Category:Wine my brother drinks

Wine my brother drinks 4: Peter Michael Les Pavots 1997

image from www.weimax.com My brother Jim is a wine aficionado of some repute, though he hangs out in much more rarefied wine circles than I do. His thoughts on the Peter Michael, a big-name Napa red wine that often shows up at state dinners. It's part of a feature that appears occasionally — Wine my brother drinks. Jim writes:

The late 90's: I was in my late 30s, starting to make money and beginning to grow up. Nicer restaurants, better cars and the dawning realization that there was more to life than Budweiser and the right field bleachers at Wrigley Field.

One night my business partners and I went out to eat at a hot new restaurant that a client of ours had a small stake in. We let the sommelier choose the wine and the rest is history. His selection was the 1997 Peter Michael Les Pavots. I can still remember the explosion of flavor of the first taste — arguably the first time that I had really ever noticed the nuance and complexity of wine and the resulting effect on one's palate. It was love, pure and simple and I was hooked.

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Wine my brother drinks 3: Quintessa 1997

My brother Jim is a wine aficionado of some repute, though he hangs out in much more rarefied wine circles than I do. His thoughts on Quintessa, a big-deal Napa red wine not usually seen around these parts. It's part of a feature that appears occasionally — Wine my brother drinks. Jim writes:

In-laws arrived for a four-day visit so, of course, the order of the day was to start drinking.  Not that I don't like seeing them, but sharing your very personal space with anyone takes a bit of numbing.  Dinner was lasagna, so I reached into the back of the Eurocave for a 1997 Quintessa which was given to me by a good friend who I am pretty sure only drinks Quintessa. The old "Stick with what you know and like" theory of wine drinking.

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Expensive wine 26: Chateau Lafon-Rochet 1995

What better way to describe this wine than with a quote from my pal Jim Serroka. Jim drinks wine, but is not as serious about it as the Wine Curmudgeon. As such, he often provides much needed perspective. Said Jim: "This is what I thought wine was supposed to taste like."

The Lafon-Rochet ($60, gift) is a big-deal Bordeaux wine, a fourth-growth from Saint-Estephe on Bordeaux's left bank. Fourth-growth means the winery was included in the 1855 rankings of French wine, which classified the wineries in five groups, one (the best) to five; it's still the way left-bank Bordeaux wine is rated by the French. Saint-Estephe, meanwhile, is one of the world's great wine regions, if not quite up to Margaux and Paulliac.

As such, Lafon-Rochet has always been considered a value for this kind of wine. It provides Bordeaux quality, especially for older vintages, without the ridiculous cash outlay that so much Bordeaux requires. That's one reason why my brother, who gave me the bottle, bought it.

The Lafon-Rochet has aged well, and this is a silky, velvety wine. It still has discreet black fruit and those wonderful Bordeaux aromas — mushrooms, forest floor and the like. The oak and fruit are tightly integrated, and the finish seems to go on forever. Don't expect to find New World-style tannins and acid. They're not there, partly from the aging, partly from the style of winemaking, and partly because this wine has more merlot than most left-bank Bordeaux, which focus on cabernet sauvignon. And yes, it would make a nice Father's Day gift for those thinking that far ahead.

Wine my brother drinks 2: E. Guigal La Turque

image from www.vinfolio.com My brother Jim is a wine aficionado of some repute, though he hangs out in much more rarefied wine circles than I do. His thoughts on E. Guigal's 1994 and 1996 La Turque, two Cote-Roties from a venerable producer. It's part of a feature that appears occasionally — Wine my brother drinks. Jim writes:

"I probably paid a bit too much for these single bottles in the late 90's, $150 a piece, but my logic at the time was that Guigal is a quality house, these were one of their premier offerings, and I'm a big Rhone fan. Which is exactly counter intuitive as to why I like Rhones in the first place, which is value. So I was behind the eight ball from the get-go. And so, like most of us, I decided that I would wait for a "special occasion" to bust these out. The problem with that is that there are always other "special occasion" bottles in the cellar, so the tendency is to let the bottles sit. Bad move."

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Anyone can write a wine review 3

My brother Jim, as noted, is a wine aficionado of some repute, though he hangs out in much more rarefied wine circles than I do. So, when Jim emailed that he was opening a bottle of vintage Cristal for New Year's Eve, I asked him to send his impressions about the wine and I would post them. (Yes, I know I banned Roederer wines from the blog, but I can make an exception for my brother.)

His thoughts on the 1990 Cristal (and a new feature that will appear occasionally — Wine my brother drinks):

"Out of the bottle it looked normal — noticeably different pressure release, an errant cork may get to the ceiling, maybe, but the bubbles rose in the glass when poured. First sniff was almost sour, not unpleasant but not expected. Didn't know what to expect, really.

"First sip I tasted on the roof of my mouth and in my sinus — big, slightly sour but fruity. The majority of the folks who had an opinion deemed it sour apples, and I agree. Really smooth, and if I knew what a 'velvety mouth feel' was I might employ it here. Plenty of carbonation to keep the party in the glass going, all in all a big hit. I don't know that letting it sit for 20 years made it any better, certainly different, but it was a treat to try something that was really well made and not something you see everyday."