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Geoff Kelly Wine Reviews
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Independent reviews of some local and imported wines available in New Zealand, including earlier vintages.
1978 RED WINES,  FRANCE MAINLY INCLUDING Ch MARGAUX & VIEUX TELEGRAPHE,  CALIFORNIA,  ITALY ...


This Library Tasting was presented 10 April 2014 at Regional Wines & Spirits,  Wellington,  under the title above.

Invitation:
This is a special tasting.  1978 was a glorious vintage in the Rhone Valley,  and Burgundy.  In those districts,  the year is still held up as a model,  scarcely surpassed.  The wines themselves are now rare,  and any opportunity to taste even a couple should be seized.  In lieu of burgundy,  we have three elegant southern Rhones,  one of which Jancis Robinson marks 19.  Such a mark is more than rare from her.

For Bordeaux,  the vintage was good rather than great.  Since then,  we in New Zealand have all marvelled when First Growths passed $500 per bottle,  but now the better second growths are this figure.  To illustrate,  another merchant in New Zealand has 2008 Ch Palmer at $531 and the 2009 at $1125,  2008 Ch Margaux at $1395,  and the 2009 at $4499 per bottle,  believe it or not.  Few can afford such wines,  any more.  Therefore the opportunity to taste several older examples of these wines in this Library Tasting is attractive.  [ I have used 2008 for the price comparison since it is a better comparison quality-wise with 1978 than the outstanding 2009 and 2010 vintages.]

Any opportunity to taste Ch Margaux and Ch Palmer alongside each other is rare.  Let us hope the silky fragrant beauty of the Margaux district shows through.  The rarest wine in the tasting,  however,  is the 1978 Domaine Vieux Telegraphe,  of which there were ever only 830 cases.  In contrast there were c.30,000 cases of Ch Margaux.  More details in the notes which follow.

THE WINES TO BE REVIEWED,  BY DISTRICT:
CALIFORNIA
1978 Cuvaison Cabernet Sauvignon,  Napa Valley
FRANCE – Bordeaux
1978 Ch Leoville Las Cases,  Second Growth,  St Julien
1978 Ch Margaux,  First Growth,  Margaux
1978 Ch Montrose,  Second Growth,  St Estephe
1978 Ch Palmer,  Third Growth,  Margaux
1978 Ch Pichon Lalande,  Second Growth,  Pauillac
1978 Ch Trotanoy,  top few of Pomerol
FRANCE – Burgundy
1978 Drouhin Gevrey-Chambertin
FRANCE – Southern Rhone Valley
1978 Guigal Gigondas
1978 Jaboulet Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Cedres
1978 Dom. Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape
ITALY
1978 Pio Cesare Barolo,  Piedmont

The 1978 vintage:
The world was a cooler place in 1978,  and the 1970s as a whole were particularly modest in Bordeaux.  Broadbent rates the vintage ***,  a late cool vintage saved by fine weather in later September and October.  He considers 1978 better than 1979.  Parker rates it 87 – 88 mostly,  and 1979 similarly.  As noted,  the vintage was highly regarded in Burgundy,  the best since 1971,  ***** from Broadbent,  but less from Parker (who wasn't so good with Burgundy) and if anything the Rhone was more highly regarded,  with Broadbent ***** again,  but words like 'astonishing' and 'absolute perfection' from this understated wine man,  and Parker 97 – 98,  the highest ratings he has ever given the district.  Broadbent has Barolo at *****,  and Parker 97.  The 1978 vintage was pretty good in California as well,  Parker rating the vintage  92 for Cabernet Sauvignon.  Wine Spectator can't be bothered going back that far – why ?  So there should be some attractive if fully mature aromas and flavours here.

Impressions from the tasting:
The first thing to say in writing about these 1978 reds is,  how excellent the quality of corks was in that era,  before demand for red wines became noticeable in the 1980s and 1990s.  All the corks were firm and fragrant.  A couple were too hard for a screwpull,  though,  with risk of stretching it.  One needed a strong  double-acting barrel-type corkscrew,  and one resisted even that and needed a German-made Ah-So to unstick it.

