Bordeaux Recommendations

Anything but Port, this includes all non-Port fortified wines even if they call themselves Port. There is a search facility for this part of the forum.
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Anything but Port, this includes all non-Port fortified wines even if they call themselves Port. There is a search facility for this part of the forum.
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DRT
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Bordeaux Recommendations

Post by DRT » 21:40 Sun 25 May 2014

About a year ago I decided that drinking Port too regularly was incompatible with my health and wellbeing. I decided to begin collecting some lower end Bordeaux so that I can have something nice to drink now and in my later years.

The cases I have bought to date are:

1970 Chasse-Spleen (£420)
1970 Châteaux Gloria (£400)
1988 d'Angludet (£360)
1989 Châteaux Batailley (£456)
1989 Châteaux Haut Pontet (£84 DP)
1995 La Tour de By 1995 (£200)
1999 La Tour de By 1999 (£108)
2005 Châteaux Batailley (£310)
2009 Châteaux Batailley (£250)
2009 La Croix de Beaucaillou (£295)
2009 Lalande Borie (£140)
2011 Châteaux Batailley (£209)
2011 La Croix de Beaucaillou (£208)
2011 Châteaux Gloria (£195)

All prices above are IB unless otherwise stated for 12 bottles. I bought 6, 12 or 24 of each wine.

The 2005, 2009 and 2011 wines are those I intend cellaring for a few years, the others are already "work in progress". I am particularly keen on picking up more 2005s and 2009s that will stand cellaring for another 10-15 years before the price goes nuts.

Any comment on the prices I am paying for these wines and/or suggestions of other wines to look out for in the range of £100-£300 per case IB would be much appreciated.
"The first duty of Port is to be red"
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Re: Bordeaux Recommendations

Post by djewesbury » 21:44 Sun 25 May 2014

Thanks for starting this thread Derek. I'll watch it with interest.
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Re: Bordeaux Recommendations

Post by LGTrotter » 23:10 Sun 25 May 2014

You don't hang about. 14 cases in a year. I have found that I am often aspiring upwards, so I wonder if £100-£300 is setting the bar high enough. You might be better off buying fewer and better. Although disgustingly overpriced the second wines of 2009 have a good rep, the croix de beaucaillou was gorgeous. It maybe just me but having bought a few Batailley I would go for some of the unclassified wines at the same prices which seem better to me. Some of the Moulis wines particularly. Listrac still seems a bit rustic to me, but Fourcas Hosten from 2005 on less so.

The prices seem OK, I thought you had wine searcher which should give you some assurance about price.

And as you wade through gallons of 'thin potations' which you have paid dearly for you can comfort yourself with the words of Kate Moss; 'Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels'. Life coach, take it away...

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Re: Bordeaux Recommendations

Post by djewesbury » 23:12 Sun 25 May 2014

LGTrotter wrote:And as you wade through gallons of 'thin potations' which you have paid dearly for you can comfort yourself with the words of Kate Moss; 'Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels'. Life coach, take it away...
Admins, can we have a 'Like' button please?
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Re: Bordeaux Recommendations

Post by DRT » 23:36 Sun 25 May 2014

Thank you, Owen, I shall look out for some of those you mention. The only Moulis I have tasted in Chasse-Spleen 1970, which I have enjoyed a bit too much and now only have two bottles left.

At the moment I am concentrating on bulking up the stock in the price range quoted. Lower quantities of "better" stuff will be sprinkled amongst the daily drinkers once I know what I am doing. I don't mind taking a bit of a blind punt for 200 quid, but am more cautious when forking out £500+ on something I have no real knowledge of.

I have tried a number of Batailley vintages from 1989 to 2009 and have to say I am quite enamoured by it. I bought a single bottle of the Croix de Beaucaillou 2009 from BBR when I bought my case and it was indeed delicious. I will be buying more of that.

I am also picking up cases of halves so that I can keep my life coach happy.
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Re: Bordeaux Recommendations

Post by LGTrotter » 23:49 Sun 25 May 2014

I have tried reading up and consulting before buying and I have tried just buying what I fancied. I am not sure that one has produced better results than the other, but it feels more satisfying when your own hunches come off. And be prepared for some dreadful lemons, they are much more difficult to push past the tonsils than low brow port.

