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james suckling uncorked

Fly the Flag

Posted: Jan 20, 2009 7:44am ET

I am in Geneva today at a watch show for our sister publication, Cigar Aficionado, but I would much rather be in America with all of you to celebrate the new presidency. I have lived out of the United States for more than 23 years, and I don’t think I have ever felt more proud to be American than today. This is truly a great day for us, as well as the rest of the world. What hope we all have despite the difficulties in the world from war to economic meltdown.

I am glued to CNN in between meetings. And I am in awe of all the people who are attending the inauguration. I think most people in the world want to be there. Television, radio or Internet, peoples of the world will be there in any case.

On the wine front, I by coincidence organized a dinner with Robert de Luxembourg, among others. He is the head of the famous first-growth estate of Haut-Brion, which has American roots, and the legendary property of La Mission-Haut-Brion. His grandfather was C. Douglas Dillon, who was the secretary of treasury from 1961 to 1965 and a great diplomat as well as having been an ambassador to France.

I guess it’s the best I can do today as an American and where I am. Maybe we might even drink a bottle of Haut-Brion or La Mission-Haut-Brion to celebrate our new president? That would be amazing! The two châteaus are essentially American wine estates in France. And they proudly fly the American flag each day. I think we should all fly our flag today. Enjoy your evening and toast our new president.

Matt Scott
Honolulu HI —  January 20, 2009 11:51am ET
Cheers James! One of the main reasons that I was in favor of Obama was for Foreign Diplomacy. It seems that EU has taken a liking to our soon to be president. Thank goodness!
Castello Del Romitorio
New York —  January 20, 2009 11:57am ET
I cant agree more. I have just heaved my American flag on top of Castello Romitorio (in Montalcino) a few hours ago. I am not sure that I would be able to still do that now- as I have indulged in a wonderful bottle of Bruno Paillard 1996 Blanc de Blanc and now we have moved on to a Winston Churchill. Cheers to OBAMA from Montalcino!!!!
Don Noone
January 20, 2009 11:59am ET
I am proud to be an American EVERY day. Five years ago, yesterday, today, tomorrow, and very likely most days until I breath my last.
Dan Murphy
Tampa, FL —  January 20, 2009 12:18pm ET
Beautifully said, James. Thank you. God bless the United States of America.
Chris A Elerick
Orlando, FL —  January 20, 2009 12:41pm ET
i'm no more proud to be an american today than any other day. i think martin luther king's dream was that people would be judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin, and throughout this presidential campaign i have garnered very little information regarding this man's character. and it pains me to think that many (though by no means all) of votes cast for him were because of his race. that is no less racist than voting against him because he's black.

i have always been a strong supporter alan keyes who is a weathered politician and a man of extraordinary faith who has proven the content of his character, though no media spectacle has yet to center on him.