The second detail to emerge from the tasting is the delicate stage these wines are at.  The best were simply exquisite,  of a calibre rarely encountered.  Nearly all had lovely bouquets,  rewarding those who seriously sniff and contemplate their wines,  before tasting.  And on bouquet,  nearly all spoke eloquently of their district.  Several however did not follow up on palate,  with variously some signs of lacking fruit,  or lacking ripeness and hence being a little acid,  both factors now with the passage of the years becoming a little intrusive.  

Nonetheless,  as a bracket of wines for people who can be enchanted by less than astronomically expensive bottles,  they brought much pleasure on the night.  None would be unwelcome with a meal,  but some would show better with lighter meats than others.

Implications of this tasting for those cellaring imported wines in New Zealand this century:  
At the time these wines were imported into New Zealand,  virtually no wine came in temperature-controlled containers.  All the bordeaux without exception showed temperature stress in shipping,  in the sense the corks were at one stage wet the full length,  uniformly.  Since purchase they have enjoyed near-ideal cellaring conditions in one of New Zealand’s more equable and cooler climates.  As the notes below imply,  to greater or lesser degree the wines do re-seal,  and the top few mm of the cork may dry again.  Ullages on the Bordeaux and Rhone wines averaged 22 mm for this tasting,  ranging from a fabulous 7mm for the 54mm cork in Les Cedres,  to 29mm for the 52mm cork in Ch Margaux.  In a similar tasting in 2006,  ullage averaged 26 mm.  

In contrast,  Bordeaux and Rhone wines imported by most (but not all) New Zealand merchants these days comes in temperature-controlled containers.  Notwithstanding the inherent variability of cork,  for most bottles the average wine penetration along the cork nowadays is less than 5mm,  at point of sale in New Zealand.  This offers the marvellous opportunity for us in future decades to enjoy mature European wines in broadly similar condition to bottles that have never travelled.  

The weakest link in the chain now is the transport and interval between winery and shipping in Europe,  and then warehousing,  and transport / courier in New Zealand,  particularly where a van may be left in the sun.  It is also worth noting that there is a marked difference between the rate bottles age in Auckland and Wellington,  the latter’s mean being 3.5Ί less.  Uplifting wine from Auckland as soon as is practicable is important,  for those in cooler climates.  

NB:  For all the bordeaux notes,  the Parker views are his thoughts on the young wine,  as summarised in his 1991 book Bordeaux.  And a reflection that occurred in preparing these notes is:  how few wine reviews there are on-line about the 1978 vintage.  Only Parker displays comprehensive knowledge of the wines of the vintage,  yet 1978 is not so long ago.  It seems weird that so often,  Tanzer and Wine Spectator and even UK-based Jancis Robinson have nothing to say,  notwithstanding all their resources and connections.  Stranger still,  in one sense therefore,  that good 1978 wines are being offered for public tasting in Wellington,  New Zealand.    

References:
Broadbent,  Michael  2003:  Michael Broadbent’s Wine Vintages.  Mitchell Beazley,  223 p.
John Livingstone-Learmonth [ various ]:  www.drinkrhone.com
Parker,  Robert  1991:  Bordeaux.  Simon & Schuster,  1026 p.
Parker,  Robert  1997:  Wines of the Rhone Valley.  Simon & Schuster,  685 p.
Parker,  Robert:  [ various ]: www.erobertparker.com  
Peppercorn,  David 2000:  Wines of Bordeaux.  Mitchell Beazley,  248 p.





