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1988 Bordeaux

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1988 Bordeaux

by CMMiller » Sun Sep 09, 2007 1:29 am

Allegedly one of the more "classic" vintages in recent times for Bordeaux. Indeed, no one is likely to mistake any of these wines for the currently fashionable hyper-ripe and oozy Cabs, although the Canon reminded me a bit of old-fashioned Napa Cab. The tasting was notable mainly for the fine showing for Meyney (last of the QPR Bordeaux?) and the surprisingly funky and rustic Pichon-Lalande, normally one of the suavest of Bordeaux.

St. Julien Bordeaux 1988, Ch. Leoville-las-Cases – medium garnet with bricky tone; classic pencil and dusty cedar aromas complexed with bergamot and mineral; lively mature Cab berry fruit fades into a long finish of somewhat austere old tannins with tea and cedar. ****

St. Julien Bordeaux 1988, Ch. Gruaud-Larose – deep leafy Cab Francy fruit with clay and some green bean plus toasty oak; dry and structured with medium-full body, cedary fruit mildly inflected with green bean, nice balance, very long finish with traces of mineral. Grand wine, I thought it was Leoville. ****

St. Estephe Bordeaux 1988, Ch. Meyney – dark red with some browning; terrifically complex nose with cigarbox, vanilla, old Cab fruit, layers of hints with tarragon, mint, garam masala, earth; ripe mature fruit with a tarragon note framed in dry but smooth chocotannins with cigarbox and clay; dry smooth and long finish. Really fine, what a showing for Meyney! ****

St. Emilion Bordeaux 1988, Ch. Canon – medium browning red; older nose with clay-soy tones over bushy jam; dried cherry fruit with tealike tannins, decent acidity; mild dry finish. ***

St. Emilion Bordeaux 1988, Ch. Grand Mayne – medium red-brown with orange rim; earthy nose with some oak spice, hint of leafy fruit, fades some; mature cherry-berry Cab with sweet oak; medium short finish, slightly herbaceous, lacks much complexity. **

St. Julien Bordeaux 1988, Ch. Ducru Beaucaillou – medium garnet, younger color; vanilla toasted oak, berry Cab, dusty mild cedar in nose; middle aged but vigorous leafy Cab berry fruit with a gingery hint, well-balanced and graceful; medium length finish. ***(*?)

Pauillac Bordeaux 1988, Ch. Pichon-Lalande – cigarbox, iron fruit and a farmy-smoky brett tone that gets stronger with air; dry and mellow on palate with ironfruit, hearth-like brett and mature berries; long and smoky-bretty finish. Thought it was Gruaud for sure, a funkier and more Pauillac-like Pichon Lalande than usual. ***

St. Emilion Bordeaux 1988, Ch. La Dominique – medium garnet with orange rim; roasted green pepper, mature cedary Cab, touch of green peppercorn; mellow with plush “furry” tannins, medium full body, earthy-cigar note; medium-long finish. ***
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Re: 1988 Bordeaux

by Brian Gilp » Sun Sep 09, 2007 11:28 am

St. Julien Bordeaux 1988, Ch. Gruaud-Larose – deep leafy Cab Francy fruit with clay and some green bean plus toasty oak; dry and structured with medium-full body, cedary fruit mildly inflected with green bean, nice balance, very long finish with traces of mineral. Grand wine, I thought it was Leoville. ****


I have had this wine 3-4 times over the past 10 years and always found it a little musty in the nose to the point of wondering if my bottles were corked. Reading your notes of clay and green bean I can not tell if that is the same thing but you find it less offensive. The mustiness that I have encountered has decreased with airing but never blown off completely.
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Re: 1988 Bordeaux

by CMMiller » Sun Sep 09, 2007 12:38 pm

Probably not the same thing - I am usually fairly sensitive to musty tones, although in old wines a subtle amount is sometimes hard to distinguish. And to complicate the picture, Gruaud-Larose is well known for having distinct tones of brettanomyces in many vintages, although I did not get it in this one.

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Re: 1988 Bordeaux

by Otto » Sun Sep 09, 2007 4:21 pm

How strange about the brett in the Pichon-Lalande! I love the wine (and the vintage character as a whole - if, of course, you believe in such things as vintages having any sort of recognisable character). FWIW, here's my note:

  • 1988 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac (5/6/2007)
    Dark red, still looks young. The smell also seems younger than I expected. It is typical Pichon-Lalande in its herbal notes reminding me of Cabernet Franc (though the blend doesn't have much of it). It has an exotic floral note to all the classical Pauillac notes of lead and cassis. The palate is savoury and acidic with a charming herbal quality to it. For my taste, the fruit is exactly how I like it: noticable, but not overly sweet, keeping the overall impression as a savoury one. It needed a couple hours in the decanter to open up well and still was a bit tannic. I will try to keep my hands off my other bottle for a couple more years. What a lovely wine!

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Dale Williams

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Re: 1988 Bordeaux

by Dale Williams » Sun Sep 09, 2007 4:30 pm

thanks for notes. I am generally an 1988 fan, though only one of these I still own is the Gruaud. Always liked that wine, and it was very reasonable at a chateau re-release about 5 years ago.

Meyney really hit on all cylinders through the 80s. I liked the '88, last year even a 375 was holding well.

You know, I've never really thought about it, but in general it seems I've favored Left over Right in '88, and your notes seem to do same.

Thanks

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