Wine Talk

Snooth User: napagirl68

1971 Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Pauillac.. past its prime???

Posted by napagirl68, Feb 10, 2010.

Have an opportunity to get this at a decent price... <$400.. but is it past its prime??? Has been stored on its side in a store setting, not cellar grade setting.. but climate controlled. Ideas??


Reply by dmcker, Feb 10, 2010.

'71 was an OK vintage, the only one in Pauillac between '70 and '75 (both better vintages) that is still drinking at all well (though many are on very elderly legs). Parker gives it an 82, I believe. The last time I can remember having a '71 Lafite was sometime in the early-mid '90s, so I can't personally tell you how they're drinking now.

How long has it been in that store, and what kind of light, vibration, etc.? How is the humidity in that store, too? On inspection what can you tell about the cap, cork, transparency of the wine, etc.? And so on and so forth....

$400 sounds a bit steep to me considering its dodgy provenance. If I decided I wanted the bottle I'd hammer the proprietor a bit on the price. I'd probably agree to something well south of $300, maybe $250 or preferably even lower.

Realize that it'll be a bit of a crapshoot, but perhaps you'll roll a winner... ;-)

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Feb 10, 2010.

I would pass. Too many other great wines out there at half the price. If it's for the fun of drinking an old First Growth, and for that the price is approaching reasonable, then maybe go for it. If the point is to really enjoy the wine, I would suggest looking elsewhere.

Reply by zufrieden, Feb 10, 2010.

I would probably defer altogether, but I am a bit finicky when buying middle-aged wines. Try for 200 dollars - though the seller may well be able to find someone for higher - despite the recession in CA. There's still lots of money out there - though probably distributed in the same deep pockets...

Reply by Girl Drink Drunk, Feb 10, 2010.

Pass. Storage sounds spotty, and to reiterate, the vintage is average.

Reply by napagirl68, Feb 10, 2010.

Thanks for all the input.... GDP 'bout summed it up for me... too many other great wines out there for less $$$! I will pass.

Reply by Charles Emilio, Feb 10, 2010.

Its easy for people like GDP & Dmcker to comment, after all these guys quaff aged first growths on wednesday nights

Napagirl I would certainly be tempted too, but would also ultmately pass.

Reply by dmcker, Feb 15, 2010.

Napagirl, as an interesting coincidence I just had a '71 Chateau Figeac (from St. Emilion, usually a blend of 35% cab franc, 35% cab sauv and 30% merlot) last night.

I'd been telling a friend, who just closed down a wineshop that had been in operation for a couple of generations since shortly after WWII, about how much I'd enjoyed an '86 Figeac on my daughter's birthday last month. He asked me to come over to his place and busted out the '71 with a couple of bottles from other wineries. A perfectly spherical flavor and nose, tenderly sensitive from the age yet still quite lush. All those perfectly ripe olives that I seem to always taste in Figeac, but also with plenty of cherries and plums and other red and purple fruit. More strawberries than when it was younger. I seemed to taste the dust from a Ventura County lemon orchard during spring blossoming early on in its long-coasting finish. A teasingly kaleidoscopish nose from beginning to end, with all sorts of aromas wafting in and out.

It shocked me how sexily tantalizing the bottle was, since I never remembered liking the '71s that much. He offered to open one bottle from the '70s, and, after I was assured there'd be another night for the '70 and '75 he also has, I chose the '71 thanks to your inquiry in this thread. I guess I have you to thank for the wine of the evening, though the others weren't shabby either.

So I also guess a '71 Lafite might still be worth a quaff (though I know the provenance of this Figeac, exactly where it was laying from the end of the 1970s, unlike for your Lafite). But offer only $200 and see where that gets you.

And Charles, this was on a *Sunday* night, though I did note elsewhere that the '86 was on a Thursday night... ;-)

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