THE WINES REVIEWED:

1978  Cuvaison Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
1978  Drouhin Gevrey-Chambertin
1978  Guigal Gigondas
1978  Jaboulet Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Cedres
1978  Ch Leoville Las Cases
1978  Ch Margaux
  1978  Ch Montrose
1978  Ch Palmer
1978  Ch Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande
1978  Pio Cesare Barolo
1978  Ch Trotanoy
1978  Domaine Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape


1978  Ch Margaux   19  ()
Margaux First Growth,  Bordeaux,  France:   – %;  $ –    [ cork 52mm;  then was c.CS 75%,  Me 20,  CF ± PV 5;  average age of vines c.30 years;  time in barrel 22 – 28 months,  % new then not sure,  later was 100%;  the vineyard changed hands to the Mentzelopoulos family in 1977,  Emile Peynaud became the winemaking consultant,  and the 1978 vintage immediately showed vast improvement over the preceding two decades;  Parker says:  the style of the rejuvenated wine at Margaux is one of opulent richness … ripe blackcurrants,  spicy vanillin oakyness,  and violets …  of the 1978 he says:  a gorgeous seductive bouquet of ripe fruit and spicy oak,  as well as tarry truffly aromas … a truly great wine [ in 1991 ]  94;  Robinson in 2008:  Fully developed bouquet – maybe the bottles are starting to get a little tired? Acidity sticks out a little. Dry tannins and absolutely ready, fresh. Super fragrant but a little tough in terms of texture. Much less concentrated than many other younger vintages but very respectable.  17;  www.chateau-margaux.com ]
Glowing near-velvety ruby,  not much garnet to the edge,  the second deepest.  After a mixed batch of Ch Margaux dating back to the 1953 late last year,  it was pure joy to find in this wine a near-perfect example of fine Medoc:  wondrously fragrant,  almost floral though the age factor militates against that a little,  instead now introducing a great synthesis of cedar,  dark tobacco and browning cassis and berry.  This really was the thrilling smell of fine claret at full maturity.  And unlike all the other bordeaux,  the bouquet was sustained on palate,  still clearly good rich fruit and browning cassis,  and enough fruit to cover both the cedary oak and any underlying acid,  and be long in mouth.  In this attribute it differed from all the other Bordeaux.  At a peak of perfection,  and clearly a much more generously-constituted bottle than the one Robinson reviewed in 2008.  Two tasters rated it their top wine.  Will hold some years,  on the volume of remaining fruit,  but gradually decline from now on.  GK 04/14

1978  Jaboulet Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Cedres   18 ½ +  ()
Southern Rhone Valley,  France:  13.5%;  $ –    [ cork 54mm;  Gr 85%,  Sy 15;  12 – 18 months in big old wood;  Parker considers 1969 the last fine Les Cedres. He notes for the 1978:  good richness,  full-bodied texture,  and good complexity,  yet rates it  85,  to be finished by 1995.  Robinson thought it:  Sweet, spicy and fully mature but a bit muddy by now. Past its best. No refreshment left  17;  I am hoping it will have more to say,  as a few years ago this wine met with an ecstatic reception from noted Australasian wine people,  in a dinner setting.];  www.jaboulet.com ]
Glowing but lightish ruby and garnet,  the third to lightest.  Bouquet is in a word beautiful,  floral,  fragrant,  fading red fruits,  aethereal.  It could easily be confused with grand cru burgundy / Cote de Nuits,  in a rigorously blind tasting.  Indeed on other occasions,  it has been so confused,  and by highly-qualified wine tasters.  In mouth,  the wine is suppleness and charm personified,  totally burgundian,  only now the fruit starting to fade a little.  Ten years ago this wine was exquisite,  multidimensional,  wonderful,  and it is only slightly less now.  It makes the same-year Vieux Telegraphe seem over-ripe and almost burly,  at this stage of its evolution.  This wine and the Ch Margaux illustrate not only what beauty and subtlety in red wine is all about,  but also the contrast between the essential claret style,  versus burgundy.  Few bottles are so beautiful.  Les Cedres was easily the favourite on the night,  four first places plus five second places,  even though it is fading gracefully now.  GK 04/14

