It seemed almost too good to be true. A few weeks ago I came across a magnum of Comte Georges de Vogüé Musigny Cuvée Vieilles Vignes 1989 for 435 euros on the wine list of a mega-buck restaurant, Tantris, in Munich. Okay. It wasn’t cheap, but if I split it with two other guys at the table, it was a good buy, and this was a wine that I rated 96 points myself for the magazine back in 1992 when I used to taste in Burgundy.
“I am in,” I said to my wine merchant buddy from Hong Kong.
He asked the sommelier to come over to the table, and he explained to her in German that we wanted to have the Musigny. She looked rather disapproving. And then she had a two-minute conversation with him. I didn’t have a clue what they were saying since I don’t speak German.
“What did she say?” I asked, after they stopped speaking and she went to get the bottle.
“She said that the wine didn’t have much color, so she was afraid that you might not like it,” he said.
I thought he was joking, but he wasn’t. Apparently, the woman thought that I would be disappointed because the wine was not dark and inky. I guess she thought that all Americans drink only black Cabernets, or something?
“What’s wrong with the color?” I said. “I don’t expect mature Burgundy to be super dark in color. Does she think that I only drink young Cabernets from California?”
In any case, she brought the magnum and opened it and poured me a sip. The color was a lovely brick red with a darker center. Just what it should be, in my opinion.
I smelled and tasted it, and it seemed a little earthy, but the fruit was rich and wonderful underneath with lots of crushed raspberries. It was full and silky and very, very fresh. I thought decanting it would help knock out the earthiness in the wine.
“Ask her if she could please decant the wine,” I said to my friend.
He asked her to decant it, and I thought she was going to blow a fuse. I may as well have made jokes about Germany’s football team, or something. Anyway, she begrudgingly decanted the bottle.
What a dream. The wine lost the earthy edge and gained in purity of fruit. I can still remember the glorious silky texture of the wine now and it’s intense raspberry character. It remains a 96-point wine in my mind.
I am sure that the sommelier still doesn’t think much of American wine lovers, but who cares? The Musigny made it a joyful night.
Hoyt Hill Jr — Nashville, TN — July 12, 2006 4:44pm ET
Anthony Clapcich — July 12, 2006 5:39pm ET
Chris Lavin — Long Beach, CA — July 12, 2006 5:40pm ET
James Suckling — — July 13, 2006 2:33am ET
Hans Martin Gesellmann — Vienna/Austria — July 13, 2006 3:15am ET
Anthony Clapcich — July 13, 2006 6:57am ET
Jeffrey Ghi — New York — July 13, 2006 9:15am ET
James Suckling — — July 13, 2006 10:48am ET
Filippo Recchi — Florence, Italy — July 13, 2006 11:38am ET
Joseph Romualdi — Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada — July 13, 2006 1:54pm ET
Jeffrey Ghi — New York — July 13, 2006 4:08pm ET
James Suckling — — July 14, 2006 4:46am ET
James Suckling — — July 14, 2006 4:48am ET
Aaron Shields — Orlando — July 15, 2006 11:53am ET
Filippo Recchi — Florence, Italy — July 16, 2006 2:02pm ET
Jason Thompson — Foster City, CA — July 17, 2006 6:16pm ET
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