St.Julien, Bordeaux, France.
High shoulder (little ullage), and good colour for the 40 years of age, just an obvious mark of brown around the edges but otherwise good depth throughout. Aromas of age, but not oxidation and flabbiness, instead rather like polished old red chairs in the Reform Club (ie old leather but not sweaty or pungent in any sense) , old (neutral) wood, old books (but not musty), etc. And underneath that clear cabernet aromas, some greenness but not underripe – extraordinary that such obvious varietal character could last so long.
Michael Broadbent describes 1966 as a long distance runner (and one of his favourite vintages), and the Beychevelle as a wine that he always has enjoyed (he tasted it last in the 90s).
The palate has moderate weight, it’s now ultra smooth, the acid has dropped away, it’s frail but only as much as would be expected (at most) for a 40 year old table wine.
The lower levels of the bottle (we didn’t decant it for fear that it might not be up to it) were more robust – very very interesting. No crust at all.
All in all, rather glorious mid weight wine, classic claret. Perfect with food.
It would have been better ten years earlier, but not much, it’s holding very well. We matched it with Beychevelle 2003 but that was a match made in hell – not good for either wine (a lesson in that – don’t mix ridiculously young with very old, in the interests of both wines).