1978  Domaine Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape   18 ½  ()
Southern Rhone Valley,  France:  14%;  $ –    [ cork 49mm;  Gr 70%,  Sy 15,  Mv 10,  Ci 5;  big old wood only,  then,  for c.22 months.  This is a rare (and sole) bottle:  John Livingstone-Learmonth,  the latterday authority on the Rhone Valley,  records that in 1978 the Bruniers made 225,000 litres of the grand vin,  but bottled only 7,500 for their own label.  The rest was sold in bulk to Jaboulet,  Chapoutier,  and other negociants.  This bottle bought at Kermit Lynch's (San Francisco) in 1981.  He pioneered Vieux Telegraphe in America,  and remains a,  perhaps the,  pre-eminent importer of French wine there.  Because the domaine bottling is so rare,  it is not even scheduled currently by wine-searcher.com,  hard though that is to believe.  The last lot I can find sold at auction for £175.  
Livingstone-Learmonth last tasted this wine in 2012,  at the vineyard with the Bruniers,  when he rated it 6-stars,  a rating he rarely gives.  His notes (in his distinctive / eclectic style) mention:  
The bouquet now is enormously wide, with a deep, lingering black fruit presence. Quelle jeunesse … This is extraordinary, Grand Vin … a complete meal in its own right;  he also records Daniel Brunier saying:  “it is a vintage of Anthology – nothing was done; no destemming, only a light crush, fermented in a closed foudre … so no intervention here, just the heart of the maker, made in innocence".
Parker is of the view that the 1978 is the last of the great Vieux Telegraphes – he bought four cases of it: in one review he refers to it as:  
The colossal 1978 remains the reference point wine for Vieux Telegraphe, although the 1998 may challenge it;  in 2003 his FIFTH note on it maintains a score of 94 and says:  One of the great classics of Chateauneuf du Pape is the 1978 made by Henri Brunier. This wine, which has given me immense pleasure, offers a sensational smorgasbord of aromas, including compost, pepper, black fruits, smoked meats, Vaucluse truffles, licorice, and incense. The aromatics easily merit a perfect 100-point score. In the mouth, this huge wine is massive, thick, and unctuous, with the concentration of a dry vintage port. An amazing effort, it remains the quintessential classic Vieux-Telegraphe, that perhaps only the 1998 will come close to rivaling. The 1978 has been fully mature for over a decade, but the color remains a dark plum/purple with little signs of evolution. Drink it over the next decade. An amazing wine!  
Jancis Robinson rated it 19 in 2009,  saying:  
This was a stunning bottle. Very very dark crimson. Sleek and polished and sweet and spicy. Wonderfully flattering texture and fully evolved enveloping bouquet. Just gorgeous. Very long. Great wine that survived in an open decanter for 24 hours (until I finished it).  In all her years tasting,  she has rated only four Chateauneufs higher,  and two of them are Beaucastel's Homage a Jacques Perrin,  which is more a $500 bottle (current).  So with luck,  cork willing,  this should be a benchmark experience;  www.brunier.fr ]
Good near-velvety ruby,  some garnet,  well above midway.  Bouquet is simply astonishing,  being youthful (along with one other) in the company of mostly much more mellow and fragrant wines.  The depth of grenache-based but deeply aromatic (mourvedre ?) berry and fruit is astonishing.  It does not have the beautiful burgundian quality of bouquet Les Cedres shows,  the fruit being altogether more,  dare I say it,  primary.  In mouth the wine is darkly and freshly plummy,  more tannic than the bouquet would suggest (the mourvedre again),  with a perfume reminding of pink pine (manool – bespeaking the grenache) emerging.  As Harry Waugh used to say,  it has tannin to lose (and aplenty) before it becomes as beautiful as Les Cedres,  but it is mightily impressive.  One first place.  Cellar 5 – 15 years.  GK 04/14

