TN Chateau Palmer 1979 and Chateau La Gaffeliere 1964
Many 1979 red Bordeauxs were somewhat light and are now past their
best. But it was a very mixed year. The best 1979 I have had is
Chateau Petrus which is one of the top wines of the year and anything
but light. Chateau Palmer has been very good for quite some time, and
is one of the better wines of 1979, especially at this late date.
The wine was stored properly since release and had a good cork and
high fill. The color is still quite intense scarlet with only little
indication around the rim that it is 28 years old. The bouquet is
quite intense as is the taste. There is the usual cassis, a floral
component and hints of herbs and spices. There is just the right
amount of acid to balance the wine, and it has now smoothed. The
aftertaste is very long. This is a very easy wine to drink. It is so
well balanced that it tastes just as good alone as with food. This is
one of the better wines of reasonable price (when released) that I
have had recently.
The Gaffeliere 1964 was my only bottle of it, and it was properly
stored. The results in 1964 were very mixed depending on grape types,
weather conditions, and location. Some first growths were not fit to
drink and soon fell apart. Other wines turned out fairly good. I would
have predicted that this wine would have been well over the hill, but
it was not. It as, many other 1964s, had a good bit of acid and very
dry tannin for many years. I expected that it would just dry up. But
it smoothed considerably, the very dry tannins are now resolved
enough, and there is considerable fruit enhanced by bottle bouquet
that has developed. It is quite drinkable, but hardly a fine wine.
There is a faint bitter note that I could do without. This style of
wine is very old fashioned St. Emilion made before many St. Emilions
were Parkerized and sometimes tried to imitate the body of Petrus.
Although someone who has not tasted this style likely would predict
that they are light and would not last, the fact is that many of the
old style St. Emilions lasted quite well. However they often were not
very nice when young and could go through a long dumb phase,
especially in years that were a little unripe and had much acid. In
this age, few have the time to wait many years for a wine to mature,
especially if it is not a top, fine wine.