I went to a friend’s house for dinner over the weekend in Mexico City and he invited some people over for cheese and wine. It’s funny--I haven’t done that in ages and it was great fun. I guess in Italy and other parts of Europe few people think about having just cheese for dinner, although I do enjoy mozzarella with fresh tomatoes and basil from my garden in the summer for a light supper.
My friend, Alex Lemaire, is French, and a well-known event organizer in Mexico. He is also a keen wine lover. So he served us four wines blind during our casual dinner. The first one I got mostly right saying it was a premier cru red Burgundy. I thought it was younger, like 1995, but it was, in fact, nine years older. It was a 1986 Geoffrey Pere et Fils Gevrey-Chambertin. It was fresh and fruity still, but it faded in the glass quickly. The 1986 vintage in Burgundy, if I remember well, had some problems with rain during the harvest, so it was surprising it was in such good shape.
Next came a red that was easy to nail. It looked like a Burgundy in color but it had loads of American oak on the nose. Rioja. I think it was a 1998 riserva from Bodegas Olarra. To be honest, I didn’t pay that close attention to the wine and I wasn’t making notes. Then came--sneaky bastard--a super Tuscan 1997 from Castello di Querceto Le Corte that I mistook for a sleek California Cabernet Sauvignon.
But the big surprise was the final wine.
Alex had decanted all the wines, so when the final one arrived we were all in a good mood. I smelled the wine and beautiful currants and oak came out of the glass but in a subtle, delicate way. The palate was medium- to full-bodied, with fine tannins and a long, long finish. I was sure it was Bordeaux, perhaps from a lighter vintage such as 1999 or 2001. The delicate Cabernet said Bordeaux to me. Wrong. Mexico! It was a 2000 Cabernet Franc-Merlot from Chateau Camou.
I was not that surprised because I have tasted some very good to excellent wines from Mexico in the last couple of years, particularly from Casa de Piedra. And the area of Valle de Guadalope is fascinating. But Alex really got me good with that Camou last weekend.
As we were enjoying the Mexican wine, Alex told me that it was a shame that people were so influenced by the label. “A wine like this would never be taken serious by many people,” he said. “It’s like art. Some people only believe a good painting is good when they see the signature of the artist.”
That's why I taste blind when I am working. And sometimes when I'm playing.
Tristan Sjoberg — London — October 9, 2006 4:02pm ET
Jeffrey Spurlock — Laguna Beach, California — October 9, 2006 7:20pm ET
Jeffrey Ghi — New York — October 10, 2006 4:05pm ET
George F Medina Jr — Lakewood, Ca — October 10, 2006 6:00pm ET
Brad Conley — Minneapolis, MN — October 11, 2006 8:13am ET
James Suckling — — October 11, 2006 8:21am ET
Tristan Sjoberg — London — October 11, 2006 9:58am ET
Brad Conley — Minneapolis, MN — October 11, 2006 11:43am ET
Anacleto Ludovic — paris france — October 11, 2006 12:46pm ET
Horacio Campana / Butler Me — Monterrey, Mexico — October 16, 2006 4:15pm ET
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