Dale Williams wrote:Good luck on your decade! I certainly won't argue based on a 2 oz tasting (10 of us having dinner with about 18 vintages). And it may well be that this showed as ready because this might have seen a lot of air (we typically double-decant before these tastings, unsure re the '99- think I brought '75, '81,and maybe '88 -all double-decanted in advance).
But my general feeling (from that tasting and other bottles of recent Gruaud, though maybe not the '99) was that in the mid-90s Gruaud took a big turn from their more traditional big backward style and started to make low-acid fruit-forward friendly-tannin wines. Nothing wrong with that, but not what I was looking for in Gruaud (especially to age).
Of course a lot of drinking windows is merely preference. Sometimes I think that a wine needs to age because the tannins are flat out intrusive in their youth (think '88 & '94). Sometimes I think it needs to age because while it's full at release (think '89, '90, '96 left, '98 right) age will add a beautiful layer of complexity. Other wines I think are best drunk up pretty soon after release ('91. '92, most '97s). Then there are the vintages that are kind of in between. That's how I see most good '99s. I don't think most classed growths will fall apart in 10 years. But not sure how much complexity they'll gain. And why waste cellar space on stuff you're not pretty hopeful is going to really improve (this is not "I only cellar great vintages", I have many individual wines that are not from "collectible" vintages)? I think the '99 LLC for instance has more stuffingand will benefit from cellaring. But I personally (based on one small taste and general "New Gruaud" impressions) would just as soon drink the Gruaud over next couple years with a steak than wait to see if it will ever be a "mature Bordeaux" to drink with roast chicken.
Thanks again for the notes!
(edited to be clear -replaced "it" with "the Gruaud")
I think that as so many 99s are so approachable now, at tastings they might give the illusion of being for the short term rather than mid-term - a "mistake" (depending on one's preferences of course) that I made at several tastings until I sat down for dinner with some bottles and got better acquainted with them. A recent pristine bottle of the Gruaud 99 however showed that this will keep well - even this heat afflicted wine was structured. But the low acidity and warm fruit which seem to be signatures of the vintage seem to mask the tannic structure. And, as you say, drinking windows are very personal and I admit to being something of a necrophiliac
I understand your point of not wanting to waste cellar space, but I do want more aged qualities in mine, so I do not feel I am wasting my space! As always, de gustibum non est disputandum (though what would be the fun in that?).
I don't drink wine because of religious reasons ... only for other reasons.