Cellar Journal: Bordeaux 1920-2015


Every now and again I sweep up the tasting notes for wines that fall through the cracks between standalone articles, Cellar Favorites and Vinous Tables. The last edition of Cellar Journal was back in July 2018, so I am long overdue a second tranche. Part of the delay was due to my heart surgery in May 2019, which threw my plans into disarray. In fact, this article includes the very last wine I drank just before experiencing the first signs of trouble, though I am not suggesting that the wonderful bottle of 1983 Latour was the cause. Some of the tasting notes derive from mini-verticals at châteauxLéoville Las-Cases, Nénin and Batailley, for example – that provided insufficient notes for standalone pieces, but are useful in terms of updating the database to keep readers abreast of how they are evolving. 

The 1955 Ripeau and 1955 Cheval Blanc were served at a private dinner in Beaune.

The wines in this article include “big names” such as the aforementioned First Growth and monuments such as the 1982 Mouton-Rothschild (from an ex-cellar jeroboam) or the 1990 Cheval Blanc that serve to update existing notes on the Vinous database. More importantly, however, this roundup covers esoteric names and/or less heralded vintages. For example, who knew that the 1955 Ripeau, the 1982 Cos-Labory or the 1990 Certan-Giraud (now Hosanna) could yield so much pleasure for savvy Bordeaux-lovers? These notes keep you “in the know.” At the opposite end of the scale, some expensive wines from off vintages are for curiosity purposes only: wines like the 1984 Lafite-Rothschild or the perplexing 1996 Léoville Poyferré. Incidentally, all the aforementioned bottles were served blind, another important factor in assessing mature claret without prejudice.

The 1955 Ripeau was certainly not overawed by the 1955 Cheval Blanc.

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