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Jenise

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WTN: 88 Lafite

by Jenise » Fri Aug 29, 2014 4:04 am

Tonight Bob and I enjoyed an '88 Lafite with a pan-roasted rib eye and baby local carrots sautéed in butter with onions and parsley. I am almost bereft with sorrow at the thought that we may never have that meal again as all the parts cohesed so well, and such in spite of the fact that the wine didn't show as well as one would have hoped.

It did at first though. Immediate eye-rolling deliciousness on first tiny pour that settled the issue of do-we-decant. Major graphite and leathery black cherry, giving, perfect, everything we'd hoped for so no on the decant. But then we delayed getting the salad served, believing we had time, and when we finally decanted the wine for sediment purposes immediately before serving we found a wine that lacked that initial fruit and only showed well with food. Without, it was soul-less, all graphite and no fruit, astringent on the finish. Still, we killed the bottle, our only Lafite 88 and will hope for better with other older Bordeauxs. Also, will remind myself of the axiom learned long ago on these boards: better to drink too early than too late.
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Re: WTN: 88 Lafite

by Tim York » Fri Aug 29, 2014 6:03 am

Thanks for that interesting TN, Jenise. I can't recall ever having owned a bottle of Lafite but I have had glimpses of its magic at tastings.

I have become confused on the decanting issue. I used to decant all mature Bordeaux but have stopped doing so after having caused some potentially delicious bottles to dry out before serving. However that doesn't solve the issue of optimum oxygenation which your bottle sounds as if it lacked. I ought to try the Ardouze technique but my chef often springs late surprises which could leave me with an open bottle and poor pairing.

With 1988, a stubborn and quite acidic vintage, I doubt if you kept this bottle too long but maybe it would have come into balance later on at a secondary level or maybe never. Other bottles could be better. I have a couple of bottles of Léoville-Lascases 1988 and have been holding off opening them. I hope I won't be disappointed when I do. Lesser 88s have mostly gone down the hatch and I found them elegant but a bit austere and less gracious drinking than comparable 89s and 90s.

As for your other older Bordeaux, allowing for bottle variation, some could still be delicious like my bottle of Pichon-Comtesse 1966, opened three or four months ago and drunk straight after struggling with a crumbly cork.
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Re: WTN: 88 Lafite

by Fredrik L » Fri Aug 29, 2014 6:34 am

Okay, here is a tough one: which was the latest 88 you had that really gobsmacked you?

Greetings from Sweden / Fredrik L
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Re: WTN: 88 Lafite

by Tim York » Fri Aug 29, 2014 6:55 am

Fredrik L wrote:Okay, here is a tough one: which was the latest 88 you had that really gobsmacked you?

Greetings from Sweden / Fredrik L


Never!
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Re: WTN: 88 Lafite

by Tom Troiano » Fri Aug 29, 2014 8:44 am

Fredrik L wrote:Okay, here is a tough one: which was the latest 88 you had that really gobsmacked you?

Greetings from Sweden / Fredrik L



Zero. '89 and '90 way better IMHO.
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Re: WTN: 88 Lafite

by Jenise » Fri Aug 29, 2014 11:39 am

Fredrik L wrote:Okay, here is a tough one: which was the latest 88 you had that really gobsmacked you?

Greetings from Sweden / Fredrik L


Oh I know 88's aren't gobsmacking wines, I've had others and understand what to expect of the vintage. But this was Lafite so my expectations were raised, and that first tiny sample pour made me exclaim to Bob, "this is why we drink Bordeaux!" where subsequent sips, when we finally sat down to enjoy it, didn't quite hold up.
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Re: WTN: 88 Lafite

by David M. Bueker » Fri Aug 29, 2014 1:36 pm

'88 Lafite was the first 1st I ever bought. Drank it within the same week I bought it in 1996. Damn good wine back then. Still have the cork.
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Re: WTN: 88 Lafite

by Jenise » Fri Aug 29, 2014 3:55 pm

Cool, David. This one is from a set I bought out of someone's cellar about ten years ago--$150 ea for all five of the 88 Firsts. Latour and Margaux to go!
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Re: WTN: 88 Lafite

by Dale Williams » Fri Aug 29, 2014 5:00 pm

While I don't think any '88 is a "gobsmacking" wine, I like '88s as long as you plan for the style.
My favorite '88s are Haut Brion and VCC, though Certan de May was surprisingly lush.
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Re: WTN: 88 Lafite

by Harry Cantrell » Fri Aug 29, 2014 10:07 pm

88-Yquem of course
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Re: WTN: 88 Lafite

by David M. Bueker » Fri Aug 29, 2014 10:22 pm

Harry Cantrell wrote:88-Yquem of course


Well yeah, but I hardly think that was the point. ;)
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Re: WTN: 88 Lafite

by Jenise » Sat Aug 30, 2014 12:06 pm

Dale Williams wrote:While I don't think any '88 is a "gobsmacking" wine, I like '88s as long as you plan for the style.
My favorite '88s are Haut Brion and VCC, though Certan de May was surprisingly lush.


