Saturday 4 October 2014

An Experiment - A Portified Bordeaux

I am still on my quest to open and drink all of my 1964 bottles..
And then it was this bottle. A humble Bordeaux Superieur. A decent level, but still. Would it be dry and over the hill? At all drinkable?

I then remembered an article in a old copy of Decanter in which Hugh Johnson described a English way to deal with mature Bordeaux bottles from lesser vintages or lesser producers. Portify them.
In short, for a full bottle of wine, mix in 5 cl Port. And suddenly, according to the article, you get a fresher, healthier, fuller wine. Well, lets try!

I opened the bottle and took a sip. Yes, still alive but rather dry and foursquare. A perfect candidate for my experiment. I then decanted the bottle into three decanters, two with 25 cl each and a third with a little less.
In the first decanter I poured 3 cl Port, which equals 9 cl for a full bottle. In decanter number two I poured 1,5 cl Port = 4,5 cl for a full bottle, which was about the amount that Hugh Johnson recommended. The third decanter contained the rest of the bottle, intact.

How did the three different versions perform then?

1964 Bordeaux Superieur, Quien - No Port added
The original wine displays a old, skinny nose with notes of barely ripe black currants, old leather, rowan berries and dusty earth. Some warm grass scents after a while. A bit hollow.
The taste is mature, dry and foursquare with notes of red currants, grass, dry leather and hot earth. The finish is short. Still breathing but clinging to its life with its last breaths.
70p   (tasted 2014/10)

1964 Bordeaux Superieur, Quien - 1,5 cl Port added to 25 cl wine
What a difference! All of a sudden there is fruit and a mature warmth that greats the nose. There is notes of red and black currants, sugared coffee, leather and graphite. Very much more alive. Not a single hint of anything added.
The taste is still on the dry side but there is a more volume and sweetness to the fruit, and the Port lifts the original character without taking over. A longer finish with a nice warmth. I would not in a million year guessed that some Port had been added if I have got this blind. I would have guessed a mature, lesser Bordeaux from a good year. This turned out to be a success.
84p   (tasted 2014/10)

1964 Bordeaux Superieur, Quien - 3 cl Port added to 25 cl wine
This was on the other hand a failure. You can feel on the nose that something is strange. The fruit has a cooked feeling and there is hints of figs, red currants and hot earth. Clumsy. This isn´t a good blend.
The taste is hot and unbalanced where the Bordeaux characteristics have disappeared. I would have been lost guessing this if I had gotten this blind.
64p   (tasted 2014/10)