Old wine sure does taste good!

Last week I got the opportunity to taste some back vintage Bordeaux at Bella Vino Stony Point.  We had 8 wines on tap for the evening from all over Bordeaux, from St. Emillion to St. Estephe. 



We started off the evening with the one white of the list and the youngest wine of the evening.


Wine 1 – 2007 Chateau Ducasse Bordeaux Blanc (100% Sauvignon Blanc) $18 – Made by winemaker Herve Dubourdieu, most famous for his Sauternes, he uses the leftover Sauvignon Blanc to make this wine. This wine was fairly round so my guess it was aged Sur Lies since no oak was used in its production.

Nose – mineral, apricot and grapefruit

Taste – citrus, star fruit and slate

Mouthfeel – medium body, round in the middle with slight crispness at the end

Finish – quite long for a Sauv. Blanc


I prefer Sauvignon Blanc’s to be crisper than this one was. It was an enjoyable wine but for $18 you can find a lot better examples of the varietal.


Wine 2 – 1998 Chateau Simard St. Emillion (70% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc) $35 – This wine is usually released after 10 years of aging and the vineyards are a stones throw from the first growths.


Nose – leather, tar, cherry, red currant

Taste – dusty reminiscent of grandmas house, leather and raspberry

Mouthfeel – full body, with leathery tannins

Finish – long, dry with nice balanced acidity


Wine 3 – 1998 Chateau Le Castelet Pomerol (100% Merlot) $32 – 1998 was a great vintage in Pomerol, that led to smooth age worthy wines.  There was some debate on whether or not this wine was corked or if it had some induced brett that went a bit too far. I thought it was brett personally, the aromas didn’t give me the same nose and taste that TCA usually does.


Nose – red raspberry, cassis, cedar and funk (reminiscent of brett)

Taste – cherry, leather, cranberry, fresh raw green pepper, bandaid??

Mouthfeel – medium body, very fuzz tannins

Finish – long, very dry, even for a ’98 this wine could use some time


Wine 4 – 2001 Le Pardre de Haut-Bailly Pessac-Leognan (mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with Merlot) $40 – This is a second wine from this producer so it allows greater value from the region.


Nose – smoke!, blackberry (except for the smoke, the nose was fairly tight)

Taste – black cherry, eucalyptus and vanilla

Mouthfeel – medium with dusty tannins

Finish – long, dark fruit flavors hanging on till the end


Wine 5 – 2002 Chateau Les Ormes de Pez St. Estephe (70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc) $31 – From vineyards both North and South of the town of St. Estephe on the left bank of Bordeaux, this wine is another good value from the region.


Nose – red fruit, cooked greens, nice funk

Taste – blackberry, anise, blueberry and stinky cheese

Mouthfeel – medium to full body with dry fuzzy tannins

Finish – long with a lingering flavor of red apple peel


Wine 6 – 1999 Chateau Pontet-Canet Pauillac (61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc) $62 – Classified as a 5th growth, the vineyards for Pontet-Canet are neighbors to 1st growth Mouton Rothschild.


Nose – earth, barnyard, horsey (but in a good way), bright cherry

Taste – cedar, leather and menthol

Mouthfeel – very “rustic”, medium body, fuzzy tannins and nice acidity

Finish – very long with lots of earthy notes


Wine 7 – 2001 Chateau Lagrange St. Julien (65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot) $62 – From the heart of the Medoc, this 3rd Growth, is the only one in line up to include Petit Verdot.

Nose – espresso, black currant, wet earth

Taste – black cherry, raspberry, cocoa, vanilla

Mouthfeel – medium body, nicely integrated acidity and dusty tannins

Finish – medium to long in length with blueberry flavors creeping up at the end


Wine 8 – 1985 Chateau St. Pierre St. Julien (75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc) $98 The grand finale of the evening so to speak, this 4th Growth was very smooth, evident of its 23 years of aging.


Nose – horse stall, broken raw bell pepper, raspberry

Taste – cedar, cherry, red currant, earth

Mouthfeel – very smooth and round with medium body and a touch of acidity on the mid palate

Finish – long and smooth, the tannins were very well integrated yet still present enough to provide nice structure



The ’85 definitely was the highlight of the bunch, great funk, great fruit, super integrated tannins and acidity. My second fave was the ’99 Chautea Pontet-Canet with its great earthy, horsey notes, but it could’ve used a bit more fruit to go with it. 3rd favorite was the Chateau Simard (which I bought), great fruit, nice complex layers and a good price point. If you could have combined those two, it would have been perfect for my palate.


Bella Vino mangager Brad Hemp (middle)


We did end up opening another bottle of the Chateau Castelet to settle the TCA/Brett debate and I when I left the jury was still out. It definitely didn’t have the same nose but I still got abundance of brett on the flavor profile. The difference could’ve been that we popped and poured the second bottle and the first bottle was open for 2 hours, but if it was TCA it would’ve been there no matter what. Oh well…


Thanks to Brad and David for the great tasting, it was definitely a great education for the palate.


Bella Vino Stony Point

9200 Stony Point Parkway
Ste. 155A
Richmond, VA 23235
Phone (804) 272-3202
Fax. (804) 272-3203

Categories: Bordeaux, wine tasting | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Post navigation

4 thoughts on “Old wine sure does taste good!

  1. Lair

    To bad about Bordeaux. One of the famous wine regions of the world. They need to change their business model. The negociant system of selling futures and handling shipping needs to taken apart. To many people buying trophy wines and not enough people buying wines because they work well on the dinner table. The ’99 Chautea Pontet-Canet could have been heat damaged when you tasted it. A big dirty secret with the wine industry is all the stale wine that reaches us. Bella Vino should only use importers that use refrigerated shipping containers for their wine. I know Rosenthal does and I’m pretty sure that Kermit Lynch does. For crisp sauvignon blanc I get a great Duffour 2007 des Côtes de Gascogne for $9. It is made from colombard grapes, flinty, mineraly, grassy. Skurnick brings it in, you should check it out. Comes from next door to Bordeaux at half the price.

  2. Wow- Looks like this was a good day!

  3. kam

    lair– damn, son, the pontet-canet was very tasty.. get over it. cotes de gascogne is good (i’ve had plenty), but this was obviously a bordeaux tasting.

  4. mr. falcon

    yeah, the pomerol is still in my head. guess we gotta open another bottle (and another). funny how that was one of the favorites of several guests that night; the flaw was definitely subtle. glad you came– was fun to taste some wines we don’t ordinarily pop.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s