I had dinner the other night at Au Caprice des Deux in St.-Tropez with some friends before going clubbing. The food was fancy bistro fare, good and hearty, with lots of flavor. Most people had oven-roasted lamb crusted with parsley. I opted for the scallops with truffle risotto. As yummy as the food was, what was most impressive was what we drank with the main course, a bottle of 2000 La Chapelle de La Mission-Haut-Brion, the second wine of the famous estate in Péssac-Leognan and neighbor to Haut-Brion. The two estates, in fact, share the same owners – most of whom are Americans.
Anyway, the wine was drop-dead gorgeous, with wonderful perfumes of raspberries and wet earth and a palate of fine tannins and rich fruit. It was very, very harmonious. I gave it 91 points with dinner – slightly more generous than I was in my original blind tasting, perhaps due to the great ambiance of St. Tropez. Regardless, the wine is drinking wonderfully at the moment, although it could easily improve with age for another 10 or 15 years.
At 150 euros, the Chapelle was no bargain on the wine list – which was really bad, with hardly any selection, by the way – but there were many reds selling for the same price, and they were nowhere close in quality to the La Chapelle. What would you rather have, de Pez 1996 or La Chapelle 2000? You get the idea.
I am going to keep my eye out for top second wines from Bordeaux in super vintages such as 2000 and 2003. A lot of love and care goes into their winemaking in top years, even though for some reason or another the winemaker may not have deemed them good enough for a property’s grand vin.
Greg Malcolm — St. Louis, Missouri — August 23, 2006 12:25pm ET
Chris Seiber — Newport Beach, CA — August 23, 2006 1:37pm ET
Anthony Clapcich — August 23, 2006 4:09pm ET
James Mccusker — Okemos, MI — August 23, 2006 11:28pm ET
Guus Hateboer — Netherlands — August 24, 2006 3:32am ET
Jean-luc Achikian — Genva/Switzerland — August 27, 2006 4:18am ET
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