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From the Vintage of the Rocket to the Moon: 1959 Chateau Talbot

In this post Bill Moore kindly shares his experience with a pristine looking bottle of 1959 Chateau Talbot.  Georges Cordier, son of Desire Cordier who bought Chateau Gruaud-Larose, came into control of Chateau Talbot during 1919.  Chateau Talbot is a large estate located next to Chateau Gruaud-Larose.  The vineyards were, as they are now, planted with mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Franc.  Around the time of the 1959 vintage, the wines of Chateau Talbot were fermented in glass-lined vats then transferred to big casks for aging.  There is scarce additional detail available about this particular wine.  The 1959 Talbot retailed for $6.99 per magnum with the 1959 Gruaud-Larose at $7.37 per magnum in 1962. One contemporaneous opinion was the Talbot was a bigger wine with with more body and the Gruaud-Larose was more delicate, finer, and fruiter wine.  Neither was better than the other, they were just different, which went against the Talbot being a 4th Growth and the Gruaud-Larose a 2nd Growth.

The staying power of 1959 red Bordeaux is widely lauded, so I felt confident cracking open a well-preserved bottle from this legendary vintage. I was especially excited to try the Talbot, as the Cordier wines from the 1980s have also provided some of my most memorable Bordeaux experiences. Their earthy, savory character beautifully captures what makes this region so special to so many. As it turns out, I lucked into a very good example:


1959 Chateau Talbot, St. Julien
Just a marvelous old gem. Lovely light red-pink color. Ethereal nose of hickory smoke and cedar chest. Fully resolved on the palate with soft red fruits, tobacco, and spice, but nothing about the fruit was tired; it was brimming with a vibrancy that belied its age. Always a privilege to enjoy a mature beauty like this. -93 pts.

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