Bordeaux Nines, 2019: 1929 – 2009

It is easy to underestimate the ability of wine, if stored well, to age and mature in bottle over not just many years, but many decades. To some extent the wine press are responsible for this. I recall many years ago, when I was an impoverished student, reading of ‘ten years on’ tastings and marvelling at what it must be like to have a cellar filled with mature bottles all celebrating their tenth birthdays. At the time, ten years seemed impossibly old (for a wine, anyway), and the language of those tasting reports I read with wonder only reinforced that opinion.

In more recent times, with a cellar crammed with bottles long past that milestone, I have a very different view of things. I am aware that many of the wines I buy and drink, whether they be from Bordeaux or Bourgueil, are barely getting started at ten years of age. Repeated experiences and encounters, from tasting the Foreau family’s 1921 Moelleux, to Bourgueil from the 1960s and 1970s in the cellars of Lamé Delisle Boucard, only strengthen my position that many good and well stored wines will drink not just for years, but for decades.

Bordeaux Nines

With that in mind I responded eagerly to an invitation from the Académie du Vin du Bordeaux when it popped into my mailbox earlier this year. The academy planned to host a tasting dinner during the primeurs week in April 2019, the theme to be vintages ending in ‘9’. In practice this meant a huge range of wines, beginning with the 1929 Domaine de Chevalier, the oldest wine on show, and ending with a plentiful slew of representatives from the 2009 vintage. Would I like to attend? Of course – sign me up!

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