Mailbag Monday: A ’90 Bordeaux & A ’96 Burgundy?

Hello Alleigh:

I have a bottle of Chateau Greysac Medoc cru Bourgeois 1990(Bordeaux) and a bottle of Pinot Noir Jadot Bourgogne 1996(Burgundy).  They have been kept horizontally in a completely dark temperature controlled area.  Are they way past their prime? Are they even drinkable?  I did see the exact vintage of Pinot for sale in Europe still.

Any opinion will be greatly appreciated! Thank you.

While I’ve never been fortunate enough to taste a1990 Bordeaux, I’ve read it was an incredible year for the region, arguably the best of the decade.  And, from some of the reviews I found, it looks like you found a true diamond in your bottle of Chateau Greysac!  Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell if a wine has peaked until you open it, but I think that as long as it was stored properly, your bottle should still be quite enjoyable.  I don’t think you need to be in a rush to open the bottle.  It’s probably a wine you want to consider opening within the next few years, but definitely not something you need to open within the next couple of months.  When you do open this bottle, make sure that you decant it and consider pairing it with something like a roasted lamb or a nice steak. It will be the type of wine that is perfect for food.

As for the Burgundy, 1996 is supposed to be a great vintage, as well.  In my own experiences, Pinot Noir doesn’t stand up to the same lengthy cellaring as the more full-bodied grapes from the Bordeaux region.  That’s not to say that a good Burgundy, like the one you have, can’t age for a long time.  However, I would suspect that, if it hasn’t already, your wine is about ready to peak, so I would definitely open this bottle before opening the Bordeaux.  And, while I don’t think it’s something you need to open tomorrow, the Burgundy is probably a wine you should think about opening sometime within the next year.

I do want to throw out the caveat that these are just my opinions.  Part of the fun (and the risk) of cellaring wine is trying to figure out when the wine is going to taste the best, but it really is all a guessing game that requires a lot of patience.  As someone who has very little patience, I’m just giving you my best guess.

I hope you’ll check back in when you decide to open your wines, as I’d love to live vicariously through your tasting experience.  And most importantly, enjoy them!


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