WCC Pre-1989 Bordeaux Blind
at Nicole's Bistro in Albany, NY (11/18/2004)

Another month after our 1989 Bordeaux tasting and 1990 Bordeaux tasting, the WCC met to taste any-red-Bordeaux-older-than-1989 at Nicole's Bistro in Albany, NY.

An added feature this time was the visit of Michael Affatato, the owner of Château La Gatte in the town of Saint Andre de Cubzac, just south of Bourg on the east bank of the Dordogne River. Château La Gatte is a Bordeaux Superior making red, white and rose. Michael brought some pictures, some of which are here. We tasted the wines he brought (plus 1 white) in the first flight.

2021 Update: In 2014, Michael closed Château La Gatte. In 2015, he purchased The Village Cheese Shop in the town of Mattituck on the North Fork of Long Island, New York.

After Michael walked us through a tasting of Château La Gatte wines, we tasted the 1988-and-older red Bordeaux which each member of the group brought. These wines were bagged and blind to all of us. The order was random. Where noted, some wines were brought home and tasted on subsequent days. Later day notes are not blind.

Flight 1: Château La Gatte and 1 white

2003 Château La Gatte white (88)
[60% Sauvignon Gris, 40% Sauvignon Blanc] Crisp, clean, nose of a sea breeze. Crisp in the mouth, good length. Quite tasty! Very good value. The Sauvignon Gris is a distinctively appealing taste.

2002 Château La Gatte red (78)
[Field blend of Merlot, Cab and others. This wine was made by the previous owners and bottled by Michael.] Musty, red fruit nose. Tart, sweet, very little flavor or mid-palate. Yields must have been very high.

2002 Château La Gatte red (87, 89)
[Michael didn't grow this, but he did make it.] Rich, sweet nose needs coaxing. Thick and ripe in the mouth. A little stemmy, but tasty and velvety. (87) After flight 2, this is showing even better. (89) Has real class and benefits from the super-ripe vintage. Good value.

1996 Château La Louvielle white (85)
Vanilla nose. Tart. OK.

Flight 2

1970 Château Mouton-Rothschild (88)
Ripe mulchy nose. Mature in the palate. It's got some fruit, but not enough for the tannin. 1975?

1983 Château Gruaud Larose (NR)
Nasty nose. TCA! Bitter palate.
Open 2 days: Still yuck!

1986 Château Gruaud Larose (93-95, 97) Group rank: #9
Sweet fruit nose. Yummy wine, long and sweet. Excellent! Very long. Could be even better in 3-7 years. (93-95)
Open 2 days: Wow! Expansive nose of red and black fruits and pencil shavings. Velvet in the mouth, rich and gorgeous. (97)

1986 Château Lafite-Rothschild (91-94, 94-95, 95-100) Group rank: #8
[Decanted at 5pm.] Tight, young, cassis and wood nose. Needs a lot of time! Will the fruit overcome the tannins? (91-94)
Open 3 hours more: Tons of cedar and pencil lead. (94-95)
Open 2 days: Muted graphite nose. Massively thick and extracted. Still very tight but here the fruit clearly outweighs the tannin. Wow! This is a 50-year wine! (95-100)

Flight 3

1988 Château Cheval Blanc (87-?, 93) Group rank: #6
Sweet, young nose. Thick and young. Astringent on the finish. Has potential, but where is it going? (87-?)
Open 2 days: Red fruit nose with a hint of orange. Nice minerals, character and quite long. Amy really likes it. 93

1983 Château Pichon Lalande (94, 92) Group rank: #2
Classic nose of earth and minerals. Graves? Superb length. 94
Open 2 days: Lovely cherry fruit. Mature and ready. 92

1986 Château Cos d'Estournel (NR) Group rank: #12
Woody nose. Woody palate. Lots of oomph, but something unpleasant here.
Open 2 days: Earthy black fruit nose. Unpleasant in the mouth. Must be a bad bottle.

1982 Château Leoville Poyferre (96) Group rank: #3
Huge red fruit nose. Tight but huge and expansive. Great length! Needs 5 years still! Wow what a delicious Bordeaux
[Brought by me.]

Flight 4

1982 Château Grand Puy Lacoste (93, 93-95) Group rank: #4
[Open 24 hours.] Huge meaty nose. Tar, tannin. Big and rich Good length. Needs 5 years. 93
Open 2 days: Still thick, rich and tannic. Maybe needs 10 years more? Fabulous with London Broil. (93-95)

1981 Château Lynch Bages (92, 91) Group rank: #7
Plummy black fruit. Super sweet. Tasty. 92
Open 2 days: Starting to fall apart, but still nice. 91

1976 Château Latour (90) Group rank: #5
Short but good. Fully mature and lovely. 90

1983 Château Mouton-Rothschild (97, 95) Group rank: #1
Huge, tannic, expansive. Wow! What richness, a terrific Pauillac. Is it 89 Pichon Baron? 97
Open 2 days: Expansive, ethereal, multi-layered. Drink over the next 5-10 years. 95

Flight 5

1981 Château Mouton-Rothschild (93-96, 88) Group rank: #10 tied
Classic mulchy Bordeaux nose. Very tannic, but promising. 93-96
Open 2 days: Flat. Not bad, but done. Drink up! 88

1982 Château Grand Puy Lacoste (94-95) Group rank: #7
[Decanted this morning.] Oodles of ripe fruit and minerals in the nose. Superb stuff! Super ripe and super long. Wow! A hint of stem. Very good length.

1986 Château Margaux (94-?) Group rank: #10 tied
Love the nose: Fruit and flowers. Young, ripe, sweet and tannic. Needs SO much time, at least 10-20 years. Greatness is there, but needs time.
Open 2 days: Gorgeous sweet red fruit, followed by waves of tannin. Will it ever balance out. Since it's Margaux, I would bet yes, but it's hard to tell.

1985 Château Raussan Segla (NR)
Bad bottle. Very bad. But by now, no one cared.




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