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A Bordeaux Lunch in LA

by Jon Roach (Director, BI USA)

Generosity and enjoyment are crucial components in the appreciation of great wine. Fortunately these qualities are in no short supply in Los Angeles and it is entirely in this spirit that a group of wine lovers meet regularly over Friday lunch to share and enjoy some great wine and company. The criteria for this lunch was left bank Bordeaux, 1999 or older and 93 points or more from Parker (although we kicked off with a pretty stunning white Burg). The venue was Church and State, who looked after us marvellously well at a lunch where it was inevitable that the wines would steal the show...

2008 Corton Charlemagne, Bouchard
Extraordinarily powerful, excruciatingly backward and so so long. This is fearsomely good stuff and yet nothing compared to what it will become. A joy and a crime to drink. Keep yours for 10 years and don’t expect it to be ready even then.

1982 Gruaud Larose
Iron nose – ungenerous, but cork just pulled. Palate demonstrates this to be great bottle of what can be a variable wine. Piercingly fresh, bright and lively palate. Super focussed and long. So young for an '82. A totally commanding wine and a brilliant wine to start with. Senses all pulled into line.

1985 Mouton
What a wonderful wine to pair with the '82 Gruaud. Occupies the opposite end of the spectrum of what brilliant Bordeaux can be. Beautifully mature, opulent nose. Rich, soft, sumptuous Bordeaux. So generous and long. Perhaps served just a little warm.

1990 Leoville Barton
Despite being the only wine that had not just been opened (double decanted 2 hours prior) the Barton lived up to its reputation. Backward, brutish, fresh, crunchy. Young and austere. Drinks more like a '95 than a 90.

1995 Grand Puy Lacoste
Fiercely acidic. Bright, tannic, not quite ready and very, very good. Give it time and it will get there. A fantastic GPL, in my mind a far more compelling wine than the 1996. Serious stuff.

1995 Cos d'Estournel
Focussed, tight and superbly defined. An awesome wine with bags left in it. Really enjoyably Cos.

1995 Ducru Beaucaillou
Is this perhaps damaged in some way? What is normally a great ’95 today showed an overly mature and muted character.

1989 Pichon Lalande
Corked, sadly…

1982 Haut Brion
Extraordinary stuff. What appeared at first to be an oxidised bottle transformed into a wine of such tension and power. Amply demonstrated how great wines possess impossible balance. Simultaneously generous and austere, mineral and sweet, slightly over the hill and brutally young. Totally compelling. 

1990 Montrose
A great bottle of 90 Montrose. Beautiful nose - classic Cabernet. Just the perfect time to open this bottle. Absolutely a point. Vibrant, lush, sweet, refreshing, pure. Wine of the afternoon. And that's saying something.

With thanks to all who made this such an enjoyable lunch and Church and State for their hospitality.

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