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Thread: [TN] '61 Beychevelle

  1. #1
    Mark Lipton Guest

    Default [TN] '61 Beychevelle

    Tonight's dinner was rack of lamb and a potato-green bean salad. Jean
    expressed an interest in having a glass of really good wine with dinner,
    so I suggested a bottle that she'd received from me for her birthday
    last year:

    1961 Ch. Beychevelle (St. Julien)
    nose: cassis, graphite, cedar, a slight herbaceous note, some earth
    palate: fully resolved tannins, medium body, rich mouthfeel, great acidity

    This was the second bottle of a cache I gave to Jean last year and it
    was even better than the previous one had been. Incredibly youthful
    (even down to the cork which was in superb shape), it had a classic
    Cabernet nose and an incredible feel of richness in the mouth. It was
    acidic enough that it needed the food to show well, but at 11.5% ABV it
    showed no heaviness or heat. This led to an interesting discussion
    concerning the ABV: since '61 was noted as a warm year that produced
    very ripe grapes in Bordeaux, how did they keep the alcohol so low?
    Canopy management? Earlier harvest?

    Mark Lipton

  2. #2
    santiago Guest

    Default Re: [TN] '61 Beychevelle

    Mark Lipton <[email protected]> wrote in
    news:k2jj8n$sm6$[email protected]:
    > It was
    > acidic enough that it needed the food to show well, but at 11.5% ABV
    > it showed no heaviness or heat. This led to an interesting discussion
    > concerning the ABV: since '61 was noted as a warm year that produced
    > very ripe grapes in Bordeaux, how did they keep the alcohol so low?
    > Canopy management? Earlier harvest?


    I am not an expert, but canopy management sounds quite a recent practice to
    me to be the cause. My guess is that they harvested way earlier in 1961
    that they do today.

    Anyone has access to a historical series of harvest dates going back to
    that era?

    s.


  3. #3
    cwdjrxyz Guest

    Default Re: '61 Beychevelle

    On Sep 9, 9:28*pm, Mark Lipton <not...@eudrup.ude> wrote:
    > Tonight's dinner was rack of lamb and a potato-green bean salad. *Jean
    > expressed an interest in having a glass of really good wine with dinner,
    > so I suggested a bottle that she'd received from me for her birthday
    > last year:
    >
    > 1961 Ch. Beychevelle (St. Julien)
    > nose: cassis, graphite, cedar, a slight herbaceous note, some earth
    > palate: fully resolved tannins, medium body, rich mouthfeel, great acidity
    >
    > This was the second bottle of a cache I gave to Jean last year and it
    > was even better than the previous one had been. *Incredibly youthful
    > (even down to the cork which was in superb shape), it had a classic
    > Cabernet nose and an incredible feel of richness in the mouth. *It was
    > acidic enough that it needed the food to show well, but at 11.5% ABV it
    > showed no heaviness or heat. *This led to an interesting discussion
    > concerning the ABV: since '61 was noted as a warm year that produced
    > very ripe grapes in Bordeaux, how did they keep the alcohol so low?
    > Canopy management? *Earlier harvest?


    From what I have read, there was a greatly decreased yield of grapes
    because heavy rains washed away the pollen. (In 1945 the yield was
    greatly reduced by frost. )There was much rain in July and then
    drought in August. Then September was very sunny. The grapes were
    small and had thick skins. The wines had very deep color and much
    tannin. As a result, many considered the 1959s, which had a better
    balance early on, to be better than the 1961s.

    For whatever reason, I remember that many fine red Bordeauxs from the
    50s and 60s tended to have less alcohol and needed at least 10 to 20
    years of age. Some were quite concentrated in color, body, and taste
    however. Things started changing in the Parker era when wine became
    more drinkable at an earlier age. Perhaps the grapes were picked later
    with higher sugar content. Also the amount of press wine added in the
    final blend likely was reduced.


  4. #4
    santiago Guest

    Default Re: [TN] '61 Beychevelle

    Mark Lipton <[email protected]> wrote in
    news:k2jj8n$sm6$[email protected]:
    This led to an interesting discussion
    > concerning the ABV: since '61 was noted as a warm year that produced
    > very ripe grapes in Bordeaux, how did they keep the alcohol so low?
    > Canopy management? Earlier harvest?


    Besides of an earlier harvest, could it be that they had bigger crops per
    hectare therefore harvesting a bit less concentrated grapes with less
    sugar?

    s.

  5. #5
    DaleW Guest

    Default Re: [TN] '61 Beychevelle

    On Sunday, September 9, 2012 10:28:41 PM UTC-4, Mark Lipton wrote:
    > Tonight's dinner was rack of lamb and a potato-green bean salad. Jean
    >
    > expressed an interest in having a glass of really good wine with dinner,
    >
    > so I suggested a bottle that she'd received from me for her birthday
    >
    > last year:
    >
    >
    >
    > 1961 Ch. Beychevelle (St. Julien)
    >
    > nose: cassis, graphite, cedar, a slight herbaceous note, some earth
    >
    > palate: fully resolved tannins, medium body, rich mouthfeel, great acidity
    >
    >
    >
    > This was the second bottle of a cache I gave to Jean last year and it
    >
    > was even better than the previous one had been. Incredibly youthful
    >
    > (even down to the cork which was in superb shape), it had a classic
    >
    > Cabernet nose and an incredible feel of richness in the mouth. It was
    >
    > acidic enough that it needed the food to show well, but at 11.5% ABV it
    >
    > showed no heaviness or heat. This led to an interesting discussion
    >
    > concerning the ABV: since '61 was noted as a warm year that produced
    >
    > very ripe grapes in Bordeaux, how did they keep the alcohol so low?
    >
    > Canopy management? Earlier harvest?
    >
    >
    >
    > Mark Lipton


    Glad to hear these are doing well!

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