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comparison for 02 Ch Margaux


cnspriggs
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Hello!

My mother splurged and got a gift for my other half -a 2002 Chateau Margaux (this along with Ch Palmer are his favorites) but her condition for buying it is that it is to be opened blind (in the next month or so and no I can't convince her to age it) beside another wine that would make an interesting comparison with price being less than $70. It would be preferable to get something of a similar makeup and nonfrench. I've been looking at some selections from Chile or S.Africa but am open to any country. Can anyone suggest a wine that would be interesting for this tasting?

Cheers.

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If you're looking for new world, I would make a couple of Aussie suggestions that should at least threaten to come in under your price threshhold. Mosswood makes a very nice cab that has held its own very well against a good vintage of Ducru. Maybe a little steep in price is the Parker Estate first growth from Coonawarra, but it should be close. It struck me like a slightly forward Graves and was extremely enjoyable. Both have a classic enough profile that they can stand well with left bank Medocs.

Enjoy,

Jim

Jim Jones

London, England

Never teach a pig to sing. It only wastes your time and frustrates the pig.

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My mother splurged and got a gift for my other half -a 2002 Chateau Margaux (this along with Ch Palmer are his favorites) but her condition for buying it is that it is to be opened blind (in the next month or so and no I can't convince her to age it) beside another wine that would make an interesting comparison with price being less than $70. It would be preferable to get something of a similar makeup and nonfrench.  ...  Can anyone suggest ...

Wait a minute. Are we on the same planet? You are talking about a product of quality and (unless it has changed lately) subtlety that a lot of people have gone to a lot of trouble to make in the hope that people will know (or look up) how to use it. Part of "how to use it" is that you leave it alone for several years in good conditions to finish the process. Otherwise, it is as if you pulled a loaf back out of the oven when it was just starting to bake, or plucked a delicate fruit from a tree when it first appeared, immature. It is incomplete.

Convince her to age it. Or, go and get (it's easy these days) a 1978 or 1983 (sigh) or 1985 or something, which is ready. The great hell of it is, this may even be less expensive than the '02, thanks to the current bizarre atypical inverted price-age relationship.

Good luck, regardless. -- Max

--------

The wine of the [Clos Vougeot] was sent to the Popes in their exile in Avignon, and Petrarch said that it was this that made them so reluctant to end the schism and return to Rome! One abbot, already mentioned, sent thirty [barrels] to Pope Gregory XI, and four years later -- Vougeot, even then, took some time to develop -- was made a cardinal.

Harold Waldo Yoxall, The Wines of Burgundy, Stein and Day, second edition 1978, ISBN 0812860918

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Convince her to age it.  Or, go and get (it's easy these days) a 1978 or 1983 (sigh) or 1985 or something, which is ready.

I fully agree but there are reasons on why she wants to age it. My other half is a winemaker and one of the reasons he like Ch Margaux and Ch Palmer is that he has been fortunate enough to try aged bottles (>20yrs old) of these wine. However, he has told my mother in casual conversation that he has never been able to try these great wines young and would be curious to taste what these wines are like in their youth that enables them to age into such beautiful old wines when other wines that he has tried barely make it to 10 yrs old before tasting tired. I think that it was encredibly generous for my mother to buy him this bottle and if she wants to open it for him in a teaching way with this blind tasting then one can hope it will make my other half a better winemaker for it and we all benefit. Hope that adds some clarification on why she wants to open it.

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Perhaps a Columbia Valley Cab, like Betz or Buty? It's possible they'll give a young, middlin-year Margaux a run for it's money.

Though I also like the idea of just tasting against a well-aged first growth to connect the points.

Drink maker, heart taker!

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Convince her to age it.  Or, go and get (it's easy these days) a 1978 or 1983 (sigh) or 1985 or something, which is ready.