i'll keep drinking good wine regardless of who our president is, so let's get back to posting interesting information on this subject rather than politics, because the last time i checked i paid for a subscription to wine spectator, not moveon.org.
Bryan Hassin
Houston, TX —  January 20, 2009 12:54pm ET
Although I live in Lausanne, Switzerland now, I am in the US celebrating the inauguration. We popped open a 2001 Tignanello and 1998 Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino, both of which were drinking beautifully. Are these wines terribly "American?" No, but God bless America for the freedom to drink whatever my tastes prefer!
Gregory Walter
Sonoma, CA —  January 20, 2009 2:16pm ET
I completely agree with you that it is a proud day for all of us! Definitely a day to celebrate -- it's still late morning out here; plenty of time to decide what we'll open to celebrate this evening! 23 years -- wow! Seems like only yesterday we were in San Diego....Best to you and your family!
Dennis D Bishop
Shelby Twp., MI, USA —  January 20, 2009 3:02pm ET
Chris, calm down old chap - this is a great day in our country's history..... for most of us! Cheeers James, enjoy! I am right behind you!dennyb
Dr J Rosenblatt
Montreal, Canada —  January 20, 2009 3:38pm ET
James, I'm Canadian but spend much time working and vacationing in the US. Couldn't agree with you more. This is a great and emotional day for the entire world. TO celebrate and recognize the day, I intend to open the #1 WOTY (Clos Apalta 2005) in honour of the #1 Man of the Year ! Cheers and enjoy this great day!
Chris A Elerick
Orlando, FL —  January 20, 2009 4:51pm ET
i'm just as proud today as i would have been if john mccain or ralph nader had won. which brings it all back to this: shut up about the politics and let's talk about how even though the economy sucks i still can't find highly rated 2005 bordeaux for under $100 a bottle!
Greg Neidballa
Chicago, IL USA —  January 20, 2009 7:24pm ET
I'm totally with you on this, James. The world in in a difficult place and we need this exceptional man from a new generation to lead. My toast to the new President is '89 Pommery Louise Brut and my wife and I find it to be very fine.
Lorenzo Erlic
victoria canada —  January 20, 2009 8:02pm ET
Eloquently said James! Today was a day that will live eternally for the world in many, many different and special ways. I enjoyed a NV Moet and Chandon Brut Imperial with my gardener Saul in Cancun, Mexico. He never had tried ANY champagne before; the look on his face upon trying it for the first time was priceless, as big and meaningful as the inauguration itself. Cheers everyone!! There's a world out there to make better for all of us. Chris, 2005 Chateau Faugeres... it will astonish you, I promise.
Peter Dengenis
los angeles CA —  January 20, 2009 8:07pm ET
I agree with Chris. Lets keep the discussion focused on wine.
Ryan Wilhite
January 20, 2009 8:38pm ET
James, can you expand on your comments of how HB and LMHB are essentially American wine estates in France?
Eugene Kim
Houston, TX —  January 20, 2009 8:42pm ET
Chris, if we can't put aside the wine talk for one day and celebrate this historic moment in history, then you are missing the big picture. The '05 Bordeaux will still be there tomorrow, and it will still be expensive. This is coming from a Republican. '04 Sea Smoke Ten is drinking nicely this evening.
James Rego
Redding, Ca., Shasta County —  January 20, 2009 10:41pm ET
I'm sorry ,but Chris you are the guy that injected politics into this discussion. I'm all for the United States of America and I have faith in Obama; and incidentally Eugene, my Seasmoke Ten (05)is drinking rather nicely also.Here's to good wine no matter who the President may be!
Gregory Walter
Sonoma, CA —  January 20, 2009 11:23pm ET
Eugene, I totally agree with you -- it'll all be there tomorrow. I decided to pull some random corks tonight and semi-coincidentally pulled an '06 Sea Smoke Southing, as well as an '06 Melville Santa Rita Hills bottling and they both rocked. Finished dinner and got our daughter to bed and now we're doing some '99 Domaine Carneros Brut...
James Suckling
 —  January 21, 2009 4:23am ET
Greg. Thanks for the best wishes! Hope to see you soon and try a good Cali Pinot together.
Dr J Rosenblatt
Montreal, Canada —  January 21, 2009 4:27am ET
For anyone interested, the Clos Apalta (2005) was fantastic! Bursting with fruit and smooth as silk. James, I also stayed glued to CNN most of the night and savoured this beauty. It could probably use another year or so in the cellar, but it is already worthy of its lofty ranking. I figure this wine will be perfect in 1-2 years, just about the time the US (and world) economy starts to once again shine brightly. Can't wait to celebrate the good times with another bottle.
Chris A Elerick
Orlando, FL —  January 21, 2009 9:11am ET
last post, i promise! no one can deny the historical significance of this event, not even me :) i apologize for souring mr. suckling's patriotic blog with spilled milk, and i wish everyone a wonderful 2009!

on a side, i ordered a couple bottles of 1999 dominus and when they arrived, i noticed that the label on one of them is bubbling slightly. is that indicative of a fake bottle, or is that common?
Matt Scott
Honolulu HI —  January 21, 2009 11:57am ET
Chris: That can be common. Either it was exposed to high humidity (which will only hurt the label) or the label could be faulty. I have had that happen a few times. Make sure that the foil is the classic "Dominus" lettering on the top. It should be fine.
Andrew J Grotto
January 21, 2009 2:12pm ET
Alas, no Sea Smoke, Clos Apalta, or other such gems at the official inaugural balls last night...Woodbridge Cab and Chardonnay were the wines on offer. The bar menu did list "Champagne" as an option, but in what could be the first transatlantic diplomatic row to confront the new administration, the bubbly was Korbel...
Jim Nuffield
Toronto —  January 21, 2009 7:19pm ET
James, I appreciate your sentiment. It is in keeping with the vast majority of Americans. Your statement was NOT political, it was purely a statement of the historical signficance and appreciation of the moment. Thank you and well said!
Martin Stoevesandt
Germany —  January 22, 2009 10:20am ET
James, remarkable post, especially from a German view, where we for historical reasons are much to scared to ever openly admit that we are proud to be Germans. You could say we really earned that sentiment. Any way it is good to see that the US of A seems to come out of the paralysis the your former Government has caused. Hopes are high and yes I found it very remarkable to see my Constitutional Law Teacher, with whom I had many heated arguments 10 years ago, from the University of Chicago to become President of your Country.
Eric Swanson
Westlake —  January 22, 2009 10:34am ET

Love the blog, always enjoying reading it and hearing your take on "wine issues" of the day.

Quick off the topic question for you. I have the chance to acquire a bottle of Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse De Lalande 1982 from a colleague. In 1998, you said it should be drank now with a 95 rating. Your "competitor" Mr. Parker has the wine rated 100 but should have been drank by 2007. The bottle has been stored on its side, however it has not been kept in a temperature controlled environment, was stored in a room in his house.

Current auction prices are around $400. Is this wine worth seeking out? Should the price be ~$200 since it has not been kept in a cellar? What are your thoughts on the wine?

Thanks for your help, I look forward to your response.

Eric (Cleveland, Ohio)
James Suckling
 —  January 22, 2009 10:51am ET
Eric. I love that wine. But someone recently told me that it wasn't as rich as it used to be. I would be concerned to drop even $200 on a bottle that hasn't been kept properly. So, no. Don't waste your money.

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