Had opened a series of boring/disappointing wines last week, so in frustration planned an all-Bordeaux weekend. Unfortunately I burned my tongue on some too hot food on Saturday so never advanced beyond the two opened Friday.
1998 Lafon Rochet, St. Estephe (80% cab, 20% merlot)
I believe this is the third bottle I've opened out of the case I bought four years ago. I remember thinking that the first was just about the blackest wine I'd ever tasted--black fruit, black licorice, tar. The second showed was all charred barrel and smoked tea, and I hated it. From that, I couldn't imagine that wine coming into a balance I would approve of. That's why I was so willing to sacrifice another bottle of it for science even though I'm not really into my 98's yet. And I'm glad I did, because though the wine will clearly reward further cellaring, it's actually relatively open and attractive right now. Some warm, redder fruits in the boysenberry and black cherry range are there, and so is some cigarishness and signs of the leathery stuff one lives for in a maturing Bordeaux. So though I've opened two bottles in the past, I feel like only now have I finally tasted the wine.
2001 D'Armailhac, Pauillac (70% cab, 17% mer, 13% CF)
Historically, D'Armailhac is a lighter, less vivid, early maturing Pauillac. The 01 is no exception, and therein lies it's appeal. Decanted two hours. Medium ruby color and body. On the palate, red fruit, soft tannins and a tiny bit of floral perfume from the merlot; as well, there's a sweet, almost cream-flavored oak presence plus a Graves-like minerality that suggest an earthier, lusher wine in the future though it's very approachable now. A wine to snuggle with.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov