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Tasting Old Bordeaux


Robert3
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I am doing a tasting of old Bordeaux (1980s) and would like some advice on what to serve to accompany the tasting. This is not a dinner.

Thanks.

Duck

Palate cleansers is the key. Be sure to have water available for those who want. If you're not serving a meal, the classic standby of cheese is always a safe bet. Good bread. However, if you're serious about appreciating the complexities of the wine, it's important to avoid strong flavors of any kind (eg blue cheeses, very ripe cheeses, horseradish and other "flavored" cheeses). Richness/butteriness is OK. Any other creamy foods you like would also be fine (for example canapes of creamy spreads or compound butters). Mild dips with celery and carrots. Also a platter of deli meats like roast beef, mild ham, turkey, and so on, but no strong salami's, anything heavily smoked, anything with vinegar, and things like that. Nothing sweet.

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I am doing a tasting of old Bordeaux (1980s) and would like some advice on what to serve to accompany the tasting. This is not a dinner.

Thanks.

Duck

Finally, a subject I know something about. :lol:

Can you list the wines, and how you plan to flight them?

I agree with much of what johnb says, but if you really want to focus on the wines, I'd take his advice a step further in terms of simplicity: room-temperature, medium-rare roast beef, sliced at an angle, with a little ramekin of coarse salt and some thinly sliced baguette. And that's it!

Also, you'll be standing them up for 2+ weeks and decanting them carefully, right? (Please say yes.)

Cheers <<en avance>>,

Rocks.

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Palate cleansers is the key. Be sure to have water available for those who want. If you're not serving a meal, the classic standby of cheese is always a safe bet. Good bread. However, if you're serious about appreciating the complexities of the wine, it's important to avoid strong flavors of any kind (eg blue cheeses, very ripe cheeses, horseradish and other "flavored" cheeses). Richness/butteriness is OK. Any other creamy foods you like would also be fine (for example canapes of creamy spreads or compound butters). Mild dips with celery and carrots. Also a platter of deli meats like roast beef, mild ham, turkey, and so on, but no strong salami's, anything heavily smoked, anything with vinegar, and things like that. Nothing sweet.

Gee, I'm sorry to disagree with everything you've said. If it's a straight tasting of older Bordeaux (80's doesn't count as "old" yet), crackers or unflavored bread and mineral water is it. Cheese is a distraction and coats the palate and distorts the flavors. Fruit also distorts the flavor. Butter is a complete no-no. Vegetables (celery and carrots) have their own problems with chemical reactions with the wine. If this is strictly an analytical tasting, simple is best. Bring the cocktail party food out after.

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It all depends on the purpose fot eh tasting. Are you looking to make critical judgements/cellaring decisions etc? If so, then the less you have the better. Even bread or crackers can afffect your abilities. Plain water is good. If you have to reuse glasses from wine to wine, do not wash/rinse them between wines, simply invert and shake out the remaining wine. Wine is more like wine than water is. If you do use a cracker, something very plain and dry is best, lik e a Bremner Wafer in texture/flavor but make sure it doesn't have hydrogenated fats which would affect your tastes.

If this is a tasting to just explore the range of tastes etc, if you are tasting for enjoyment but want a semi serious setting for memorable (hopefully!) wines, then go with Don's suggestion of roast beef, or some simple, tender cheeses. I like a little fresh pecorino (perhaps Foja di Noce) or a tender/firm young goat (cheese that is, not Don :lol: ) like Murcia al Vino.

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Gee, I'm sorry to disagree with everything you've said. If it's a straight tasting of older Bordeaux (80's doesn't count as "old" yet), crackers or unflavored bread and mineral water is it. Cheese is a distraction and coats the palate and distorts the flavors. Fruit also distorts the flavor. Butter is a complete no-no. Vegetables (celery and carrots) have their own problems with chemical reactions with the wine. If this is strictly an analytical tasting, simple is best. Bring the cocktail party food out after.

If this were the type of analytical tasting you posit, I would agree with you. But that would imply to me that the OP and his (her?) invitees are already fairly serious/experienced oenophiles, and if they were that, why would he be posting this question in the first place? Rather, he would likely already have pretty strong, indeed "geeky," opinions about the answer (see above). Ergo, I concluded that while this gathering may be for a somewhat serious tasting, it is meant to include some element of fun alongside the seriousness, and my suggestions were based on this assumption. They probably aren't doing the tasting in sackcloth and ashes, flagellating themselves in case they fail to identify some cru or other.

BTW I agree these are not "old" wines, but few relative newbies would appreciate that. Hell, I'm still trying to polish off my '66s.

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I am doing a tasting of old Bordeaux (1980s) and would like some advice on what to serve to accompany the tasting. This is not a dinner.

Thanks.

Duck

Thanks everyone for your responses and advice. Lots of different opinions out there; my inclination is to keep the food simple and basic. This is more on the side of a fun/semi-serious tasting with a couple of friends that have little or no experince with Bordeaux of 20+ years. I have selected a diverse group of wines, trying to span the region and the decade. (I will save some of the bigger wines I have for another decade or so.)

Ch. Chasse Spleen 86 also L’Ermitage Chasse Spleen (the second) 86

Ch. Larmande 85, 88

Ch. Leoville Barton 82, 85

Ch. Montrose 83, 89

These wines have been upright for the last week or so. I don't know that I will be decanting all of them as they have not been stored in pristine conditions so I am hoping that some are still good as it has been some time since I last opened them.

Cheeers and thanks again.

Duck

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