God in His goodness sent the grapes, to cheer both great and small; little fools will drink too much, and great fools not at all.
In my opinion life without passion is a life without meaning. Whether your passion be cooking, collecting or studying; a passion is something I wish for everyone. It may be something that drives you to better yourself, or hopefully better others or those around you. One of my passions is wine. I enjoy everything about wine, making it, drinking it and talking about it with fellow wine lovers. If my life depended on me reading a fictional novel, I would be in serious trouble. Ask me to talk about wine with you, put aside a few hours and cancel your plans.
Wine is a romance, each bottle has its own unique story and can captivate you with each sip. It can be seductive and ethereal, life changing sometimes but hopefully always memorable.
“A bottle of wine begs to be shared, I have never met a miserly wine lover.”
Some of my most memorable bottles of wine have always had one thing in common, someone else to share it with. Most of these moments have been shared with my beautiful wife and are as random as sitting in camping chairs in our un-finished apartment drinking Australian Shiraz. For wine alone can be fantastic, but with people you love, it is truly magical.
It is out of my love and passion for all things wine, that I write this post. I eagerly anticipate my monthly issue of the Wine Spectator. Amongst the many magazines I receive each month, I enjoy the Wine Spectator just a little more than others. I admire the opinions of James Laube, James Molesworth and Matt Kramer, I enjoy their writing styles and have learnt a lot about wine over the years. As anyone who reads the Wine Spectator knows, they also provide a comprehensive list of wines and ratings, and more importantly the prices.
I was particularly interested to read the review on the latest offerings from Bordeaux. The 2009 vintage is regarded by many to be comparable with those of 2000 and 2005, and precedes the 2010 vintage which by all accounts is also stellar. The top scoring wines should be very familiar to lovers of wine; Petrus, Latour, Lafite Rothschild, Haute Brion, Margaux et al are all the top of the list. Admittedly I have had one bottle of 1999 Petrus and one bottle of 1976 Lafite Rothschild, that is the extent of my experience with these “great wines”. I would like to clarify the italics, I for one second do not doubt that the latest vintage of Petrus, having scored 99 points is not great and just shy of perfect, my only complaint is that I will have to read about, due to me not being able to afford the $4000 a bottle price tag. Yes folks, you heard me correctly, $4000 a bottle.
Kudos for them being able to command those prices, for prices are ultimately driven by demand and while consumers [albeit it the super rich] continue to buy these wines, there will not be any price regulation for the foreseeable future. My heart bleeds for as much as I am passionate about wines, I just cannot afford to taste the best the wine world has to offer, at least not from Bordeaux. It is shame that their great wines, with proven pedigree and history will only be enjoyed by a small fraction of the wine loving market.
Okay, so Petrus is the highest scoring and most expensive wine, but all the first growths come in at over $1000 per bottle retail. It is worth mentioning though that there are some bargains to be had, Chateau Lynch Bages [96 points and $150] and Chateau Leoville Las Cases [98 points and $345], although $345 a bottle is still a touch out of my price range. One wine I have had in the past that is basically being given away is the Chateau Phelan Segur [92 points and $40].
Bordeaux is no doubt the leader of the pack when it comes to consumer frenzy, history, pedigree and wine quality but since it is out of my price range, I tend to search for quality wines from elsewhere, at a fraction of the cost. Consider for a moment that the Saxum James Berry Paso Robles was rated 98 points and received the distinction of being named wine of the year by the Wine Spectator, and comes in at a very reasonable $67 a bottle. Kosta Browne Sonoma Pinot Noir 2009 has just received that same honor and was rated 95 points and costs $52 a bottle. If my math is correct, you pay $40.40 for every point Petrus earned while you only pay $1.80 for every point for the Kosta Browne. We are obviously comparing apples to oranges here but I struggle to believe that Petrus is 22 times the better wine.
So all things being equal and based on $1.80 a point, my 88 point scoring second label LVD Viognier should retail at $158.40 a bottle. when you put it in those terms, $19.95 is one heck of a bargain.
Let me be totally honest here for one second; I may never try the great Bordeaux wine of my time, I will read wonderful articles about how the wine is made, keep visiting their websites to learn more about the estates and the people behind the wine and keep hoping that one day I might taste and see why these are some of the most sought after wines in the world.
Just to throw it out there, my address is
1575 Keswick Winery Drive
Keswick Virginia 22947
United States of America
Attention: Winemaker Stephen Barnard
If any of the first growth chateaus, or any wine lover that has a first growth bottle to spare I will be most grateful. I promise you I will enjoy every drop and ensure I share it with someone special.