And you have to start somewhere, eventually you will buy a £500 case so you might as well get on with it. You spent nearly that on the Chasse Spleen, you could get something really quite glamorous for that, especially half a case. Alex is your man on this venture.

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Re: Bordeaux Recommendations

Post by DRT » 08:33 Mon 26 May 2014

LGTrotter wrote:you have to start somewhere, eventually you will buy a £500 case so you might as well get on with it.
Are you suggesting spending this level on recently released wine or something that has been at least partially aged?

£500 would get me a case of 12 Lynch Bages 2009, a 6 pack of their 2005 or 4 bottles of 1989.

The same money would get me 30 bottles of Chasse-Spleen 2009 or 12 bottles of their 1989.

Of those four options I think you are nudging me towards the 12xLB09 so that I have some fine drinking to look forward to?

Or have I missed the point.

I am so confused I need to lie down.
"The first duty of Port is to be red"
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Re: Bordeaux Recommendations

Post by AHB » 09:23 Mon 26 May 2014

I've said on another thread that I am now buying to drink and essentially I'm buying a case every now and then to have current drinking. I like the choice you've made, but I'd recommend that you just buy what you need to replace what you consume. You're paying fair prices and making good choices. There is so much good claret around that's ready for drinking that you don't have to worry about not being able to replace what you consume at roughly the same price.

And if you can't find what you've just drunk, that's the time to try something new. Buy something from a neighbouring vineyard or made by the same producer. Or be adventurous and try a Rhone, or a super Tuscan, or a Chilean Bordeaux blend...

Does giving up alcohol mean that you can still drink wine? Or just buy wine and think about drinking it one day?
Top Ports in 2019: Niepoort VV (1960s bottling) and Quinta do Noval Nacional 2017
Top Ports in 2020 (so far): Croft 1945 and Niepoort VV (1960s bottling)

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Re: Bordeaux Recommendations

Post by DRT » 18:48 Tue 27 May 2014

AHB wrote:I've said on another thread that I am now buying to drink and essentially I'm buying a case every now and then to have current drinking. I like the choice you've made, but I'd recommend that you just buy what you need to replace what you consume. You're paying fair prices and making good choices. There is so much good claret around that's ready for drinking that you don't have to worry about not being able to replace what you consume at roughly the same price.
What I am buying now is mainly for future drinking at a time when my likely income will not support splashing out £500 a case for daily drinkers. I am buying smaller quantities of mature stuff to drink now, mainly from the 1980s and 1990s. The younger cases all go to Seckfords to keep me off them until the wine is mature. My plan is to buy 10-15 cases per year to add to the retirement stock. Between now and then I will continue to replace what I consume with stuff that is ready to drink. Once I retire and am reliant on the legendary generosity of the UK pensions industry to support my lifestyle it is unlikely that 25 years old claret will be high up the Lidl shopping list.
AHB wrote:be adventurous and try a Rhone, or a super Tuscan, or a Chilean Bordeaux blend...
Yikes! learning what I am doing with claret is hard enough. If I retire with 50-100 cases of Port and 200 cases of Bordeaux I think I will have sufficient to see me through to the point when my nurse puts me on a diet of liquidised Brussell's sprouts.
AHB wrote:Does giving up alcohol mean that you can still drink wine?
No. My ride on the wagon is intended to be very temporary.


I am still confused about Owen's advice. Given the strategy described above, what should I be spending £500 per case (IB) on to add to my retirement stock? I could be buying 15-20 year old vintages of the quality level I am currently dabbling in or I could be going for £500 per case 2009/10s that are a step up from what I already have. The problem is that there is so much to choose from and I have no idea where the quality step-ups kick in with Bordeaux.

Suggestions welcome.
"The first duty of Port is to be red"
Ernest H. Cockburn

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Re: Bordeaux Recommendations

Post by AHB » 22:26 Tue 27 May 2014

OK, I have a better understanding of what you are lookng to achieve. Let me start by asking some questions:

What are your 5 favourite red wines that you have drunk in the last 5 years?
Top Ports in 2019: Niepoort VV (1960s bottling) and Quinta do Noval Nacional 2017
Top Ports in 2020 (so far): Croft 1945 and Niepoort VV (1960s bottling)

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Re: Bordeaux Recommendations

