Random Musings

Pick My Next Bottle – Treasures From the Cellar

The January Installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on some old bottles from several of my very favorite Chateaux. I mentioned in the first installment, the purpose of this series is to provide insight into specific wines or producers you may currently have in your cellar. The winning bottle will be opened this Saturday and a Bottle Note will be published the following week.

The Contenders:

  • 1986 Chateau Lynch Bages – The 1986 is finally emerging from the dormant stage that many of the wines from this vintage (especially the Medocs) have been going through. It is a full-bodied, still backward wine that will appeal to classicists and old line traditionalists given its firm structure and austere tannins. Nevertheless, the color is a healthy deep garnet and the wine exhibits wonderful freshness along with notes of underbrush, damp earth, black currants, cedar and new saddle leather. Well-balanced with good depth, medium to full body, and a tannic (although not excessively so) finish, this may not be the most finesse-styled, elegant Lynch Bages ever produced, but it is an interesting Pauillac that will benefit from another 3-4 years of cellaring. While it may never hit the peaks achieved by great Lynch Bages vintages, it will be one of those rare wines that will last 40+ years. 94 points from The Wine Advocate.
  • 1987 Chateau MontelenaChateau Montelena has made so many sensational Cabernets that it seems almost impossible to believe that their 1987 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate could be even more profound than any of the exceptional wines made previously at this property. The black/purple color, the extraordinary bouquet of rich cassis, violets, and licorice, the massive extraction of flavors, sensational depth, super ripeness, and a length that must last over a minute, suggest to me that this is easily the most concentrated and potentially longest-lived Cabernet Sauvignon that Chateau Montelena has ever made. The extract level is incredible, yet the balance is there. Anticipated maturity: 1997-2025. 98 points from The Wine Advocate.
  • 1988 Chateau Cos d’Estournel – This powerhouse is rather traditional and decadent compared to the modern-day wines from Cos. Ink-colored and full-bodied, with ripe fruit aromas, velvety tannins and intense berry and spice flavors.Best after 2002. 95 points from The Wine Spectator.

Which treasure from the cellar should I open?

  • 1987 Chateau Montelena (41%, 16 Votes)
  • 1986 Chateau Lynch Bages (38%, 15 Votes)
  • 1988 Chateau Cos d'Estournel (21%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 39

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Thanks for voting! I’d love to see a comment below on why you picked one bottle over another. Also, let me know if you have any suggestions for the February installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

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11 thoughts on “Pick My Next Bottle – Treasures From the Cellar

  1. Hard to choose with these great selections Tom, especially with my affinity to Montelena. But I am a Cos man! In fact I drank my last ’88 Cos last year, & it was wonderful. Still fresh black fruits. & spice evident. Tannins were still evident but starting to fade however so those with 88 Cos may consider drinking in next few years. Terry

  2. Fantastic lineup, Tom! Cos d’Estournel and Lynch Bages are typically built for the long haul, but I think Chateau Montelena may not have the same staying power. So, I choose Montelena for “Pick My Next Bottle.” Regardless which you pick, all wines will surely be terrific. I’ve had the 88 Cos before and it’s very tasty but pretty acidic.

  3. The 1985 Lynch was one of the 5 or 6 wines the got me hooked on wine. (Mouton, Lafite, Pichon also). I tasted the 86 years ago and was confused by it compared to the 85. Would live to hear how it fared since then. Good drinking Tom.

    1. AHH HAA! Another person who got hooked on Bordeaux via the 1985 Lynch Bages (Wine Spectator’s “Wine Of The Year” in 1988)! Cheers gents!

  4. I would go Cos as it should show a lot of finesse compared to the Lynch. Moreover, some 1986 from Pauillac are still very young! I’ve never tasted Montelena.

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