Sun 26 Oct 2008
Well, I haven’t written a Chronicle entry since August 23, and the reason is that I lost the notebook! But I finally found it, and guess where? In the last place that I looked, and of course had no real intention of looking there!
So, on September 17 and 18, 1983, we drank a bottle of Chateau d’Agassac 1975, a red wine from the Haut-Medoc, a region on the Left Bank of Bordeaux that is considered higher than the plain Medoc classification but lower than the individually named communes, such as St.-Estephe and Pauillac. I love this old-fashioned, picturesque label; the castle is genuine, dating from the 13th century and one of the oldest buildings in Medoc. The designation “Grand Bourgeois Exceptionnel” no longer exists, and, in fact, the entire Cru Bourgeois classification has recently been legally called into question, leaving many small chateaux in limbo.
In 1983, though, we enjoyed the hell out of this wine. It took a few minutes to open but then displayed lovely generosity and expansive merlot and cabernet sauvignon flavors, but with plenty of tannin (that distinctive walnut shell element) for support and structure. Notice, if you can read these notes, that I thought the price — $12.69 — high for a Cru Bourgeois wine. Boy, have things changed in 25 years!
Other wines we tried between the last entry in this notebook and the present wine:
*Guenoc Cabernet Sauvignon 1980, Lake County 70%, Napa County 30%. $7.45.
*Friexenet Cordon Negro. $4.99.
*Parducci Petite Sirah 1979, Mendocino County. $5.89.
*Fetzer Sundial Chardonnay 1982, Mendocino. $6.85.
*Ridge Zinfandel 1978, Paso Robles. (with 5 percent petite sirah) This had, remarkably for the era, 14.6 percent alcohol. It was a fascinating wine but marred, to my fledgling palate, by “harshness in the finish.” $10.69
*The Monterey Vineyard Classic California Red, Central Coast Counties. $5.99.
*Chateau Coufran 1979, Haut-Medoc. $8.49.
*Paul Masson French Colombard 1982, California. $4.99. Hey, we drank everything, given the chance. And, you know, we drank gallons of this wine; it was pretty good, or at least usually fresh, clean and crisp.