1978  Ch Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande   18 +  ()
Pauillac Second Growth,  Bordeaux,  France:   – %;  $ –    [ cork 52mm;  then was CS 45%,  Me 35,  CF 12,  PV 8;  time in barrel 18 – 24 months;  later 50% new oak;  Parker felt that Pichon-Lalande was very successful in this era,  the wines supple,  fruity and smooth;  for the 1978 he says:  among the deepest and richest wines produced at the chateau in the seventies … telltale vanillin, spicy, blackcurrant, cedar scents … deep velvety texture  93;  no entry in Robinson,  Tanzer,  Wine Spectator;  www.pichon-lalande.com ]
Good ruby,  some garnet,  surprising depth,  the third deepest of the 12.  This wine is a little different,  there being a great volume of bouquet,  and a richness of mature fruit in cedary oak which almost shares something with the Vieux-Telegraphe.  The difference is,  the volume of bouquet here is three times as great,  browning cassis,  slightly leathery cedar,  dark tobacco.  Palate does not follow on quite so perfectly,  as for all these Bordeaux bar the Margaux,  in mouth there is the reminder the vintage was good but not great,  just a hint of stalk and acid,  but in an impressive volume of browning berry.  It is a bigger wine than the other Bordeaux (Margaux excepted),  and will hold this general impression for another few years.  It did not appeal as much to the group as I had hoped.  GK 04/14

1978  Guigal Gigondas   18  ()
Southern Rhone Valley,  France:   – %;  $ –    [ Southern Rhone Valley,  France:  – %;  $ –   [ cork 48mm;  the Gigondas label from Guigal has long been one of the treasures of the range,  I think because of the considerable ratio of mourvedre they use.  This gives the wine both aromatic complexity and longevity;  no reviews available;  incidentally,  this was a pretty expensive bottle back then,  $26.25,  which the RB Inflation calculator tells us would be $102 today.  Kiwis paid thru the nose for wine – any wine – in that era;  www.guigal.com ]
Elegant lightish ruby and garnet,  glowing like Les Cedres and a little deeper than that wine,  midway in depth.  Bouquet is dramatically grenache-dominant,  browning red-fruits and fresh-cut silver or pink pine timber aromas,  not as floral / fragrant as Les Cedres,  but in that style.  Palate shows the magic of the year in the Rhone valley,  relative to the Bordeaux.  There is not the burgundian charm of the Cedres,  but the whole mouthful is velvety in a slightly furry way (reflecting the mourvedre ?),  and long and supple,  drying a little more than Les Cedres,  yet richly fruity.  Lovely food wine,  at full stretch now,  starting to fade gracefully.  GK 04/14

1978  Ch Palmer   17 ½  ()
Margaux Third Growth,  Bordeaux,  France:   – %;  $ –    [ cork 54mm,  then was c. CS 53%,  Me 40,  CF 5,  PV 2,  average age of vines 35 years;  time spent in barrel 18 – 24 months;  now rated as one of the undoubted 'super-seconds';  Parker comments that Palmer is characterised by:  sensational fragrance and bouquet;  for the 1978 he says:  an enthralling bouquet of cedar,  truffles and curranty fruit  91;  no entry in Robinson,  Tanzer,  Wine Spectator;  incidentally,  Ch Palmer and Ch Margaux were Tom McDonald's guiding-star wines,  when he was learning about cabernet sauvignon in Hawkes Bay after the war;  www.chateau-palmer.com ]
Glowing ruby and garnet,  a super colour,  right in the middle for depth.  As is so often the case with Ch Palmer,  the volume of bouquet,  and the ripeness of the browning cassis and plummy berry mingled with tobacco and cedar is a delight.  Like the Ch Margaux,  this bouquet is what mature claret is all about.  Unlike the Margaux,  however,  in mouth there is immediately a shortening-up,  a hint of stalk,  plus a little acid apparent,  and lighter fruit than the bouquet promised.  The Pichon-Lalande isn't quite so beautiful,  but the fruit is better.  On this showing therefore,  even the good 1978 Bordeaux are just a little beyond their plateau of maturity.  This wine is fading gracefully.  The introductory notes made the point that every opportunity to compare Ch Margaux and Ch Palmer from the same year should be seized,  since they so often jostle for top spot in the Margaux district.  It was a pleasure therefore to find in the analysis,  four tasters rated the Palmer their top wine,  compared with two for the Margaux.  GK 04/14

