Saturday night, we pulled out a big bottle of this trophy Bordeaux. Like all of the other famed producers of Bordeaux, who jumped on the Robert Parker style bus, this is a fruit monster compared to older bottling. But, boy is it fun when the bottle is good.
My luck has not always been great with wines from this time frame. As most wine lovers have experienced, badly corked wines were prevalent in the ‘95-‘05 decade, and seem to be on the decline now. Waiting for a wine to mature is frustrating enough, but when one adds in the unpredictability of corking, it can be maddening. One truism is that my corked bottles show up when I have transported them the furthest and a replacement is least likely to be at hand.
Such was not the case! This bottle was perfect. I can best liken it to Jose Andres’ magic with modern tapas. He takes the essence of a tomato or an olive, concentrates the flavors, and delivers it back to the patron as a morsel that looks like it came from a tree, but was actually formed in the kitchen, and delivers a purer, more concentrated taste than could be found in nature.
The precise notes of fresh blueberry, cassis and dry cocoa that this bottle displayed were amazing. Truffley forest floor, the inside of a cigar box, wood shavings and asphalt were all vivid and obvious. Sometimes, with that much fruit and flavor the wine can seem mouth-coating and heavy, but this wine was alive. Laden with flavor, but lively. That’s when you know the acid level is right. And, right at this moment, this may not be a great food wine for pairing, unless your meal is full of grilled meats and vegetables.
But, this is not 1870. How many of us enjoy a three hour meal, discussing the affairs of the world, before we move on to port and cigars? We are far more likely to carve out time around our enjoyment of what’s in our glass, than to worry about our pairing of food and wine. This is a wine that deserves all the attention, and that’s where it shines, under the spotlight. As I have mentioned many times, a wine that is higher in acid and lighter in body, may be the ideal companion to food, but will seem shriller on its own. This is a wine for sipping, and marveling at.
This wine demands no food, it is just there for the enjoyment of a lucky few. Jonathan and Ross were raving about how good it was, and the rest of us agreed. I have to admit that we had been supplied with horrible, thick, Libby water glasses that were a half bowl style, and did nothing to capture the aromas from the wine. I laughed and distributed those, and some of those little glasses we called “tooth brush” glasses, that we used to drink “dago red” from in pasta houses. I showed people how to pull air over the wine, and roll it around for a while, appreciating all the aromas. We didn’t need no stinking wine glasses! (Although it sure would have been nice.)
Eventually, real glasses materialized, but this wine was so rich and spectacular that nothing had been diminished by our in-mouth aeration. If you are going to stay up late into the night solving the problems of the world, this is the wine you want to accompany you. I hadn’t looked at the current bottle price in a while, so I was more than a little shocked when I checked this week. But, man was that good.