The HB was gorgeous. I also liked 88 Lynch Moussas several St. Emilions of no special note that were quite delish at about 15 years out.
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Re: WTN: 88 Lafite

by Covert » Tue Sep 02, 2014 9:18 am

Should I drink my one '98 within ten years? I was planning on leaving it to an heir, if I can ever find one worthy, as it supposedly wouldn't be at its prime until after my demise.
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Re: WTN: 88 Lafite

by Covert » Tue Sep 02, 2014 9:31 am

Jenise wrote:
Dale Williams wrote:While I don't think any '88 is a "gobsmacking" wine, I like '88s as long as you plan for the style.
My favorite '88s are Haut Brion and VCC, though Certan de May was surprisingly lush.


The HB was gorgeous. I also liked 88 Lynch Moussas (and) several St. Emilions of no special note that were quite delish at about 15 years out.


My futures case of 2011 Lynch Moussas arrived at Wally's. As you know, Robert Parker rated it in the 70's, maybe, or close, to the lowest rating he gave any Bordeaux of that vintage. Would you like me to ask Wally's to ship you up a bottle this fall when I take delivery? In case Mr. Parker made a mistake, or does not share our tastes? I liked the wine very much when I tasted it in NYC, as you might remember me posting.

I adored a glass of '88 Mouton, BTW, at my brother's girlfriend's house. His young boy, who had never tasted wine before, had a sip and loved it, too, taking the liberty of pouring himself more helpings, like it was a soda pop, and the bottle quickly disappeared. So I bought a bottle and later opened it, and I had a similar experience to the one you described with Lafite.
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Re: WTN: 88 Lafite

by Jenise » Tue Sep 02, 2014 6:58 pm

Covert wrote:Should I drink my one '98 within ten years? I was planning on leaving it to an heir, if I can ever find one worthy, as it supposedly wouldn't be at its prime until after my demise.


Yes, you should. #1, The difference between here and absolute prime may not be all that great, and your ability to taste the greatness of the pedigree even if you opened it tonight is going to greatly outpace that of any of the heirs you might will it to. Greatness is typically not evident to the untrained palate, nor is it meaningful to the unschooled wine drinker. DRINK IT YOURSELF.
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Re: WTN: 88 Lafite

by Jenise » Tue Sep 02, 2014 7:00 pm

Covert wrote:
Jenise wrote:
Dale Williams wrote:While I don't think any '88 is a "gobsmacking" wine, I like '88s as long as you plan for the style.
My favorite '88s are Haut Brion and VCC, though Certan de May was surprisingly lush.


The HB was gorgeous. I also liked 88 Lynch Moussas (and) several St. Emilions of no special note that were quite delish at about 15 years out.


My futures case of 2011 Lynch Moussas arrived at Wally's. As you know, Robert Parker rated it in the 70's, maybe, or close, to the lowest rating he gave any Bordeaux of that vintage. Would you like me to ask Wally's to ship you up a bottle this fall when I take delivery? In case Mr. Parker made a mistake, or does not share our tastes? I liked the wine very much when I tasted it in NYC, as you might remember me posting.

I adored a glass of '88 Mouton, BTW, at my brother's girlfriend's house. His young boy, who had never tasted wine before, had a sip and loved it, too, taking the liberty of pouring himself more helpings, like it was a soda pop, and the bottle quickly disappeared. So I bought a bottle and later opened it, and I had a similar experience to the one you described with Lafite.



The Mouton in my set was rather a disappointment, and I popped it at a stage when others were saying bad things of it, saying it was maturing early. Can't recall any other details, but I have consumed my quintet in the order most prudent to their individual potentials.

Yes, re the Lynch Moussas, I would not say no to that.
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Re: WTN: 88 Lafite

by Covert » Tue Sep 02, 2014 8:06 pm

Jenise wrote:
Covert wrote:Should I drink my one '98 within ten years? I was planning on leaving it to an heir, if I can ever find one worthy, as it supposedly wouldn't be at its prime until after my demise.


Yes, you should. #1, The difference between here and absolute prime may not be all that great, and your ability to taste the greatness of the pedigree even if you opened it tonight is going to greatly outpace that of any of the heirs you might will it to. Greatness is typically not evident to the untrained palate, nor is it meaningful to the unschooled wine drinker. DRINK IT YOURSELF.


Okay, done, thanks. I'll wait for a Sideways state of mind and drink it with a hamburger, but not out of a paper cup.

