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$300 of wine after 108 years of waiting

$300 of wineTwo $150 bottles of wine to celebrate the Cubs’ World Series victory

A $150 bottle of white Burgundy and a $150 bottle of red Burgundy – what better way to celebrate the Chicago Cubs’ first World Series championship in 108 years than with $300 worth of wine?

The Big Guy brought the white, a 2014 Sauzet Puligny-Montrachet Champ-Canet Premier Cru, and I bought the red, a 2012 Chateau de Meursault Clos des Epenots Premier Cru. Neither were in my original Cubs wine post, but those wines — and which were $20 to $50 cheaper — were sold out.

Needless to say, we had never paid that much for a bottle of wine, which was the point. “It’s OK if you’re going to do this once every century,” said The Big Guy, and who was I to argue?

My other goal? Make sure the food was up to the wine, and it’s not being immodest to say that it was (or so the others at the dinner, including Lynne Kleinpeter and Kathy Turner, told me):

• A goat cheese and salmon timbale with the Sauzet, a chardonnay. The wine was young and fresh enough to handle the richness of the goat cheese, and it complemented the food exactly as I had hoped.

Chicken breasts stuffed with mushrooms duxelles with the Epenots, a pinot noir. This was one of those pairings that shows why pairings matter – the wine made the food taste better and the food made the wine taste better. The Epenots, though still young, had some of that Burgundian mushroom and forest floor, and the bright red fruit did the chicken proud.

• An apple tart with a Fonseca 10-year-old tawny port ($32, purchased, 20%), a bonus because I like port. This is a more traditional style port – less fruit and more nuttiness, and not hot at all.

So were the Burgundies worth $150 a bottle? As delicious as they were, probably not. For one thing, both were still too young, and will need at least a decade before they’re going to taste the way they should taste. The Sauzet, in particular, was angular and disjointed (or at least as much as a classic white Burgundy can be), and only time will smooth out those rough edges.

That they weren’t worth what they cost isn’t so much a criticism of the wines, but of the wine business and how foolish high-end wine prices have become. The Big Guy remembers paying $50 in a restaurant for the Sauzet in the 1990s; that means the retail price has increased 10-fold in the past two decades. In other words, paying $20 for a cup of Starbucks coffee today. The best value of the evening was the port, given how much crappy port costs $20 and $30, and I’ll buy another bottle when this one is gone.

Hopefully, when Cubs manager Joe Maddon – a wine guy of no small repute – celebrates the World Series, he’ll have as much fun as we did on Saturday night.

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5 thoughts on “$300 of wine after 108 years of waiting

  • By George Christo - Reply

    At least it worked out. Maddon was “this close” to being in the same sentence with Grady Little for that Game 6 decision to use Chapman. Not that a Red Sox fan like me would know anything about such foolishness. Congrats!

    Cleveland? You’re on the clock. Cheers!

    • By Wine Curmudgeon - Reply

      Thanks, George. They won; the other is just something that happened that didn’t matter.

  • By Titus - Reply

    both were still too young, and will need at least a decade before they’re going to taste the way they should taste.

    Yet I don’t recall ever seeing pre-cellared wine at the store. Why is that, given that it’s comparatively difficult to store wine that needs it at home?

    • By Wine Curmudgeon - Reply

      Cost of inventory and the space to store it. Most small retailers can’t afford the former and don’t have the latter.

  • By Peter Gatti - Reply

    Also, in some places, there’s a yearly inventory tax (Texas!) which adds 3% yearly to the cost of unsold stored wine at retail. Wholesale really gets hosed at 1.5% per MONTH, or 18% a year…huge financial disincentive as desirable older vintages can be more expensive to begin with and need better long-term storage besides.

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