I just spent $550 on a bottle of wine. Want to take a guess what it was. ’05 Latour? Nope. Haut-Brion? Nope. Margaux, Mouton or Lafite? Zip, zilch, nada.
No, there are 15,000 to 20,000 cases made of each of those wines, and they’ll be in the marketplace from now until they mature. You’ll always find them, no sweat. They’re great wines for sure, but not worth chasing after in my opinion.
No, for me, if you were going to plunk down rent money for a bottle of fermented grape juice (and I would never actually recommend any sane person do what I just did) it would have to be a pretty special wine. A wine that will be used for a 20th wedding anniversary, a parent’s retirement party or milestone birthday, or a child’s graduation. You may think of the ’05 first growths as those kinds of wines, and you’d be right. But for an insane premium, the wine would also have to be a wine that you won’t find in the marketplace 20 years from now, when those special events come to pass.
It would also have to be a wine from a once-in-a-lifetime vintage – both qualitatively and stylistically. 2005 is a great vintage for Bordeaux, but it looks like a vintage that is great simply because it’s great – not dramatically different. Rather, a vintage where torrid heat allowed miniscule production and stunning quality to join together to push the price up – not mere financial speculation exacerbated by a blue-chip brand’s history – merits forsaking the cash that could be spent on a few nights out on the town.
There were 750 cases made of this wine, when production is normally over 2,300 cases. I’ve been fortunate to taste it a few times at the domaine, and been awestruck by its development during its brief history. It is, flat out, the greatest young red wine I have ever tasted, and I find it hard to believe that there will ever be many more like it. (I just pray that when I get my lone sample for my official blind tastings the bottle isn’t corky).
So sure, it hurts to pay that much for it (in fact, I hope my wife doesn’t read about what I just did). But I know when I open the ’03 Hermitage from Jean-Louis Chave, with my college graduate daughters on one side, and a set of beaming grandparents on the other, it will seem like a bargain.
So am I nuts? What's your limit for a great bottle of wine?
Phil Talamo — Bron, NY — June 29, 2006 4:16pm ET
Scott Cheney — Michigan — June 30, 2006 1:44am ET
James Molesworth — June 30, 2006 9:07am ET
Mark Boyer — Omaha, NE — June 30, 2006 10:37pm ET
Scott Cheney — Michigan — June 30, 2006 11:42pm ET
Michael Barnes — Brisbane, CA — July 1, 2006 1:04am ET
Carlo Dinatale — Coon Rapids, MN — July 1, 2006 9:32am ET
David A Zajac — July 2, 2006 5:52am ET
Travis G Snyder — Salt Lake City — July 2, 2006 11:05am ET
David A Zajac — July 2, 2006 9:12pm ET
James Molesworth — July 5, 2006 10:47am ET
Keith Milton — London, England — July 6, 2006 2:52am ET
James Molesworth — July 6, 2006 8:48am ET
Alfred Gregori — July 6, 2006 12:03pm ET
Keith Milton — London, England — July 7, 2006 3:27am ET
Jennifer Awbrey — Austin, Tx — July 7, 2006 3:37am ET
Jim Nuffield — Toronto — July 8, 2006 12:10pm ET
Carlton Bradshaw — St. Louis, MO — July 17, 2006 5:17pm ET
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