2003 Chateau Lalande-Borie Saint-Julien: Needs almost a 24-hour decanting

dec. 11, 2010: when it comes to wine you open on a whim, to wine you'd use to reward yourself after a working week, french wines are both bad and good, respectively. this frenchman was given to us by my father, and driving home from the office, i wondered what it would be like to let a 7-year-old bordeaux be the star of the evening. especially considering the minor catastrophe of a sandwich i made to accompany it later on, this 2003 was definitely an interesting, if testy, wine to experience. 

valued at about $30-35 (depending on which site you visit online),  this bottle, i realized a bit too late, was definitely not a wine you open without a great deal of patience. meaning: i opened it around 10 p.m., tasted it (some barnyard to the nose, sharp edges and tannins) and let it decant for about 30 minutes. then tasted it again (this time the fruits were starting to stand out, though there were still some rough edges), and let it sit for another 10 minutes. i poured a glass for greg (who wasn't that impressed), watched a really bad snl, and then contented myself with a bill murray film and a few sips throughout.

this wine got somewhat better, but it wasn't fantastic. so i let it decant overnight and, i hesitate to say, took a very small sip sunday morning ... just to see what about 11 hours can do to the flavor of a wine bottled in 2003. the verdict? at 9:30 a.m., the flavors were much the same as they were later sunday night, when i prepared three braised cornish hens in a dry white wine reduction (see next post). the fruits that i had tasted within 40 minutes of its opening on saturday were gone, replaced by a mildness that was neither rough nor exquisite. that night, we finished off what was left in the decanter, and greg liked it a lot better than he had the night before, saying it had opened up nicely, was softer, with not much of a nose but a fruitier flavor. as for me, this wasn't the best bordeaux i've had, but it does seem to be one more example of a french wine that's both fickle and hard to place in terms of flavors. 13 percent alcohol. gifts.

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