Welcome back and join us again as we list some of the greatest wines in the world: If you haven't the opportunity to read the first installment: S'il vous plait! please click on here: The Wino's Bucket List 2013. These are world class wines that maybe we’ll taste and enjoy this year.
Last time we took on European wines that have made vino aficionados weak in the knee when thinking about or when comparing personal notes with others at a wine tasting.
Well—we’re still on these “Old World Wines”, indeed, we’re still discussing great French wines! and we really haven’t left Bordeaux yet. Besides the Pétrus, Lafite and the Latour , there’s few others to cover—and we seem to be taking our time at it as well!
Chateau Margaux: The estate has been occupied since at least the 12th century. “Richard the Lionheart would drink anything from our vineyard,” says the owner. It is considered the most seductive, elegant and fabulously perfumed of all the great red Bordeaux—“an iron fist in a velvet glove”.
The soil in Margaux is the thinnest in the area with the highest proportion of rough gravel offering the vine the least nourishment. Amazing that such a sweet haunting fragrance can emanate and such an exquisite wine can be produced.
A bottle of Château Margaux 1787 holds the record as the most expensive bottle of wine ever broken, insured at $225,000. You gotta hate when that happens.
Chateau Mouton-Rothschild: Last week we covered Lafite Rothschild. This time it’s Chateau Mouton which originated from the English branch of the same family in the mid-19th century. Art and Wine: It’s the classiest wine label out there.
Each year special labels are designed by famous artists that have included Chagall, Picasso and Warhol. Mouton continues to exhibit the work of modern artists. This wonderful wine consistently carries robust, opulent, and complex flavors of chocolate, raspberries and spices. Great vintages such as the 1996, 2000, and 2005 leave an incredibly elongated aftertaste.
Nineteen seventy-three was not a particularly good year in Bordeaux. But it was the year Mouton was elevated to a “First Growth” thus joining in with the best Bordeaux. It was also the year a Picasso was chosen on the label and it turned out to be the year he died. With all this going on, this once-in-a-lifetime label choice made the label on the bottle much more valuable than the wine inside!
I was at my first wine auction in the 80s—and not knowing any better I bought a case of the ’73 Mouton. I thought I made a good buy for the price—other people in the room were probably laughing at me knowing I was purchasing “weak vintage of Bordeaux”—well, I was! But I lucked out—the artwork on the bottle, as time passed, became more and more valuable.
Chateau D’Yquem: People often wince at the idea of drinking a really sweet wine. And you can add me to that list too if the wine is cheap. But I’m in when the tables are turned and the sweet wine is one of the most expensive quaffs on earth: Yquem is the best dessert wine I’ve ever tasted. Yes I’ve had Hungarian Tojaii, German Trokenbeeranausle, Loire Late Harvest Chenin Blanc and a few other late-harvest wines which are absolutely delicious. But there is something ethereal when it comes to the Yquem.
It’s a fun fact that Yquem is made from rotten grapes. It’s called Noble Rot—also known as botrytis, and with the right weather conditions can produce particularly fine and concentrated sweet wine with a great acid streak that keeps it fresh and non-cloying.
I had a friend who drank and collected wine for over 25 years. They were pretty much all types of California wine and he really had no interest in French wine. One day I was returning from a wine auction and I had a few vintage Yquems with me. This was pretty expensive stuff; but I was poised to not only make my friend appreciate French wine but to have him grasp the greatness of one of the world’s best wines.
I stopped at his office—and in the middle of the afternoon, while at his desk he sat stunned; he had never before experienced the savor and complexities of this wine. This is why I recommend any and every wine enthusiast to treat themselves—at least once in their life—to an incomparable rich-textured, stone fruit and flower scented glittering golden liquid glass of true nectar that God has allowed man to enjoy.
It’s a Sauternes [soh-TAYRN] that will not only raise your pastry dessert to another level, but actually pairs well with entrées such as foie gras, crab legs and scallops.
Thomas Jefferson ordered 250 bottles of the 1784 vintage for himself, and additional bottles for George Washington. However, at that time the technique of allowing noble rot to infect grapes had not yet been discovered, so the wine Jefferson was drinking was a much different sweet wine.
The famed wine critic, Robert Parker, had the great opportunity a few years ago to enjoy the 1811 Vintage Château d'Yquem—the year of Halley’s comet—and was amazed at the wine’s exceptional longevity, scoring it a perfect 100 points. In aging, vintage red wines will sadly and ultimately turn to vinegar where great sweet wines can become more and more complex.
Hard to imagine a 200 year old wine still holding on to the best in the world title!
Stay tuned for our Bucket List Finale next week! Cheers!