The latest Decanter rates some 1998 Bordeaux and gives their plateau opinions. Since they are sort of beginning to come of age, I was anxious to learn their opinion of how far in the future I should consider drinking my one and only 1998 Lafite.
They pegged the maturity plateau at between 3 and 5 years from now. What!? I figured they must mean that the bottle should be considered for first opening sometime in that range, not that 1998 Lafite will start to fade within two years of when it becomes drinkable. So I looked at other rated bottles. Haut Bages Liberal, they said, would be best between 5 and 20 years, which seemed more reasonable – and pretty much confirmed that the two numbers represented Decanter's notion of a maturity plateau.
Then I considered that the Lafite data might be a misprint. But they claim that Malescot should be consumed between 2 and 5 years; so, by association, it probably wasn’t a misprint.
I’m always being mystified by stuff I read in the wine magazines. The information often seems crazy, like it is provided by high school kids on a special project, or something. I know that’s not true. Does anybody know what is going on with regard to these drinking ranges? What they mean? Decanter can’t be saying you should drink 1998 Lafite between 2008 and 2011, can they?
I just looked up Parker’s opinion. He says 7 to 35 years. That seems reasonable; although I wouldn’t be surprised if the back end could be stretched out a bit.