Over dinner on Hogmanay we opened up a pair of Bordeaux, a 1990 Mouton and a 2000 Chateau Tour de By. I grant you, that comparing these two wines, a decade different in age and from different parts of Bordeaux is akin to chalk and cheese, but this wasn't a wine tasting evening, this was two bottles of wine over a pair of pies and that is how I judged them, as bottles of wine to be enjoyed with friends. The pies were Shepherds and Venison in case you were interested!
The 2000 Chateau Tour de By was lovely. Light cherry aromas with a slight aniseed element coming through and a pine aroma as well. The palate was very well balanced, lovely structure, a cherry and cranberry palate, with light oak, some cocoa aromas and a touch of spice on the finish. It really was a lovely bottle of wine, drinking so well just now and, knowing that it cost me a tenner when I bought it a few years ago, it really over performed on the night. 8/10
Sadly, the same cannot be said for the 1990 Chateau Mouton Rothschild. This problem child of a wine, that Parker considers to be in the middle of its drinking window, was really chemically, with that off bacon aroma that I mentioned earlier, and an aroma of struck match and acrylic. The palate is very muted, there is soft, sweet fruit elements, but it really is a dud of a bottle. Parker's score is 84/100, I wouldn't even give this 4/10!
There was a third Bordeaux opened at the end of dinner, once the Mouton and the Tour de By had been drunk, that was the ever disappointing Le Dome. This 2001 vintage from Magnum had some nice rustic aromas, with a stalky element coming off it and then big jammy fruit. The palate was spicy, with lots of savoury twigs, liquorice and leather delivered with aggression. I wrote "Bertie Basset in Bondage" 6/10 How this wine can every command the £100 per bottle price it does is beyond me.
I'm glad that the Tour de By beat these two high profile, high priced wines. It goes to show that a cheap wine, cellared well and drunk at the right time can, when all the stars align, be a giant killer.