Post by DRT » 22:31 Tue 27 May 2014

AHB wrote:What are your 5 favourite red wines that you have drunk in the last 5 years?
Very much working from memory here as I take fewer notes of dry wines than I do of Port.
  1. Leovile Lascases 1961
  2. Pichon Baron 1955
  3. d'Angludet 1982
  4. Batailley 1966
  5. Gloria 1970
  6. Croix de Beaucaillou 2009
Probably in that order. The 6th was beautiful, but far too young.
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Re: Bordeaux Recommendations

Post by AW77 » 22:37 Tue 27 May 2014

DRT wrote:
AHB wrote:be adventurous and try a Rhone, or a super Tuscan, or a Chilean Bordeaux blend...
Yikes! learning what I am doing with claret is hard enough.
But discovering new wines would be fun, too. After all, wine should be an entertaining pastime and not a chore you have to perform.
The Eleventh Commandment: Thou shalt know thy Port

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Re: Bordeaux Recommendations

Post by AHB » 22:44 Tue 27 May 2014

OK. So from your list I deduce that you are wasting your money buying much current or recent releases. You need to be buying stuff mainly from the '80s and '90s so that in 25 years time it has the appeal that the '50s, '60s and early 70's do today.

You seem to like the balance between finesse and power that you find in St Julien and Paulliac with a nod to Margaux.

Let me do a bit of research and I'll come back with some suggestions.
Top Ports in 2019: Niepoort VV (1960s bottling) and Quinta do Noval Nacional 2017
Top Ports in 2020 (so far): Croft 1945 and Niepoort VV (1960s bottling)

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Re: Bordeaux Recommendations

Post by DRT » 22:45 Tue 27 May 2014

AW77 wrote:
DRT wrote:
AHB wrote:be adventurous and try a Rhone, or a super Tuscan, or a Chilean Bordeaux blend...
Yikes! learning what I am doing with claret is hard enough.
But discovering new wines would be fun, too. After all, wine should be an entertaining pastime and not a chore you have to perform.
Agreed. But I would rather discover what I like by spending £10-£50 on a bottle rather than storing a case for 20 years and discovering I don't like it.

Experiments will be left to restaurants and occasional bottle purchases. The cellar plan will focus on Bordeaux, at least for now.

...and perhaps some Rioja Gran Reserva :twisted:
"The first duty of Port is to be red"
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Re: Bordeaux Recommendations

Post by DRT » 22:53 Tue 27 May 2014

AHB wrote:OK. So from your list I deduce that you are wasting your money buying much current or recent releases. You need to be buying stuff mainly from the '80s and '90s so that in 25 years time it has the appeal that the '50s, '60s and early 70's do today.

You seem to like the balance between finesse and power that you find in St Julien and Paulliac with a nod to Margaux.

Let me do a bit of research and I'll come back with some suggestions.
Something you might not be factoring in is that I am unlikely to ever be in the position of being able to open three or four bottles of the equivalent of a Pichon Baron 1955 every week so I have a requirement to "bulk up" with affordable daily drinkers at today's equivalent of £20-£25 per bottle. That is mainly what I have been buying. My 2005s will be two decades old or more when I open them and I expect them to be thoroughly enjoyable for washing down my salad. The forty year old stuff that cost me £50-£100 a bottle two decades earlier will be saved for the one day a month I am allowed to eat a small piece of red meat. I therefore need 15 to 20 times as many bottles of semi-mature daily drinkers than I need of fully mature superstars.
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Re: Bordeaux Recommendations

Post by AW77 » 22:54 Tue 27 May 2014

Another thing just struck me while considering your long-term cellar plan:
What if your taste changes in the long term? Are you sure that you want to drink (only/mainly) claret until the very end?
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Re: Bordeaux Recommendations

Post by DRT » 22:57 Tue 27 May 2014

AW77 wrote:Another thing just struck me while considering your long-term cellar plan:
What if your taste changes in the long term?
I phone Christies, sell it all and use the money to buy 2,000 bottles of Blue Nun :smile:
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Re: Bordeaux Recommendations

Post by LGTrotter » 23:17 Tue 27 May 2014

On no account take any advice from me on claret. That will not prevent me from offering some. The trouble is that I have madly enjoyed not a few Cru bourgeois, Phelan Segur f'rinstance, quite as much as most Cru classe. But I have resented drinking cheap Cru bourgeois that do not live up to the ten or twenty quid I paid for them. And your tastes will change, it may be sensible to buy wines you can sell on reasonably easily when this happens I mean recognised names, good years. £500 won't buy you a case of 2009 Lynch Bages. And for the love of God take Alex's advice about searching around other areas, Rioja is a good place to start with this.

