthday and ending with my 7oth birthday.

I haven’t done much research yet, but maybe one of you already has the answer. Which one do you think has matured the fastest and is most ready to be consumed first? And why?

I welcome your insights. Thank you!

No Responses to “Wine lovers: I need some Bordeaux advice for my birthday”

  1. bgulien says:

    I can only dream of such wines. Sigh!

  2. Matt Chivian says:

    Decisions, Decisions. I’ve found that both Lafite and Haut Brion are accessable at an earlier age. My suggestion would be to stand the bottle up at least three days prior to opening and pull the cork around noon on the day. About an hour before drinking decant the wine.

    Repeat as necessary. Enjoy!

  3. Tanguy says:

    The best you can drink is “Carmenere” (the lost wine) from the French Kingdom. Outstanding Red Bordeau wine and you should be able to find a nice $20 bottle (from Chili) where you are.
    Google the word and you will leran all about it. Very interesting story about it!

  4. John Hansell says:

    I already purchased (and consumed within the past year) two Carmenere. Enjoyed both!

  5. Horst says:

    Hi John!

    I love these decisions. Buy somthing now to enjoy it in 20 years. Too many people want to have everything immediately. No questions about costs.

    From my point of view the thrill of anticipation has as much value as the actual enjoyment during the dinner.

    The only thing I would suggest is not to drink this wine during dinner but between courses. Every part of your meal will influence your tastebuds and this is not respectfull to these excellent bottles.

    Enjoy and Happy Birthday!

    • Luke says:

      Horst, it’s probably not in the same stratum of delicacy as first growth, but I remember my father recently opening a bottle of Lynch-Bages 1996 to wash down stew and mashed potatoes.

      Needless to say I was horrified, but the bottle had been opened, a glass had been poured and the stew was on front of me… What’s a man to do?

      You’ll understand my concerns better once you know I’m planning to open my bottle of Dungourney 1964 PPS at my sister’s wedding. What are the odds of Coke and ice being added to my father’s glass?

      The Horror, the Horror…

  6. Serge says:

    Tough one, John, all these wines are supposed to be enjoyed much later. A winanticide for a birthday? ;-). I haven’t tried any of these five 2000s yet but I’ve heard that Haut-Brion was maybe a tad more tender than the Médocs. You’ll have the same problem in 2015, by the way, but 2020 will start to look okay according to the press.
    Maybe you could get into the mood with an older grand-cru-alike Pomerol or why not an Yquem?

    • John Hansell says:

      I hear ya, Serge. Problem is, I want to be alive by the time I get to the last one. 🙂 I realize it’s too soon to drink any of these now, but I am willing to make that sacrifice to enjoy the process over the next 20 years.

      BTW, I am also opening up a 1990 Yquem. It’s on the agenda. 🙂

    • John Hansell says:

      Incidentally, Parker says that Lafite will be okay to drink beginning 2011, so I am only half a year off on that one.

      • “Okay to drink in 2011” somehow implies that before that date it is not enjoyable. It will still be a great wine if opened now, and it would have been if opened a year ago. Finding the peak quality for a closed bottle is frankly impossible. Do you have a sealed wine cellar with controlled humidity and temperature? And even then it would be guesswork

      • I am by no means a wine expert. But from what I’ve seen about aging curves they tend to have a rather flat plateau and not so much a peak at the maximum. So I would not be too bothered about six months or even a year.

        But can you really expect your wines of choice to reach their optimum qualities in five year intervals? And if not, will it be like 96 vs. 94 points or rather 96 vs. 75 if you taste them?

        • John Hansell says:

          It’s really more about celebrating live and looking forward to celebrating life in the future than finding the peak time to drink them. Still, I would like to at least try to keep the late bloomers for later in life.

  7. Serge says:

    PS: we’re really having the same problems this year 😉

  8. Peter Benkoczki says:

    I’m not good at wines, but the Tokaj is very fine for me, a very sweet wine from my country, Hungary. 🙂

  9. John Hansell says:

    Hmmm, I am having second thoughts here. Maybe I should start this at 55 in 2015 and go until I’m 75? It might be just too soon to open a 2000 First Growth. I have a 2001 Lafite that might be more appropriate…

    • woodisgood says:

      ^^^^ I was just going to suggest the same thing, John. That’s really the best decision with these super-incredible-but-not-ready wines. (And still open the Lafite first!)

      • John Hansell says:

        Yeah, and if I croak before I hit 75, my family can drink it and toast to me.

        • woodisgood says:

          John, my belief has been and always will be: I’ll make it! Stick with that and I bet you’ll be popping the final cork come 75! (A toss-up between the Margaux and Mouton-Rothschild!)

        • Steve says:

          If I died before getting to them, I’d be buried with them!

          It’s a great plan, though, and I think I’m going to get some bottles for that purpose myself (I’m a CdP fanatic, though, so I think I’ll go that route)… I was living in Germany when those 2000s were released, and I almost bought some (the dollar was even strong against the Euro, then)…alas, I was 24 years old with a lieutenant’s pay, so I passed. Maybe I shouldn’t have.

    • Serge says:

      Excellent idea John. It’s not quite possible to say which one will be ‘the readiest’ in five or ten years since all that isn’t linear and some of them may suddenly speed up whilst others may slow down but many experts regularly try these well-known wines so I guess the best would be to seek their advice on time. Only tasting speaks, as always.

  10. Adam Friend says:

    John – I am familiar with all of these producers, but have only tried the 2000 Mouton in this particular vintage. I drank it about 18 months ago and we gave it about 2 hours of air time, and while it certainly has a lot of miles left on it, it was surprisingly open and expressive.

    Among these producers, Latour tends to require the most time to hits its peak, so would probably save that or the Lafite for last. I would expect Mouton to be ready earliest, followed by Haut Brion, Margaux, Lafite, then Latour.

    I also believe that while the 2000s will improve and be increasingly enjoyable over a long period of time (25-30 years post vintage), they will also provide drinking pleasure early in their lives. There is always a risk that the bottle remains closed for many hours after opening, in which case I suggest that you have a backup (2001 Lafite, for example) that you can enjoy in its stead, corking up the 2000 and trying it the following day. Hope this is helpful and look forward to hearing your review. Adam

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