What makes wine insanely great? Think back to the single greatest wine you have ever tasted. Surely you remember that experience like it was yesterday. Can you instantly recall everything about that moment?
If you answered yes to the above question, you have it. It lives in the hearts and minds of all wine lovers. It makes you search endlessly for perfection in wine. Although elusive, it does exist.
I set my high mark in 2000 when I was asked to work a very special wedding party for 120 people at Emeril’s in New Orleans. The rehearsal dinner was an 11-course extravaganza. We poured 15 spectacular wines along the way.
At about 1:20 a.m. that night, when all dinner guests had departed, our event started. We took about 50 open bottles to one big table and started “tasting.” What if I told you that the weakest wine in the group was the 1945 Château Lafite Rothschild?
How many truly breathtaking wines can you handle in one night? We were testing the limits. With wines such as 1961 DRC La Tâche, 1990 Ramonet Montrachet from magnum, 1975 Château Pétrus and 1959 Château Haut-Brion there, you may think it would be difficult to find a favorite. Think again.
The 1945 Comte de Vogüé Musigny Vieilles Vignes from magnum was simply ethereal. The laserlike purity of red cherry fruit was perfectly balanced with complex layers of earth, sweet vanilla, spring flowers and spice. Linear in style, the flavors started very focused and concentrated but expanded dramatically with a finish that lasted well over 60 seconds. Every hair on my body stood on end. I sat there, silently wondering if this was THE wine that I’ve spent my entire wine career in search of.
I got my answer in a completely unexpected way. As I was quietly contemplating the intoxicatingly brilliant fluid in my glass, I felt something. A tear trickled down my cheek and fell into my lap. Wow, I was drinking a wine so great, so compelling, that I was actually crying. I was experiencing such joy to be able to taste a wine this great, yet at the same time I had a foreboding feeling that I might never again have a wine this prodigious.
This elixir had such a striking effect on me that I sat there until daybreak, confirming my incredulity. It was indeed perfection in a glass and yet I reached a point where I couldn’t take another sip of the single greatest wine I have ever tasted. This was my 100-pointer. I had finally reached wine’s empyreal place, and I knew it.
I look forward to hearing your comments on your greatest wine ever.
Paul M Hummel — Chicago, — October 19, 2006 7:34pm ET
Delmonico Stkhse @ Venetian — Las Vegas, Nevada — October 19, 2006 9:13pm ET
Jeffrey Ghi — New York — October 20, 2006 10:20am ET
David Pardue — Hilton Head Island SC — October 20, 2006 11:45am ET
Delmonico Stkhse @ Venetian — Las Vegas, Nevada — October 20, 2006 11:53am ET
Colin Haggerty — La Jolla, California — October 20, 2006 11:54am ET
Delmonico Stkhse @ Venetian — Las Vegas, Nevada — October 20, 2006 12:03pm ET
Delmonico Stkhse @ Venetian — Las Vegas, Nevada — October 20, 2006 12:12pm ET
Hoyt Hill Jr — Nashville, TN — October 20, 2006 1:19pm ET
Brian Loring — Lompoc, CA — October 20, 2006 2:32pm ET
Matthew Vanhook — Rochester,NY,USA — October 20, 2006 8:19pm ET
Anthony Clapcich — October 20, 2006 8:32pm ET
Dave Forrest — October 20, 2006 9:23pm ET
Paul M Hummel — Chicago, — October 21, 2006 2:28pm ET
Jeffrey Ghi — New York — October 21, 2006 11:30pm ET
Delmonico Stkhse @ Venetian — Las Vegas, Nevada — October 22, 2006 5:11am ET
Delmonico Stkhse @ Venetian — Las Vegas, Nevada — October 22, 2006 5:14am ET
Anacleto Ludovic — paris france — October 22, 2006 2:50pm ET
Delmonico Stkhse @ Venetian — Las Vegas, Nevada — October 22, 2006 3:52pm ET
Kirk R. Grant — Ellsworth, ME — November 10, 2006 1:53am ET
Delmonico Stkhse @ Venetian — Las Vegas, Nevada — November 10, 2006 5:02am ET
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