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Mar 29, 2009 08:16 AM

Birth-Year Bordeaux

I should have just titled this "please recommend a 1976 Bordeaux" but I am struck by a strange desire to drink a Bordeaux from my birth year. While I still can. Thanks in advance for your always-helpful feedback.

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  1. Not a fantastic vintage - Barsac/Sauternes, St Estephe/Julien or Pauillac are probably the way to go but be sure to check up on specific wines before buying as most of them will probably be past their best. I'd look out for these:

    d'Yquem (get the cheque book out)

    St Estephe/St Julien:
    De Pez
    Ducru Beaucaillou

    Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande
    Haut Bages Liberal
    Les Forts de Latour

    Nothing outstanding, but if you pick the vintage it can be hard to find great wines!

    1. If it doesn't have to be Bordeaux, you might be able to find a German riesling available (look for an auslese, beerenauslese, trockenbeerenauslese, or eiswein). 1976 was a pretty good vintage there.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Brad Ballinger

        1976 in Germany was a fantastic vintage. Lots of botrytis, and yes they are still alive if you choose the designations you mention Brad. Getting late for many auslesen though too.

        Definitely agree to stick to rieslings, they last longer than the hybrids, generally, one reason for which is that they are what's planted to the best sites.

      2. Decanter that '76 is "drink soon," rather than "drink now." The first and second growths will still have plenty of stuffing at this point. Some specifics:

        The real question is how much you want to spend and if you want to buy retail or at auction.

        4 Replies
        1. re: chefdilettante

          Not too many options for 1976 Bordeaux on the auction front.

          Best one around: Sotheby's NYC auction 4/18, lot 980, 12 blts of Lafite Rotschild 1976, lot estimates 1.5/2 K.
          BTW, the Lafite is one of the best 76s, highly rated ( "The 1976 has turned out to be the best Lafite of the '70s. It is gorgeous to drink at present. Anticipated maturity: Now-2005. ", said the Guru )

          A recent ( 3/28 ) NYC Christie's auction didn't have any 1976 Bordeaux, aka "Claret". Period.

          An upcoming (4/3 & 4/4) NYC Zachy's auction shows one btl of the Lafite, 2 Vieux Chateau Certan, 1 Haut Brion, although in mixed lots, with stuff from other years making up the lots.

          Back to the first option above: shows single bottle retail prices for the 76 Lafite in the 400 to 650 range, so the auction estimates ( which usually hold ) are not bad at all.

          1. re: RicRios

            The Sotheby's lot is interesting--even if it goes at the higher end, and with added tax and commission, it's still going to be at about $200 a bottle or so. That's strikes me as (dare I say?) a bargain.

              1. re: RicRios

                Alas! Camp and school tuition for the kids are due over the next two months and my wife insists that these are priorities...

        2. Thanks everyone for your replies. I know this is a bit of an indulgent request. In reality it will probably be purchased retail, although I'd love to go in for one bottle of the Lafite for $200... hahaha...

          2 Replies
          1. re: SanJoseHound

            I'm a 1976er as well and just had the same thought -- if you find a source, be sure to post -- I'm game (and in the SF area as well).

            1. re: 99paa

              Then ( how could I forget!) you have, the infallible source for terrible 1976 stuff. Hey, for a mere 70+ bucks you can get your hands on a bottle of 1976 Lynch Bages. Or for $25, a de Fieuzal. You didn't hear this from me, OK?