1978  Cuvaison Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley   17 +  ()
Napa Valley,  California:  13.5%;  $ –    [ cork 54mm;  CS 100%;  18 – 20 months in French-dominant oak,  c.50% new;  bottle direct from winery;  at the time,  Cuvaison winemaking was in the hands of Englishman Philip Togni,  a London graduate and former student of Emile Peynaud at the University of Bordeaux.  Our introduction to meet him came from the late Dr John Tomlinson,  scholar and gentleman from the Chemistry Department,  Victoria University,  who was at Uni with him in London.  Togni's wines then and now ( www.philiptognivineyard.com ) have the reputation of being amongst the most Bordeaux-styled in California.  They are cabernet-dominant,  with less opulence,  ripeness and alcohol,  and more emphasis on tannin structure,  than many.  No reviews located in time available.  The modern Cuvaison winery bears little relation to this wine ]
Ruby and velvet,  some garnet (remarkably little),  deeper and fresher than the Ch Margaux,  the deepest.  Bouquet shares youth and size with the Vieux Telegraphe,  there still being enormous berry riper than cassis,  more dark plums in a slightly leathery way,  plus oak.  But there is something else,  an aromatic hint of balsam ( the conifer) which detracts.  In mouth,  the wine is rich and burly,  more tannic than expected,  and like the Telegraphe it needs to lose a lot of tannin.  The aromatic quality persists through the palate,  too.  Tasters had difficulty in locating this wine,  but rated it well,  it being the second favourite for the group.  Philip Togni was the winemaker,  at that time.  Cellar 5 – 15 years,  still – exciting wine.  GK 04/14

1978  Ch Leoville Las Cases   17 +  ()
St Julien Second Growth,  Bordeaux,  France:   – %;  $ –    [ cork 53mm;  then was c.CS 67%,  Me 17,  CF 13,  PV 3,  the average age of the vines c.30 years;  18 months in barrel,  % new then not sure,  later was 50 – 100% depending on the quality of the vintage;  now rated as one of the undoubted 'super-seconds';  Leoville Las Cases has long been a favourite of Robert Parker,  who among St Juliens regards them as:  a shade darker in color, more tannic, larger scaled, more concentrated, and of course built for extended cellaring.  Of our vintage he says:  a great Las Cases … one of the top wines of this very good vintage … rich full deep flavours still [ 1990 ] encased behind a wall of tannin  92;  Robinson in 2009:  Dense, complete, savoury and confident with great balance  18 (and that was a half bottle);  skimpy info on website;  www.domaines-delon.com ]
Ruby and garnet,  surprisingly lighter than expected,  just above midway.  This wine too has a beautiful evolved Bordeaux bouquet,  showing not quite the berry component of the Palmer,  more an entwining of cedar and tobacco with undefined berry fruit.  Like the Palmer however,  but more so,  it does not follow through ideally to the palate,  and because there is more oak,  even though the fruit is fragrant the acid seems correspondingly more noticeable.  The Margaux apart,  these clarets are very much the way bordeaux used to be,  lighter,  more refreshing,  'classical'.  One first place.  Fading now.  GK 04/14

1978  Pio Cesare Barolo   17  ()
Piedmont,  Northern Italy,  Italy:  13.5%;  $ –    [ cork 49mm;  Ne 100%;  three years in oak,  70% or more then in large vessels,  some smaller,  1978 apparently the first use of small new wood;  Parker does not have the straight Barolo,  but for the Riserva:  Pio Cesare’s 1978 Barolo is fully mature.  It shows slightly maderized aromas on the nose followed by evolved flavors of prunes and plums with good length, soft tannins and a note of menthol on the finish  89.  Wine Spectator:  89 for the Riserva,  85  this exact wine,  no words;  no entry in Robinson,  Tanzer;  www.piocesare.it ]
Ruby and garnet grading to amber,  midway in depth.  Bouquet is distinctive on this wine,  clearly fragrant,  with several tasters commenting on star anise and similar aromas.  There is also a leathery quality (+ve) to the browning fruit,  and there may be just a hint of biscuitty oxidation on bouquet.  As it is tasted,  however,  it is much fresher than supposed,  and the palate is intriguing,  all the red raspberry fruits of nebbiolo now well browned,  a hint of acid and tar,  yet still with textural fruit and good balance to oak.  All these clues point to an older-style Barolo in the blind lineup,  but it was not sheeted home so easily.  It was well-liked,  with three tasters rating it their top wine.  Very much a food wine,  but another also departing from its plateau of maturity.  GK 04/14

