Marc Brédif Vouvray 1985

There are many ways one might frame a definition of “good friends.” For now, though, my working formula is:

People who save an evening from your bottles of disappointing white Burgundy and corked biodynamic Pinot Noir with a superb aged Vouvray and a few luscious, late-night glasses of Penfolds Grandfather Port.

Indeed, dinner yesterday was bookended by beautiful wines offered by my companions, the first of which I shall discuss in a moment.

To digress briefly, wine can be the most frustrating of things, and it sometimes feels as though those frustrations come in multiples. I rocked up to dinner with a couple of bottles that promised much pleasure: a 2010 Alain Chavy Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Pucelles — not previously tasted, but for which I had high hopes considering Chavy’s powerful ’10 Puligny-Montrachet Folatières and St Aubin En Remilly bottlings — and the ’09 Hochkirch Maximus, enjoyed several times previously.

The Chavy was only okay; surprisingly for a 2010 Burgundy, it’s quite blowsy through the mid-palate, its evident complexity of flavour undermined by indistinct articulation and a general sense of blurriness. The Hochkirch would have been delicious, I’m sure, were it not for a massive dose of 2,4,6-trichloroanisole (thanks, cork). And that was pretty much that.

Perhaps the disappointment wouldn’t have been so great had the first wine, this old Brédif, been less enjoyable. There’s something about old white wines in particular that I find fascinating and, in a way, more remarkable than old reds, because they are so unlikely. Chenin Blanc gives great acid, sure, but there’s an obviousness to many red wines, structurally, that makes ageability a foregone conclusion. By contrast, when a white wine grows old with grace, I can’t help but marvel a little at how it’s happened.

This is, surely, at its peak. There are subtle signs of oxidation now — a hint of flor sherry, some aldehydic nuttiness — that overlay core notes of baked apple pie and spice, creating a wonderfully complex flavour profile that moves between these primary and tertiary notes without skipping a beat. Indeed, this kept changing over the hour or so we tasted, with some luscious dried fruit notes creeping in towards the end. It’s in the mouth, though, where this truly comes alive. An off-dry style, this still has the acid structure to create brisk movement down the line and counterbalance a lovely swell of residual sugar through the after palate. Flavours range from savoury to sweet, giving some angularity to the wine but never robbing it of its comfort. Texturally, there are several dimensions, a slippery, waxy mouthfeel giving way to raspier textures through the finish. And what a finish; exceptionally long by any measure.

A truly delicious wine.

Marc Brédif
Price: N/A
Closure: Cork
Source: Gift

14 thoughts on “Marc Brédif Vouvray 1985

  1. Julian I do enjoy the way you write. I agree with you about the way some white wine ages, there is something majestic about them a little like Helen Mirren

    • Hey thanks Troy. 🙂 I’m reminded of that magnum of Chablis you opened for us that turned out to be horribly corked. Oh what it could have been…

  2. I had an old Vouvray last night among others Julian, and similarly it was the wine of the night by far. So under appreciated.

  3. Julian,

    Brilliant words, as usual. I have one bottle left, I’m not exactly sure what I’m waiting for, it’s so old already; but I do recall seeing some of the 1959 Bredif a few years back, for around $350 and I so perhaps I’m testing my will power!

    Was the cork shrivelled, hard and black?

    • Hey thanks Ed. I wonder what even older examples will taste like. There was still good acid and plenty of primary fruit, but for my taste the oxidative notes are already prominent enough. I guess if you’re not so bothered by that flavour dimension, you might leave it for a while longer and still receive pleasure.

      I wasn’t the cork remover, but I did observe the process – the cork was a little dark, but not yet approaching the sort of atrophied state you hint at. Looked fairly good, really.

  4. Hi Julian, Great review of the 85 Marc Bredif. The gang here has just purchased two bottles each of the 85 and 89 for an in house session. Looking forward to tasting them and hoping they too will be Helen Mirren-like!

    • Oo, the ’89 as well! I’m jealous. Hopefully you will find the ’85 as fascinating as I did. Things tend to become more Helen Mirren-like after a few glasses so just keep drinking and you will get there. 🙂 Speaking of Chenins, I’m sure I still have a bottle of your Tintookie to taste…

  5. I tasted this again recently from two different bottles. All remarkably consistent. A gorgeous wine and a really crowd pleasing style.

  6. Just opened a bottle of the 85. It’s all true, bit of co2 that blows off quickly and beautiful hints of flor sherry, grapefruit and sweetness of fruit. Truly sensational for a wine about to celebrate 30.
    Ps we make good young chenins in WA like Voyager, but nothing that will last the distance

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