Do you think the gap between adjusted 1970/71 prices and today’s dollars can be noticeably closed by selecting a First Growth’s “second” wine. Carraudes de Lafite, Behans Haut Brion, Forts de Latour, etc. come to mind as chips off the old blocks you could be glad to know today.
Keeping in mind that I haven’t had ANY of the new vintages of these wines in, figure the last 25-30 vintages . . . .
I loved the 1967 Les Forts de Latour at $7.95, or even the 1968 (!) for $5.95 . . . and the 1966 Carraudes de Lafite was only $17.95, compared to the '66 Château Lafite at $33. And if the currently available (off the shelf) these types of wines were, today, in the $30s, 40s, or even (maybe) in the $50-range, then maybe, MAYBE, I would say “yes.” But when these are in the hundreds . . . I have to say “no, not really.”
My problem is that these are not like “Bud Light vs. Budweiser.” Historically, Les Forts de Latour comes from the estate’s younger vines; Carraudes de Lafite comes from vineyard parcels deemed not good enough for the grand vin. In other words, how the wine is made, what the wine is made of (the grape blend), may be – and probably is – different from the grand vin, and those differences will vary from one estate to another.
For the same price, or less, I would prefer to buy the grand vin from a top-quality but lesser ranked château.
The second labels were recommended as a reasonable way to experience the First Growths’ terroirs and winemakers’ craft, as well as a means of tracking the aging of the prestige bottles. To be sure the grape selection and higher proportion of Merlot does not make them completely comparable, but the suggestion could be there . . .
Yeah, I used to say the exact same thing to my clients – that there were “a reasonable way to experience the First Growths’ terroirs and winemakers’ craft” – when I was selling 2nd labels back in the 1970s. And at $6.95, I think they were totally worth it! But not when they are in the triple digits . . .
As for being “a means of tracking the aging of the prestige bottles,” I would strongly disagree. The fact that the Grand Vin may be (e.g.) 75 percent Cabernet Sauvignon while the 2nd label may be 50 percent Merlot means it’s doubtful anything can be learned about being able to track the aging potential of one by tasting/drinking the other. The same applies to the difference in winemaking regimen/technique. And considering that the terroirs between the Grand Vin and the 2nd label may vary considerably . . .
Not in a position here to have seriously experienced the second recommendation.
Any recs for Ridge winery zinfandel . I had the east bench and was very good . Have you had any of the other zins ?
I took the liberty of breaking out your question into a brand-new topic HERE
Consumed in San Diego with oysters on the half-shell . . .
2012 Argyle Brut (Oregon): A blend of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir, this was a very youthful, lively, and austere sparkling wine, crisp and clean, with hints of minerality and chalk (?!). Indeed, I’d be hard-pressed to identify this is a domestic sparkler; I am sure I’d guess this to be a true Champagne . . . really, really good!
Champagne (or sparking wine) and oysters…my perfect starter. My husband has some weird tasting issues (he’s probably a super taster), and he can’t/won’t have any seafood with wine. He says the combo for him, whether white/red etc., always results in an very strong and unpleasant metallic taste. More for me!
Had this zin with a nice grilled tri-tip and crispy smashed potatoes. The tri-tip had a ton of garlic, salt, pepper, and rosemary which went perfectly with the spices in the wine.
Served last night with roasted chicken and corn-on-the-cob . . .
2012 Teruzzi & Puthod “Terre di Tufi” (Toscana IGT, Italy)
This straw-colored wine, a blend of native Vernaccia di San Gimignano grapes, combined with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc – barrel-fermented and then aged in 30 percent new, and 70 percent used oak – is a layered, beautiful wine, loaded with complexity. The aromatics are closer to Vernaccia, but a little rounder and more forward, with light spice, green apple, and a touch of fig; on the palate, the wine is medium-bodied, satiny in texture, and round on the palate, with a lush feel; the flavors highlight the varietal qualities of Vernaccia and Chardonnay, with a firm core at the middle and a very long, complex finish. Truly excellent.
