Chateau Lynch-Bages 2002

88++ points

Pauillac, Bordeaux. 13%

At 9 years of age I had wondered if this wine might be showing some age, perhaps fading a little as this wasn’t the biggest boldest of vintages. Perhaps the first flush of youth has gone but this is still a stern oaky wine, dense with a savoury green seam.

This is very classic claret. And at this age it is dense not showing much charm. Not at all like the recent opulent vintages of 2003, 2005, 2009 and now, apparently 2010.

Best leave it for at least another 5 years.

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Ridge Santa Cruz Mountains 2004

87 points

California, USA. 13%

Dark colour.

You have to look (breathe) past the acetone aromas.

A flavoursome bright Cabernet with some charm. Not heavy at all but full bodied. Drink 2011-2015.

2012 UPDATE – the oak is still strong.  American oak unfortunately.  Very dry and savoury, quite unlike the typical Cali Cab.  Looks like it may benefit from a couple more years.

Expensive wine doesn’t always taste better

Actually, there is a rather good relationship between price and quality in wine, but there are two very good reasons why a person used to drinking sub $20 bottles will often be disappointed by a splurge on a $60+ bottle.

First of all expensive wine will often be different, a strange unfamiliar taste, and it is more difficult to fully appreciate new tastes.

But also one of the defining characters of fine wine is its aging potential – the reputation, and price, of many a fine wine is based on what it tastes like at 10, 20, even 30+ years of age, not at 5 (or less) years old.

My advice to someone seeking to learn about the truly great wines of the world is to try to taste them at (vertical) tastings that feature various vintages going back some years.

Wine in the Christian/Jewish bible

Daniel Whitfield has compiled an interesting list of mentions of wine in the old and new testaments.  His aim was to determine whether calls for prohibition are based on cultural or scriptural grounds – the answer is clearly cultural because only 16% of references to wine are negative in the bible (c.f. 59% positive).

This is another example of religious people each picking and choosing which bits of their religion they wish to believe, which, if you think about it, undermines the central concept of religion.

I quote his conclusion here:

Alcohol and the Bible: Conclusion
What is the Biblical teaching on the use of alcohol? That was the question we sought to answer in this inquiry. Based on the 247 references to wine and strong drink in the Bible, based on the life of Jesus, and in light of the common arguments that arise in a discussion on this topic, we find a simple (and, perhaps to some, surprising) answer. The Bible has several warnings against drunkenness, but only one caution against the responsible use of alcohol in celebration and with meals. That caution is to be careful, when you are in fellowship with Christians with a weaker conscience, that you don’t cause a brother to stumble. A total prohibition against the use of alcohol is conspicuous largely by its absence, particularly to an individual from a conservative Christian sub-culture.

Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration, or a Sabbath day. Colossians 2:16

PS Probably unsurprisingly the story is much the same in the Qur’an, the other famous Middle Eastern religious text.  While a number of things are expressly forbidden in the Qur’an this is not the case with wine.  Like the Jewish/Christian texts it merely contains warnings against drinking in excess.