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1970 Pavie, La Lagune, 93 Rousseau, 88 Rieussec


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Notes from a casual dinner with friends:

With 2 kinds of foie gras paté:

1997 Pierre Sparr Gewurztraminer Mambourg Vendage Tardive – the colour was quite golden and the nose was showing some evidence of age, but also complexity. It was very smooth on palate and had good length, an excellent match with the foie gras!

With duck confit, and rare sliced duck breast and mashed yams:

1993 Armand Rousseau Ruchottes Chambertain Clos des Ruchottes (a monopole) – good colour and a very good nose of spiced plums, but where did the wine go on palate? Excessive acidity and no flavour punch in the middle. It went passably well with the duck, but was missing the fruit and weight I’d have hoped for.

With roasted lamb:

1970 Ch. Pavie – this St. Emilion has been much in the news with high reviews for recent vintages, but this wine represents the pre-resurrection product, from a time when this producer was going through a low period. Nonetheless it exhibited a pretty good nose, with oak and some fruit, but the fruit was lacking in the mouth, there was a chalky feel to it in mid-palate and the wine finished short and slightly astringent. If it were the only wine open, I’d have no problem drinking it, however the next wine blew it into the weeds.

1970 Ch. La Lagune – I have always liked this house and gained added respect for it when I did a 13 or 14 vintage vertical a few years ago – very consistent performance. The nose was probably not quite up to that of the Pavie (nose being that wine’s best attribute), but on palate the fruit was present and the feel was smooth and sweet with good length and balance, the end being nicely touched with sweetness as well. Everything I love about Bordeaux.

1988 Ch. Rieussec – oddly enough, the best wine of the night was the last – this Sauternes is really hitting stride now, and I rate it considerably higher than I did when I last tasted it. The honey and coconut are still there, but the Botrytis element seems more to the fore, and there was toffee there as well. Sweet, and long, a great end to the meal, served with cheeses.

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The Bordeaux were opened a half hour ahead and decanted, then enjoyed over the next 3/4 hour.That seems to work well for most of the 1970 vintage, bar those like Latour and Montrose that need a bit more time to open.

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