Sunday 27 May 2012

Vertical Tasting of Château Soutard 1950-1989

"The aim is to make long-keeping, classic wines, and the result is rather uncompromising, and needs patience from the consumer"  (David Peppercorn: Bordeaux)

"The wine is solid, dense and uncompromising. But is undeniably rich and concentrated when mature" (Clive Coates: Grands Vins)

"This is one of St-Emilions best-kept secrets. For consumers looking for wines capable of lasting 20 or more years, Soutard should be seriously considered" ( Robert Parker: Bordeaux)

I remember tasting the 1989 Château Soutard in 1992 or 1993 and it was hard as nails. But reading things like the qoutes above made me purchase  a couple of the 1989`s. And now it was time to check up on Soutard and its long-lasting wines.
I arranged this tasting last week for one of my tastings groups.
All bottles decanted 1,5 hour before the first pour.

Flight I - which was enjoyed with a wild mushroom paté
1989 Château Soutard
The vintage that started it all for me. It has now became a mature, great drinking Bordeaux. The nose is mature, open for business and just great, with notes of old leather, barnyard, christmas spices, rosehips and cold coffe. A lovely maturity. The fruit is so sweet and fine.
The taste is round, fresh for its age and medium bodied with notes of red currants, plums, road dust and a touch of dry licorice. The finish is long, graceful and pure, Very, very fine.
92p   (tasted 2012/05)

1985 Château Soutard
A classic 85 Bordeaux nose - lots of sweet fruit and charm but not that much stuffing. Lots of black plums, sugared coffee, pipe tobaccoo and some bonfire notes. A lovely nose!
The taste is mature, round and sweet with fine notes of red currants, rosehips, dried fruits and coffe flavours. The finish is on the dry side but there is no arguing about the charm of this perfectly mature wine.
89p   (tasted 2012/05)

1982 Château Soutard
There is a noticable difference in this one, compared to the 85 and the 89. The fruit is warmer and sweeter, but I would not say better. The nose rises from the glass with notes of ripe plums, red currants, dark chocolate, warm leather and some notes of sweet oak. Deep and good. But I like the 89 and 85 more on the nose.
The taste is warm, big and sweet with lots of dark fruit, sugared coffe, moist earth, bonfire and chocolate. Very, very good on the palate.  A long, warm, fine finish. A very fine wine, although the 89 eclipse it on this night.
90p   (tasted 2012/05)

Flight II - which was enjoyed with roulades, mashed potatoes and a madeira sauce
1950 Château Soutard
This was a real revelation! Not one over-the-hill sign presence. Just fine fruit, a lovely maturity and a great drinkability! The nose is deep, fine and mature (!) with lovely notes of dark plums, rosehips, dried herbs and some coffe notes. Very fine.
The taste is tight, mature but very fresh with lots of red currants, dried plums, chocolate and warm earth. A long, fine finish. A great example of the longevity of Soutard. The other, who tasted double blind, guessed it to be from the 70´s...
91p   (tasted 2012/05)

1959 Château Soutard
This bottle split the crowd - the ones that hold it as the best wine and the ones that thought it nice but not more. I was in the second party. It is the nose that ruins it for me - there is fine, sweet fruit there, and a great structure, but there is also a strong note of band aid, that doesn´t air of. Too bad.
The taste is better, the band aid note doesn´t come through as much in the taste. It is long, big and sturdy with a lot of sweet, black fruit, coffe and warm earth. The finish ends with a dry twist. I imagine that perfect bottles could be fantastic, but this one isn´t that.
86p   (tasted 2012/05)

1964 Château Soutard
When you combine a great year (both vintage wise and that of yours truly...) with a long lasting wine - what do you get? The best wine of the evening, of course! :-)
I tried hard not to be influenced by the vintage on the bottle, but this is truly a great bottle of wine, regardless of the year. The nose is wide open with lots of sweet, decadent fruit - plums, red currants, rasberries - and notes of moist earth, christmas spices, and a touch of volatility that makes it even more complex. Just lovely.
The taste is warm, fresh and soft with notes of red currants, plums, dark chocolate, road dust and a touch of dry licorice. A long, fresh, dry finish ends it all. A lovely warmth of the mature fruit. A great wine.
94p   (tasted 2012/05)

1970 Château Soutard
A deep, warm, somewhat withdrawn nose with notes of dark plums, sugared coffee, leather and undergrowth. A fine depth and weight. Very fine. Still on the young side.
The taste is bigger, tighter and warmer than the nose with lots of sweet black fruit - blueberries, black cherries and black currants - with notes of tobacco, earth and leather, This still needs time. And it is a bit ungainly at times. Could turn out great, just wait and see...
87p   (tasted 2012/05)

1975 Château Soutard
This is not for consuming. Not corked, just bad, really bad. The nose reeks of band aid, fish intestines, rust and rotten wood. Would you like to drink that? No? But I just had to do that for scientific purposes...
Well, the taste is actually better (couldn´t get any worse) with very dried up fruit, earth, dry tobacco and old chocolate. The bottle looked alright and the corked was fine, but alas..
54p   (tasted 2012/05)


  1. Interesting! Old bordeuaxs never rusts, it seems. Maybe even old St Emilions have a certain longevity to them. My own - small - experience of 50:s and 60:s bordeauxs suggest that.

    Congratulations on a fantastic night!

    1. Thanks! It really was a fun tasting. I just hope that my bunch of other 64 St Emilion´s are a fresh and fine as the Soutard...:-)

  2. Thanks for a great tasting. The 1959 was truly great, I can understand that some people may find it difficult. But I found it very complex although the brett(?) part of it became more and more prominent. The -50, -64, -70 and -89 was also very good wines. The -85 was a bit disappointing and the -75 was among the worst wines I have had.
    I am impressed how you manage to collect a vertical like this
    / Roderick

    1. Thanks Roderick! Always a pleasure having you over!