Bernard Mak’s Tasting Notes: The Window Period of Wines

CellarWe have different lifestyles and needs, and sometimes we just miss doing certain things in life and regret them later on.  In the wine circle, we call it the window period of drinking.

It is not always about how expensive the bottle of wine is, though. If you manage to catch it right, a $30 bottle can taste better than a $300 bottle.  Like what I always said, “You only live once.  If you do it right, once is enough.”

Last week was an eventful week for me and I am very blessed to be able to taste some top wines.


The Big Wine from a Small Hill

I opened a bottle of 1996 Château Lafite Rothschild on Thursday, 25 August. At around 8.30am, let the bottle breathe until 1pm before decanting it. I drank it at 5.30pm and the wine is still closed and tight.

It evolves rather slowly in the glass as the temperature warms a little.  You can sense the power and finesse in this 100-pointer as if something is just restraining it from opening. I drank it in 2011, and the same sort of feeling comes rushing back on the nose and the palate.

I have to wait for at least another five years to open another bottle, if I am lucky.


A 17th Century Story in a Bottle

On a Friday weekend, I talked about missing certain things in life and my good friends gathered and opened the 1989 Château Léoville-Las Cases.  I was very sure they were raving about it as I finished my work at the office.

Fortunate for me, I was able to taste an overnight quarter bottle the next day.  It was good and it would be an understatement if I say “still good”.

The colour does not exhibit her age, as compared to most Bordeaux; and the cassis, dried figs still flows on the nose.  Concentrated and lean, yet soft and silky with no rough edges, the wine tickles your palate in a way that makes you long for another sip.


Tasting Margaux

Bottle ButtI was even happier when the host decided to try a bottle of 1986 Château Rauzan-Ségla.

It has a fresh violet nose coupled with dried blackcurrants. It showed signs of some age compared to the previous bottle of Las Cases ’89, however, it is still magnificent on the legs. There was less concentration and sign of tiredness with lean secondary fruit aromas.

I would love to drink this, say, 8 to 10 years ago as the window period is slowly diminishing upon us.

Well, these past 3 days have been most interesting. I’ve tasted different Bordeaux and each one  provided different pleasures on the palate and senses. One must note though of the window period of drinking — it’s absolutely paramount.
Take my advice, buy a case and enjoy a bottle slowly to catch the right period. Cheers!