a question about aged bordeauxs - Printable Version

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- newsguy - 01-16-2004 04:26 PM

can someone please explain this green/bell pepper thing to me? i've only had one "aged" bordeaux, and that was last month when i tried the '87 chateau talbot. by far the strongest characteristic in the flavor was green pepper, which i didn't care for at all.

last night i opened my bottle of '96 chateau cantemerle. it was on the shelves at a wine shop for a while before i bought it and put in storage for a couple years. i know i opened it a little early, but since i wasn't sure how long it had been on the store shelf (at higher than ideal temperature), i decided to go early rather than late. colorwise, wine reminded me very much of how the ch. talbot looked at 16 years old: a whole lot of bricking, though there were still quite a bit of tannins. and here again, a hugely prominent component of the flavor was green pepper. (though fruit was doing quite well and really opened up with time).

so, is it common for older bordeauxs to have that green pepper component? i can't imagine wines from the top chateauxs do, but the only first growths i've tried were young. someone *please* tell me that my '96 ch. montrose isn't going to be like this when i open it in '07!

- Innkeeper - 01-16-2004 04:44 PM

Have not run into green peppers in old Bordeaux, only in Chilian Merlot which I loathe. Have heard of people encountering it, and having it going away some time after opening. Did you decant it? That helps, and if you have a wide mouth decanter, an hour's set will usually do the trick.

- ShortWiner - 01-16-2004 05:01 PM

I don't have much experience with Bordeaux, but I've experienced green pepper in some Cab. Franc. Are the ones you've tried heavy on the CF?

- Thomas - 01-16-2004 06:15 PM

The Cabernet/Merlot crowd is sometimes known for green pepper on the nose--it usually indicates grapes that were not fully ripened or grapes grown in a cool climate.

- winoweenie - 01-16-2004 07:25 PM

The 96 Monty has Cabernet as its' base. Don't look for any bell peppers in this hummer. Green, unripe grapes as Foosie says, is the normal cause of this. The Monterrey Cabs were plagued with this for years until they learned how to ripen the berries.WW

- newsguy - 01-16-2004 09:17 PM

yes, did decant in a wide mouth decanter. probably poured last glass after it had been in decanter about two hours. fruit expanded over time, bell peppers stayed.

i had thought haut-medoc wines (like ch. cantemerle) were primarily cab. but apparently cantemerle's blend is 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot.) so, cab-based, but barely in the lead. i know the ch. talbot, being from st. julien, is cab based (blend is 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot)

i think 96 cantemerle got a 92 from WS, so am surprised. i had come across a little bit of bell pepper in chilean wines before, but nothing at all as big as in these two boredeauxs. i am VERY happy to know that my 96 montrose won't taste like this.

thanks all for the education.

- Thomas - 01-17-2004 10:48 AM

newsguy, that Cantemerle is at least 55% in the Cabernet family--Cabernet Franc is one of the parents of Cabernet Sauvignon; Sauvignon Blanc is the other.

I have no idea which is the father and which is the mother...

- newsguy - 01-19-2004 04:26 PM

thanks foodie.

i realized friday night driving home after my last post that what i was listing was the percentages of the different varietals in terms of plantings in chateaus' vineyards, which i would guess is not necessarily reflected in the percentages of their blends from year to year.


[This message has been edited by newsguy (edited 01-19-2004).]

- Thomas - 01-19-2004 05:31 PM

The general blend in Haut Medoc wines hovers at Cabernet Sauvignon 70% Cabernet Franc 15% Merlot 15%.

- newsguy - 01-19-2004 07:04 PM

thanks again.

- wondersofwine - 01-20-2004 10:14 AM

I have a couple Talbots on hand but will not be opening for awhile yet. Hope they aren't affected by the "green pepper" syndrome.

- newsguy - 01-20-2004 04:09 PM

i'll keep my fingers crossed for you WOW. i can only speak to the '87, but that was green peppers and nothing else.

- winoweenie - 01-20-2004 06:52 PM

If yours' are the 00 Talbots WOW, hold them suckers 10 and then get ready to be WOWED!

- Tastevin - 01-25-2004 04:26 PM

Hello Innkeeper.
Tarring all Chilean Merlots with the same brush eh. Tut! Tut!
I've had some delicious ones. Perhaps we have a larger selection of them here.
In the 2002 International Wine Challenge here, some Chilean Merlots won awards of some kind including, and I name a few, Gold Medals for Merlot Reserva de Gras 2000,Vina Montgras; La Palmeira Merlot Gran Reserva 2001, Vina La Rosa. Silvers for Trio Merlot 2000, Concha Y Toro; Merlot Reserva 2000, Montgras; Sierra Grande Merlot 2000, Paul Boutinot; Los Camachos Merlot 2001, Vina San Pedro. After converting our currency to yours, the retail prices here are - 15 dollars each for the first two, 11 each for the second two, and 8 each for the last two.
I have no axe to grind in respect of Chile, but I think it's only fair to give another point of view. I can see you are knowledgeable as undoubtably do others, it may be therefore that some could be influenced against Chilean Merlots without first trying them.
No offence meant.
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