In the June posting of this
newsletter I recommended the 2002 Chateau Gloria, and this month I want to talk
about a couple of other wines from this mediocre vintage, some blockbuster
wines from the great 1982 and 1990 vintages, and recommend a couple of Ontario
The 2002 Chateau d’Armailhac
is a beautiful wine from this also-ran vintage that is soft if a bit thin –
typical for the vintage. For less money
the Gloria is better, but both are excellent and ready to drink now. The same is true for the ’02 Chateau Siran
from Margaux. This is a wine that is big
and dense in good years, but thin in the ’02. Additionally the 2002 Vieux Chateau Gaubert from the Graves region of
Bordeaux (right bank) is denser than the other three wines but also lacks the
kind of structure and depth that would make it a wine to cellar. Drink these now. The ‘02’s are not as bad as the ‘97’s and
they are pleasant enough to enjoy this weekend. My recommendation is to drink these now while your ‘95’s, ‘96’s, 2000’s,
and ‘01’s are aging in your cellar.
1982 was a great vintage in Bordeaux. I tasted the ’82 Chateau Leoville Poyferre
(St. Julien) and it was an amazing wine that became even more interesting as it
opened. It was layered and complex with
beautiful barnyard and earthy notes that finished with cedar, cigar box and
hints of licorice. It had a long finish
that lingered on my pallet and is an excellent example of what happens to great Bordeaux when
they are given over twenty years to age.
The same was true for the 1982
Chateau Le Gay from Pomerol. This wine
was huge right out of the bottle but after a short time in the decanter became
silky smooth and elegant. It lingered on
the tongue with slight hints of hay, mint and leather – all beautifully
balanced and perfectly integrated. 1982
was the vintage Robert Parker made his reputation on and these wines are fine
examples of why.
1990 was another great
vintage and we tasted the Chateau Gruaud Larose next to the ’82 Leoville
Poyferre. The Larose was rougher and
less elegant, but it is also eight years younger. 1990 was an excellent vintage and we’ll see
what these wines do in another ten years. My recommendation is to get your hands on all the ‘90’s you can and keep
them for another five years.
Two Ontario Wines:
I’ve said in this space
before that I believe Ontario makes some of the best white wines in the world, particularly Chardonnay. Although much of it has become pricy (and I
refuse to pay $30/bottle for any white wine except Sauterne) there are still
some great wines to be had. Jackson
Triggs makes some of the best Chard, and the Delaine vineyard is almost always
exquisite. We opened a bottle of this on
a hot summer day and it was outstanding.
A true surprise from Ontario is the 2003
Strewn blend of Cabernet, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Out of the bottle it has earth tones and a
hint of oak that is not overpowering. As
it opened up it was less interesting, but for an inexpensive Ontario wine this is probably worth trying.