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Old 12-07-2004, 07:32 PM
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Default Newbie wine questions: Bordeaux

First of all, thank you to all of you who have replied to my previous

I call myself a "newbie" because until just recently, I have never
appreciated the wonders that wine has to offer. Despite switching from
twist-off caps to vintage exclusively eight years ago (generally going with
the waiter's recommendations while dining out), it wasn't until I had an
aged Bordeaux (Chteaux La Lagune, 1975) that my true appreciation was
realized. The once-thought-of as "bitter" tannins were now nothing more than
residue, lost in a silky wonder of taste and smell. I don't have the
experience or the language to describe my experience to everyone here yet
(or the "nose"), but I hope to be able to do so soon.

Any advise on what I should do next? I want to duplicate (or improve) my
first experience. Rated at 86, I'm sure I can do better. But restaurants, or
even wine stores, do not carry the "interesting" ones I might find in a wine
magazine. I did notice the restaurant mark-up is quite high. And when I
google a high rated wine from a popular vintage, I find these in auctions
going for $350 per bottle. What might be a good approach to finding a great,
yet affordable, Bordeaux?

Thanks in advance.

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Old 12-07-2004, 08:14 PM
Dale Williams
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Default Newbie wine questions: Bordeaux

. What might be a good approach to finding a great,
yet affordable, Bordeaux?

Ah, the old Great/Affordable conundrum.

I have tried the following approaches, all of which sometimes have reaped good
results, and sometimes bad:
1) Wines from weaker but not disastrous vintages. Right now a good 1993 might
be pretty good (Lynch-Bages is showing nicely); I've also had some good luck
with Right Bank 1997s like Barde-Haut, Pavie-Macquin, etc. But I don't think
I'd chance any money on say a 1991 or 1992, unless price and provenance were
both great.
2) The opposite, a lesser-known wine from a strong vintage. 1989 and 1990 wines
from Fronsac might be a good example ('90 Fontenil is rockin'). Or good cru
3) Good vintages that are next to "hot" vintages. The difference in price of
1982 over 1983, or 1989 over 1988, are often greater than qualitative
differences really warrant.
4) You won't get the complexities of age, but decanting can do wonders at
making a young Bordeaux approachable.

Where are you? In US, I tend to find the best outlets for aged wine tend to be
in California (Premier Cru is place I buy more older wines than anywhere else).


Dale Williams
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