I had dinner at my father’s the other night in San Diego. He is a keen Bordeaux lover but doesn’t buy much of the stuff because he is semi-retired and thinks it’s too expensive. He still remembers drinking Lafite and Mouton for $10 or $15 a bottle back in the 1970s, so he doesn’t like to drop hundreds of dollars on a bottle of fine wine.
There must be a lot of people out there like my dad. They must be slightly pissed off at the whole thing, with Bordeaux prices so high.
My dad is the one who turned me on to great wine when I was in university. I remember coming to our house in Bel Air and drinking some great bottles. It was a relief from the beer at university. He always shared great bottles of BV Private Reserve from the 1970s and clarets from the 1960s. So I always feel indebted to him for that—among many other things!
Anyway, I brought him a bottle of 2000 Fontenil to drink for dinner with our barbecued steaks. I had picked it up at Jensen’s in Palm Desert for $35 when I was in town visiting my mother. I wanted to make a point with him that outstanding Bordeaux doesn’t have to cost “an arm and a leg,” as he might put it.
We uncorked the bottle a few minutes after I arrived at his house. The steaks were thrown on the grill. And boy did my father have a smile on his face. ‘This is really excellent,” he said, taking a deep nose of the wine and then tasting it.
It was just how I remembered it: aromatic, with lots of blackberries and vanilla and a full, silky and fruity palate. The tannins were caressing. It could have used another year or two of bottle age. But I thought it was delicious. And it was perfect with the filets we had for dinner.
If you don’t know Fontenil, it is a small estate in the Bordeaux region of Fronsac, where global wine consultant Michel Rolland lives. The wine is always very good to outstanding in quality. Rolland obviously knows how to make wine considering he makes the stuff in dozens of wineries around the world including Bordeaux’s Ausone and California’s Harlan. Fontenil is probably his best value for the money going!
My dad was certainly happy. And he saved the empty bottle too.