A reader asks:
Chris, was your impression of the ’04 Leoville Poyferre that it was
close to drinking? Have you thought about adding drinking windows onto
I think drinking windows are incredibly variable between tasters so I don’t think they are much use. For example I wouldn’t expect any decent classed growth Bordeaux to be drinking well until 12-15 years after the vintage, but others – perhaps you – are loking to drink them at 6 years of age. I’m experimenting with 2003 ad have found one or two ready now, but more still needing time, and will do the same with 2002, but I expect even this atypical/lesser vintages will in most cases need 12-15 years or more. For that reason I’m not sure drinking windows are very useful as they reflect my preferences far more than being a intrinsic aspect of the wine.
Drinking windows published by other critics are also embarassingly different to the figures I would proffer. Some (naming no names!) have a lot of Bordeaux starting to drink just when I think it is pretty closed and has them finishing far too early, like one or two decades too early. Most drinking windows given by critics seem to be far too short.
As for the 2004 Léoville-Poyferré I think you can guess what I am going to say! For my palate (and this is important as I have some in the cellar IIRC), I won’t be touching these until 2014 at the earliest, more likely somewhere between 2016-2019. If you have 6/12 though perhaps consider opening one sooner – it might be you prefer these wines younger, which would save you a lot of waiting!
Are there any opinions out there on this? Do people find drinking windows useful? When I read windows from certain other critics they tend to raise a smile rather than be useful – for me, they open too soon and close far too soon. Am I alone?