And I'll shoot a bottle of LM to you.
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Re: WTN: 88 Lafite

by Ian A » Wed Sep 03, 2014 4:50 pm

Hello I am a new boy here...sorry Jenise you were underwhelmed by your '88 Lafite. I know the feeling of having high expectations only to be disappointed.

I have had it before and have marked it down as one of those lean-style classic Lafites that can be unflattering to drink but will eventually accumulate into a splendid bottle. When I last tried it a few years ago I adored its leafiness. I would even go as far as saying that along with the 89 and 90 it is part of a misunderstood triumvirate, just as the 1985 was in its youth.

For the vintage as a whole I would say it is a vintage for hardcore claret aficionados. I think brilliant wines were made at the Pichons, though the last Baron I had very recently faded on me a bit. Mouton is finally coming into its own and it was the first vintage for the recently departed Baroness, and Latour is very solid in this vintage.

I love the Cordier wines of Gruaud and Talbot in this vintage too, while in Graves Pape Clement made a very good wine. And someone mentioned Sauternes-Barsac. Some wonderful wines for current drinking from down there
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Re: WTN: 88 Lafite

by Dale Williams » Thu Sep 04, 2014 9:21 am

Hmmmm, could this be the same Ian A I know? Boyish Brit I bested in a Bordeaux buying bet? (say that 3 times fast). :)
Welcome!
Re Sauternes/Barsac- I'd probably put '88 as my slight favorite in what's probably the greatest 3 vintage run (88, 89, 90) in modern times.
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Re: WTN: 88 Lafite

by Ian A » Thu Sep 04, 2014 12:20 pm

Yes it's me Dale...I have been lurking for some time - because you know, I like to lurk - and then decided to take the plunge. I noticed that you are very prolific on this forum.

**Dale Williams is the fastest note writer in the west. He always gets his notes out before anyone else**

Yes I remember I lost that bet to you re the price of high end 2005 bordeaux. I thought they were absurdly highly priced and that the prices would fall - within a year I think we bet. Prices kept rising - for a while - taking the whole bordeaux pricing structure with it, and you won the bet.

However, several years later I am claiming a Pyrrhic victory! Prices for 2005s are now generally lower than they were at release, at least that is true here in the UK.

I would even say there are some bargains out there now.
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Re: WTN: 88 Lafite

by Diane (Long Island) » Thu Sep 04, 2014 4:27 pm

Well, I only own one 1988 - Cos D'Estournel - and hope to open it within the next couple of months. I'll be very disappointed if it is totally dried out.
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Re: WTN: 88 Lafite

by Dale Williams » Thu Sep 04, 2014 4:49 pm

Ian, I should mention your "payment" was 1989 Lafite
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=11091&p=89720&hilit=1989+lafite+1988#p89720

I seem to see a lot of 2005 Bordeaux at auction, though retail for the firsts (except Mouton) are still up there

Diane, looking forward to your notes when you open Cos.
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Re: WTN: 88 Lafite

by Ian A » Thu Sep 04, 2014 5:54 pm

Yes of course Dale a splendid dinner it was too. Your generosity in sharing the spoils helped to ease the pain of losing the bet... :cry:

Two years later we did a 1989 horizontal - unfortunately without Dale in attendance - and all the top dogs were there, except the ultra-exclusive Pomerol trio of Petrus-Le Pin-Lafleur. We even had Ausone and Cheval Blanc and most of the esteemed lefties. The hot favourites were of course Haut-Brion and LMHB, though one or two betted on over achieving lesser growths like Lynch-Bages, Pichon Baron and Montrose.

Given the hype surrounding the Lynch it was put it in the H-B and LMHB flight and it got mashed, but none of these was the wotn. In the previous flight the voting for the three wines was 11-1-0, the most emphatic result of any of the six flights. The three wines were Mouton Palmer Lafite. Palmer got one vote and Lafite 11. It was runaway wine of the night in an exceptionally strong field. The two Brions shared the podium but the Lafite was the clear winner.

The 1990 is a hypothetical blend of the 1988 and 1989. It has the underlying quality of the 1989 and the austerity of the 1988. All three vintages should turn out very well. Contrary to received wisdom I reckon Lafite really was on form in this period. You never know prices might continue to come down, given the crackdown on conspicuous consumption in China.
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Re: WTN: 88 Lafite

by Ian A » Thu Sep 04, 2014 6:07 pm

Re the 2005s in London prices are down by up to 40-50% from their peaks for some of the very top wines but they went up by more than just 11% in the earlier years. Some - but not all - are below their release prices.

The quality of the 2005 vintage is much more assured. It wasn't all hype. So over here you can pick up likes of a Montrose and Pichon Baron - as good as it gets - at pretty reasonable prices.

I happen to think that 2010 took things to a different level on the left bank but that is a different discussion entirely.
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