Ingmar Bergman once said “I hope I never get so old I get religious.” I’m not there yet. Heck, I’m only 38. But that doesn’t stop me from becoming emotional from time to time. To look back and remember.
It’s a fine Sunday in the beginning of August. Sweden at its best. Me and my brother gets this idea that we should do a nostalgia tour. Kind of taking charge of our childhood memories. And to end it all in the best possible nostalgia way, I’m pouring a wine from the region which basically started the whole wine thing for me. Slightly off-topic yes, but wine blogs needs to relax as well sometimes. Here’s to childhood and the region that started it all!
A retrospect in pictures
Pretty awesome standing outside one’s first class room. Lots of memories coming back. Still remember I couldn’t find my bike key one afternoon and almost wet my pants at the bicycle stand. 1979. Wasn’t that quite a good year in Bordeaux? A bit underrated? Perhaps not representative but the ´79 Margaux tasted a few years ago was amazing. Still vital. Thank god the Mentzelopoulos family came along and saved the chateau..
The old football pitch next to the school. Why is it one always remembers the bad situations? I was at fourth grade age and we were playing during a break. I got this pass which basically meant a guaranteed goal. I missed. No goalie and I was half a meter from the goal. Still remember I sent it on the outside of that stupid right post. 1982. A crappy year for my football career, but the Bordeaux vintage that took me by storm 15 years later…
The old community centre. What a dump. Still, here I learned how to dance at the age of 12. Stevie Wonder was the king back then and ‘I just called to say I love you’ was a favorite. How many parents send their kids to dance school today, to learn the foxtrot, jive and waltz? Mine did. I hated them for it, until I discovered all the girls of my age was there as well. Suddenly it was the best thing every week and I fell in love with a new girl every Monday at the dance. 1984. One of the worst vintages in the Medoc. Still I remember drinking the ’84 Mouton at its fifteenth year. Remarkable they keep a drinkability for such a long time…
The local stadium. Think the team was in the fourth or fifth league division. Did they ever have more than 50 spectators? Talking about that; I bought my first Wine Spectator in 1994. This one. I was seduced by points – had never heard about it before. I knew all the Chateaux on the front cover. I was proud.
Before having the legal drinking age I had my first beer here. Everyone had probably. Must have been 1988. The start of a great trilogy in Bordeaux, at least that was the thought back then. But the year never charmed me….until I just recently tasted the ’88 Mouton. Man, this was good.
Graduating from high school. An emotional year with lots of memories. My first real serious relationship, my first trip to Greece and my first real job. 1991. What a crappy Bordeaux year it was. Unless you like stalk scents and stalk taste that is…
Jumping back in time. I loved this walk with my grandmother when I was a kid. She took care of me at daytime and she gave me a toy car once a week. The walk was filled with anticipation; which car to choose this week! 1975, 1976 and 1977. I’ve tasted quite a lot of the tannic ’75 vintage but also some charming ’76 wines. Most memorable – not for being the best, far from – was the ’75 Montrose. My first real encounter with classified Bordeaux. The barnyard feel was totally new to me and for a few years I was almost obsessed with this traditional style of wine.
We went to Borstahusen to swim every day in the summertime. At least that’s what I remember. Funny, when it comes to weather I’m only having good memories left from my childhood. Don’t remember the rainy and cold days. Fishing crabs and garfish all the day. Still love the fish for its turqoise bones. And taste of course. 1980 and 1981 must have been the peak. Before we got aware of the existence of swimming pools. I remember a perfectly mature ’81 Ducru-Beaucaillou which I had around 1993-1994. They don’t do wines like that anymore…
Selma Lagerlöf used to go here every Sunday, on her walk along the coast line. When I grew up it had turned into a dance hall, or a disco as we said in the good old days. I hated the place. People were drunk and I never got to kiss a girl here. It sucked. Visited during the trilogy era; 1988-90. One of the most awesome tastings I’ve been to as a young wine virtuoso apprentice, was a 1990 tasting. Cheval Blanc, Conseillante, Cos d’Estournel in the line-up. To mention a few. Can’t believe I actually could afford a Cos back then, as a poor student at the university. Today, when I’m working, I can’t. Something happened with the price…
Perhaps the most memorable visit on our tour. Gumman. The old lady. In the mid-80′s there was this old candy shop where you got a bag of candy for nothing. Me and my brother took our bikes down there to the old lady with her shaking hands. She picked all the candy with her hands and could sneeze in them the second later. I’m happy I’m still alive. The sign was still there. Awesome. 1985-1986- Junior high school. I will never forget my first Lafite I bought. Yes, I’ve purchased more than one. Two actually. It was a half bottle of the 1986. I was conducting a BDX tasting in my student flat and the four of us tasting could afford to buy it. Since I don’t remember much of it I know realize I should have kept it, and sold it for the price of one week’s vacation trip instead.
Our tour is over. Time to drink what I love the most about Bordeaux – Saint Emilion. Nothing in the region excites me more than a seductive, sexy and sweet Merlot based wine. If it’s representing the new movements of the right bank I’m even more excited. Pavie leads the way and should I only have to drink one wine for the rest of my vinous life…..
2008 I visited Saint Emilion in mid July. Never would I have thought the year would turn out this good then, but thanks to a great September I’m now enjoying the seductive wines of the vintage. 2008 is sensual. It has something, that certain ‘je ne sais quoi ‘ feeling written all over it. On the right bank that is. I think it’s the combination of a perfectly ripe, yet cool fruit feel, which allows the soil to speak louder than normal. Add the region’s expertise of handling new oak to that and I’m in heaven. Barde-Haut is a way too young wine to drink already but don’t read this as you shouldn’t. Just make sure you will save at least some for another five years or so. This is pure class. Lots of dark berries, cherries especially, wet humus, smoked meat, toasted oak and a floral note. A sniff wine simply.
Taste it as well. A great mouth-fill if you’re like me and love the modern approach to Saint Emilion. Lots of classy tannins, ripe and creamy blueberries, violets, tobacco and coffee. Sweet licorice. Despite the ripe feeling it has that cooler air surrounding. Long, clean and spicy finish. Considering it’s a 25 euro bottle or so, it’s nothing more than a bargain. (91-92 p)
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