Birthday Wines Part I

I celebrated a significant birthday this year and with the help of some enthusiastic members of the Port Forum (click on ‘links’ for more information) we uncorked some splendid wines:

Viña Pomal 1961 (Bodegas Bilbainas) ***

I know little about the background to this wine which I bought at auction some years ago. There is no indication of ageing (crianza, reserva, gran reserva) but it has certainly spent some time in wood: still showing good brick red colour, woody – gamey aromas, still very recognisable as Rioja with soft strawberry fruit, a touch musty (bret perhaps?) but not dry or dried up, losing its gaminess with exposure to air. A curiosity but one that lives on. 15

Chateau Leoville Las Cases, St. Julien, 1961 *****

No one had thought about laying down any 1961 Claret for me so I am very grateful for the opportunity to taste this, one of the top wines from one of the best Bordeaux vintages of all time: retaining a lovely colour, still mid-deep with a thin brown rim; beautiful nose, elegant, floral and scented, naturally sweet, ripe blackcurrant fruit still very much in evidence with a touch of classic cedar too; still sweet, gentle, a touch leathery and gamey, drier towards the finish but smooth with wonderful poise. A great wine that shows the pedigree of the vintage. 19.5 

Scoring

19 - 20 An outstanding wine (*****)

17 – 18 An excellent wine in its class, highly recommended (****)

15 - 16 A good wine, with much to recommend it (***)

13 - 14 An enjoyable but simple, straightforward wine (**)

10 – 12 A very ordinary wine without faults but with no great merit (*)

8 - 10 Disagreeable (no stars)

Below 8 Faulty