There were lots of other things I thought of which I may return to.

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Re: Bordeaux Recommendations

Post by AW77 » 23:20 Tue 27 May 2014

DRT wrote:
AW77 wrote:Another thing just struck me while considering your long-term cellar plan:
What if your taste changes in the long term?
I phone Christies, sell it all and use the money to buy 2,000 bottles of Blue Nun :smile:
I have not thought of simply auctioning it of. How stupid of me.
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Re: Bordeaux Recommendations

Post by AHB » 23:23 Tue 27 May 2014

I will factor in your budget, do not fear. But why not buy that case of top Cru Bourgeois from, say, 1996 that should be absolutely splendid in 25 years time rather than the 2013 wine from the same vineyard that when opened in 25 years leaves you thinking "Very nice, but rather too young."
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Top Ports in 2020 (so far): Croft 1945 and Niepoort VV (1960s bottling)

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Re: Bordeaux Recommendations

Post by djewesbury » 23:29 Tue 27 May 2014

I'm really fascinated to read these recommendations. Will they all be for wines that need age or will there be any for more imminent consumption?
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Re: Bordeaux Recommendations

Post by LGTrotter » 23:34 Tue 27 May 2014

I am rather wary of the nineties, apart from the 1990. I am not sure which 96s Alex is thinking of but they seem rather stern and joyless to me. Apart from the Phelan Segur, which incidentally features in one of the Hannibal Lector films.

Surely you must have tried a good wine from somewhere else?

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Re: Bordeaux Recommendations

Post by DRT » 23:39 Tue 27 May 2014

AHB wrote:I will factor in your budget, do not fear. But why not buy that case of top Cru Bourgeois from, say, 1996 that should be absolutely splendid in 25 years time rather than the 2013 wine from the same vineyard that when opened in 25 years leaves you thinking "Very nice, but rather too young."
I would happily do that if someone would tell me the producers to look out for. As far as I can reasonably determine there are as many Bordeaux producers as there are grains of sand in the Sahara. Please can someone narrow things down to a list of 6 to 10 in each of the price ranges £10-£20, £20-£40 and £40-£60 per bottle that I should look out for that are likely to be reliable for medium to long-term ageing and would be reasonably easy to sell if my taste changes.

At a rough guess I have around 15 more years of work to look forward to so have time to change my strategy more than once. For the next few years I plan to focus on building a reasonable supply of good quality claret. Other styles might get a look-in as time goes by but I need to keep the focus narrow for now otherwise I will spend my entire life on wine searcher and probably making bad decisions.

One other thing to add is that I plan to mostly buy big vintages for cellaring as it probably reduces the risk of buying crap and also ensures the cellar is marketable if necessary. That is why I have bought a few 2005 and 2009 wines. The 2011s will be drunk before the older siblings are approached and have been bought because they were relatively cheap. Other intermediate vintages will be bought for short to medium term drinking rather than cellaring.

So, what about those names...?
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Re: Bordeaux Recommendations

Post by DRT » 23:42 Tue 27 May 2014

djewesbury wrote:I'm really fascinated to read these recommendations. Will they all be for wines that need age or will there be any for more imminent consumption?
A mixture of the two.
LGTrotter wrote:Surely you must have tried a good wine from somewhere else?
Until recently I very rarely drank fine dry wines from anywhere. I have spent the past 10 years almost exclusively drinking Port and when I did drink wine it was £7 a bottle from Laithwaites. I started out liking big fruit bombs from the new world and then progressed to Rioja, Chianti and Bordeaux. Of the three styles I prefer Bordeaux.
"The first duty of Port is to be red"
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Re: Bordeaux Recommendations

Post by flash_uk » 00:02 Wed 28 May 2014

LGTrotter wrote:And for the love of God take Alex's advice about searching around other areas, Rioja is a good place to start with this.
I have just started to do exactly this. My first voyages from my usual haunt of Burgundy have been to Chateauneuf du Pape and Barolo. It is great fun reading up on a region, then picking 6 or 12 single bottles from different vintages and producers, and discovering what these are like. So far I have only managed to open one bottle - a 1999 Beaucastel CdP, which I was disappointed with.

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