1978  Ch Montrose   16 ½  ()
St Estephe Second Growth,  Bordeaux,  France:   – %;  $ –    [ cork 54mm;  then was c.CS 65%,  Me 25,  CF ± PV 10;  average age of vines 25 years;  time in barrel 22 – 24 months,  % new oak later 50 – 70%;  at this stage,  Montrose went through a phase of being lighter in style,  described by Parker as 'wimpish';  for the 1978 he says:  good ripe fruit, stylish yet lacks character, complexity and richness  84;  Robinson,  Tanzer and Wine Spectator,  no entry;  www.chateau-montrose.com ]
Ruby and garnet,  just a bit below midway in depth.  Bouquet is evocative on this wine,  classic Medoc,  when desirable Bordeaux styling was cooler and fresher than the norm now:  clear cassis though browning,  cedary oak,  great purity and charm.  Palate is less,  however,  the wine tending lighter,  the oak nicely balanced to the light fruit,  but the acid showing a little much,  the whole wine seeming a bit pinched / a hint of stalks.  Steven Spurrier used to talk about 'fragrant green-tinged claret',  and the 1978 Montrose illustrates that concept nicely.  Still refreshing with food,  but fading.  GK 04/14

1978  Drouhin Gevrey-Chambertin   16  ()
Cote de Nuits,  Burgundy,  France:   – %;  $ –    [ cork 49mm;  PN 100%;  no notes found in the time available;  we found this wine surprisingly good with great typicité in 2006,  I hope it still communicates well.  Incidentally,  Neal Martin on Parker's website says of a couple of old Drouhins:  Ignore old vintages of Joseph Drouhin at your peril, because they can be absolutely stunning mature Burgundies.  Intriguing,  given their apparent lightness;  www.drouhin.com ]
Garnet and light ruby,  the lightest wine colour.  To ask any 35-year-old village burgundy to compete in a tasting of that year is demanding,  so these notes may be a little indulgent.  Bouquet is still clearly burgundian in a faded way,  still hints of browning light pinot fruit,  but also a suggestion of chaptalising / candy.  Palate is more clearly varietal pinot noir,  still some body,  good tannin balance from older oak,  I would think,  and appropriate acid – in contrast to several of the Bordeaux.  Still surprisingly good with lighter foods,  but all the same,  well faded now,  and needs finishing up.  The least favoured wine,  on the night.  GK 04/14

1978  Ch Trotanoy   16  ()
Pomerol (top few),  Bordeaux,  France:   – %;  $ –    [ cork 52mm,  then Me 90%,  CF 10;  average age of vines 28 years,  time in barrel 20 – 24 months;  in his admirably frank way,  so different from the then hide-bound British approach to winewriting,  Parker in 1991 considered that since the firm Moueix took over Trotanoy,  notwithstanding that firm's reputation,  the wine has become much lighter,  no longer like the wine of yesteryear.  Our 1978 falls into this era,  and he comments the 1978 is:  loosely knit and herbaceous  84;  no entry in Robinson,  Tanzer,  Wine Spectator;  www.moueix.com ]
Garnet and light ruby,  slightly deeper but less flushed than the village pinot,  which is not a good look in a claret.  Bouquet however has immediate appeal,  almost floral in a very faded way,  suggestively red-plummy browning merlot as opposed to the crisper cassisy aromas in the Medocs,  but again,  well-faded with a hint of iodine.  In mouth however,  the wine does not hang together quite so well,  there being a lack of fruit and berry flavours,  some stalk and noticeable acid and tannin,  with fragrant cedary oak.  It is weaker in its fruit than the Drouhin village wine,  adding much support to Parker's thoughts on the unconstructive role of proprietor Moueix at the time.  The oak balance saves the wine,  one person rated it their favourite wine,  and in its faded way,  like the village pinot,  it would be good with lighter food,  or pizza or similar.  It too needs finishing up.  GK 4/14  GK 04/14