Jason , Your pictures of your wines are not visible . Just wanted to let you know . By the way thanks for the Ridge winery write up . I’ m bringing some bottles of the Lytton springs and the Geyserville to my nephews BD party next week .
I dunno . . . I can see them . . . . site issue?
Could be site issue . I’m not seeing the pics . All others on the thread are visible .
I see all three Jason . More fabulous wines from you . A OK
Served Saturday night with roasted stuffed quail, and pappardelle with a fresh tomato-and-herb sauce . . .
1997 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Domaine de la Mordorée (Rhône): This is the “regular”/normale cuvée from this relatively new (1985, IIRC) but top-notch estate, located actually in Tavel but with great vineyard sites in the southern Rhône. Garnet-hued with some bricking at the edge, clear and clean after decanting off the amble sediment; the bouquet was an enticing mélange of blueberry, raspberry, strawberry, lilac, lavender, herbs and spice, light earthiness, and that classic garrigue; on the palate, the wine is round and silky, with finely integrated tannins, abundant flavors and layered complexity revealing itself throughout the evening as the wine continued to open up, all carried through the very long, flavorful finish. Truly a wonderful Châteauneuf!
Following dinner Saturday night, some friends dropped by and so I opened this . . .
Niepoort 1999 Colheita¹ Porto, bottled in 2015 (Douro, Portugal): Amber-mahagony in color, clear and bright; the rich, forward bouquet is a delightful mix of ripe fig, dates and other dried fruits, coupled with freshly shelled walnuts, caramel, spice and more; medium-light in body but with a silky, supple mouthfeel, the wine fills the mouth with generous flavors of fruit and spice, accented with hints of cocoa, vanilla, coffee and more – very complex indeed – with moderate sweetness and good acidity to carry that sweetness through the long, lingering finish without being cloying or syrupy. This is a brilliant wine!
¹ For those who may not know or fully understand exactly what a Colheita Porto is, it is – in a sense – exactly the opposite of a Vintage Porto. By law, a Vintage Porto comes from grapes harvested in a single year and ages in wood for two years and then bottled (technically the wine must be bottled between July of the second year following the harvest to June of the third year – but in common parlance, it’s “two years”). A Vintage Porto needs time in the bottle to age and mature properly. A Late Bottled Vintage Porto ages between four and six years in wood, after which it is bottled. But a Colheita Porto is from a single harvest (all the grapes come from one year), but must age a minimum of seven years – the definition of a Tawny Porto – but is bottled whenever the winemaker deems that it’s ready to drink. In the above example, all the grapes were from the 1999 harvest and the wine was bottled in 2015, so it spent (approximately) 16 years in wood prior to bottling. But a 1999 Colheita could have been bottled in 2006 (after 7 years), or in 2010, or not until 2020, or maybe 2049 – after FIFTY years in wood: it all depends upon the specific wine and the winemaker. But because there can be multiple bottlings from a single harvest, it is always important to note both the year of harvest (1999) and the year of bottling (2015).
Served Sunday night with kofta (lamb meatballs), roasted vegetables and an arugula-watermelon-mint salad . . .
2000 Ridge Vineyards Zinfandel, “Sonoma Station” Sonoma County, California): Ten different vineyards (located in the Russian River, Dry Creek, and Alexander Valleys) were sourced for this wine, which is – in a sense – the antithesis of Ridge’s “normal practice” of producing wines from a single vineyard. This is a blend of 75 percent Zinfandel, 16 percent Petite Sirah, and 9 percent Carignane, bottled in late 2001 or early 2002. The wine was a blood garnet in color, showing some bricking at the rim; the bouquet is unmistakably Zinfandel, with olallieberries, black raspberries, blackberries, oak, generous spice and earth; all this is echoed on the medium-full palate – ripe fruit, loads of spice and a touch of earth – and carried through the long finish, which shows just the tiniest bit of drying at the edges – really its only sign of age. Just delightful, and shows that every once in a while, Paul Draper “gets it wrong” (his notes on the label said best by 2006 – but this was pretty damned good a decade later!