I fully agree but there are reasons on why she wants to age it. My other half is a winemaker and one of the reasons he like Ch Margaux and Ch Palmer is that he has been fortunate enough to try aged bottles (>20yrs old) of these wine. However, he has told my mother in casual conversation that he has never been able to try these great wines young and would be curious to taste what these wines are like in their youth that enables them to age into such beautiful old wines when other wines that he has tried barely make it to 10 yrs old before tasting tired. I think that it was encredibly generous for my mother to buy him this bottle and if she wants to open it for him in a teaching way with this blind tasting then one can hope it will make my other half a better winemaker for it and we all benefit. Hope that adds some clarification on why she wants to open it.

I have a wonderful mother in law but......

First, your post raises some very interesting thoughts.

Most wine is made to be drunk within a few years of its vintage. My understanding is that the Bordelaise consume their wines at a relatively young age while the British (who have perhaps influenced the Bordeaux wine market more than any) prefer their Bordeaux at very advanced age (relatively).--two ends of the spectrum.

Determining when a wine (any wine) is at peak drinking age is a dicey proposition--there are volumes written and endless dabates and even then, one always comes back to the definition of "peak."

For eg. I personally enjoy most New World wines on the young side--seven to ten years is more than enough time IMOP. Others enjoy them at ten to fifteen years.

I have had older Bordeaux that Brits rhapse poetic over wherein I find them washed out and over the hill.

In the end there is a lot of cultural and personal taste at play.

On the wine making end of things--there is just as much debate as to what makes a wine age "well."

Second, the 2002 is a particularly tannic example of Margaux (the 2001 is actually quite nice right now).

It might be quite interesting to "compare" the 2002 Margaux to a 2002 version of a wine that your husband has found historically to be a poor ager. (definitely something cabernet based trying to keep apples to apples). He may be able to discern differences in the two wines at the same age--basically what has the Margaux got that the 2002 whatever not got (or vice verse).

In any case--it would be immensely interesting if you (or he) could post the results here!

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Convince her to age it.  Or, go and get (it's easy these days) a 1978 or 1983 (sigh) or 1985 or something, which is ready.

... there are reasons on why she wants [not] to age it. ... Hope that adds some clarification on why she wants to open it.

Thanks, that makes more sense to me, I didn't know of the special circumstances from the original query.

It's often observed (or anyway, it has been often observed in recent generations) that it takes time, at least for consumers, to get to know the aging behavior of wines. Just as it takes time to train a palate. FWIW and probably obvious, an activity I found valuable is for people to get together and pool their resources in various ways. A tasting group can distribute the cost of tasting something expensive, or do it more often, or provide a better opportunity for an enthusiast with a deep cellar to share samples. In the past it was fashionable in the US for people even to form "first growth clubs" -- this was when a good first-growth Bordeaux, like Margaux, was maybe $100 in today's dollars, or less -- and invest in a dozen of one or more such wines, then pull them over the years, and watch them age. A bunch of mature physicians in San Francisco used to do this and I remember around 1987 when a favorite local restaurant became suddenly hip (the influential critics having discovered it), lo and behold that group surfaced there for one of its tastings, in formal dinner clothes. (The UC-Sotheby book in 1984, one of those milestone books every few years that assess the state of a young region's winemaking, had a chapter on tasting organizations including first-growth clubs, including that one even, I think. The book is ISBN 0520050851 by the way and easily available.)

Still unless things have changed a lot lately, many of these wines are made with the clear understanding that normal consumption will be years later, often 20 years for heavy Bordeaux in strong years. My experience supports this. In a 1980 newspaper article I read at the time, a US writer tipped people off to the value of one 1970 Bordeaux then selling for $20 (5th growth) and added "it is infanticide to drink it now, of course." I tried some then and later and the writer was right, of course. Opened another and generally heavy Bordeaux, 1985 Ch. Léoville-Las-Cases, at age 15 for example, and it was not ready; then opened a 1975 of the same wine, at age 25, and even that was not ready. This is enough to tax some people's patience, yet the ones from good years that have been ready have been worth the wait. The situation prevails even with Burgundy (I proposed a Burgundy Rescue League after seeing Clos de Tart sold obviously immature and hard as nails, in a corporate restaurant in New Orleans) and with California (where some longtime buyers of Ridge Monte Bello Cabernet told me they'd have to give it up because they were getting to be of an age where waiting the requisite 20 years was less actuarially sound ...).

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