Wine Talk

Snooth User: tossedsalad

Help with some wines

Posted by tossedsalad, Nov 27, 2009.

I'm a Scotch guy so forgive my ignorance, I've just found the following bottles under the steps, any insight into possible quality/value would be appreciated. I assume none of these should bother to be opened?

1985 Chateau du Barry, Saint-Emilon
1982 Chateau Le Chatelet, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Classe
1985 Chateai Saint-Christoly Medoc
1982 La Paroisse Haut-Medoc



Reply by dmcker, Nov 27, 2009.

You have four aged clarets that I, for one, would be happy to open and drink. Not the most famous wineries, but likely very interesting, nonetheless. The '82 is generally considered one of the two best vintages in Bordeaux of the last 45 years, and one of the 3 or 4 best after 1945. The '85 vintage was also a very good vintage, if not quite as good as the '82.

One question is storage. What does 'under the steps' mean? Depending on that, the condition and drinking quality of the wines may vary greatly. If the storage has been good, wines from St. Emilion and the Medoc can still very much be in their prime.

Chateau du Barry is a lesser known right-bank, with a hefty chunk of merlot in the blend. It's known for being a solid Lussac, and I recently noted a 3L double-double magnum (Jeroboam) of the 2005 on Ebay, of all places, but I haven't had any that I can remember.

Chateau Le Chatelet is in the western part of St. Emilion, on plots where there is history of viticulture from the Roman era. Currently it's being made of 71% merlot and 29% cabernet franc (no cabernet sauvignon at all), though I don't know about the '82. I'd be particularly curious how this tastes now. Here are some tasting notes for the '86 (the '82 is likely to be considerably better than the '86):
I haven't had any Chatelet for nearly two decades.

Chateau Saint-Christoly is a wine that I've actually had fairly recently. A friend served the 2005 with a magret of duck and cepes mushrooms, for which it was a great match. Deep cherry-red color, supple wine with a rounded bouquet. Spice, red fruit and cassis on the nose and palate. Decent glycerin legs, and the oak seemed well integrated. Quite enjoyable, at a very nice, intimate dinner at my friend's place. Lamb also would've been a good match, I remember thinking.

La Paroisse has a much shallower history, being created in 1935 by a cooperative of some 40 growers. It's currently being made of 50% cabernet sauvignon, and 50% merlot. Seems to be positioning itself as good-value-for-price and meant to go with many foods. I haven't had any of this wine. For a humorous picture, here's an '82 La Paroisse magnum with an utterly ravaged label for sale on EBay. Wonder how it's been stored. ;-(
This is the wine of the four that's most likely to be past its prime. No reason not to drink it, though. If you don't like it, save the remainder for a nice sauce with milder meats.

Though the vintages are excellent ones, the labels aren't popular, so there would be little return if you were tempted to try to sell them. My recommendation is to stand them up for a few days (one at a time ;-) ), and drink them either on their own with bread and mild cheese, or with a mildly seasoned matching meal. Would be interested to hear back from you how they taste....

Reply by tossedsalad, Dec 22, 2009.

They've been stored in wine racks but holding them up to the light shows a lot of floaters. These are probably no good, eh?

Reply by dmcker, Dec 23, 2009.

Though it depends on what the 'floaters' are, I suppose, there's nothing to be feared from sediment in general. That's why I suggested standing each bottle upright for three or four days before serving, and, of course, being gentle while pouring and moving the bottle around, to and from the table. Some people might decant, to deal with the sediment issue, but I personally wouldn't in this instance because the wines may be at or perhaps a little past their peaks, and rough treatment will tend to bruise away some of the bouquet and flavor.

Go ahead and open one up and let us know how it drinks! :-)

Reply by tossedsalad, Oct 29, 2013.

Opened one and it was 'off'. Rasberries was all I could think of on the brief sip. Here's hoping for better luck on the next one...

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