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I read an interesting article last week, about the wine trends of 2019. I even posted about it in last week’s Life and Links. When I started being more serious about tasting wines, trying wines, and learning about wine, I thought I knew what I liked. I liked Cabernet Sauvignon, I didn’t really like white wine except for Sauvignon Blanc–no surprise there as the shared sauvignon nomenclature denotes relativity–and the more expensive the bubbly, the better. It turns out, my wine preferences are much more varied than I thought.
I am on Trend…for the Mid-1980s
It turns out I like everything. Yes, I like dry wines better than sweet wines, but I also really like Sauternes and Ports. Wines are more diverse than I expected, but also more complicated. To be honest, I’ve had very few truly terrible wines. I know what I like, and usually bring my own bottles to restaurants because of Chicago corkage fees. Have you ever really thought about why you didn’t like a wine? Was it because it actually tasted bad, or was it because you weren’t expecting it to taste as it did? I used to not like Pinot Noir. I thought it was too watery, and not bold enough. I thought there was something wrong with me, because unlike Paul Giammati, I didn’t get the whole to do.
Things got worse when I found out that I really like Merlot! The velvety mouthfeel, the full bodied nature–I am all about it. I also adore Lambrusco. This sparkling red beauty was at its peak for U.S. consumption in 1985. None of my favorite wines are exceptionally popular today. In fact, my favorite style of wine is a Bordeaux blend. In a WSET Level 1 class of 30 people, zero other classmates shared my affinity for this classic, Old World style. That’s because wines are more complex than just taste. Some people’s favorites are simply based on nostalgia and memory.
Rothschild Wines for the People
If you know a thing or two about wine, you’ll know there are a handful of wines that are regarded, and priced, as the best in the world. Petrus, Screaming Eagle, and Lafite are perhaps the top three wines in the world, according to auction houses and collectors. I’ve tasted Lafleur-Petrus, which is like the affordable version of Petrus–if your definition of affordable is $250-$800 a bottle. I haven’t had the opportunity to try the other two, but lucky for me, and you, the Chateaux Baron de Rothschild have a line for more accessible drinking. All the aging is done prior to the release so this is not meant to cellar, but instead for immediate consumption. If you do decide to keep it for a while, it will be good for another five years of aging.
BDC Légende Pauillac 2015
- 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot; 12.5% Alcohol
- Less Velvety Mouthfeel than BDC Légende Médoc
- Translucent Ruby Color
- Recommended Decanting Time: 1+ Hours
- On The Nose:
- Dried Violet
- Black Cherry
- On The Palate:
- a Bit of Smoke
- Raspberry After Two Hours Out of Bottle
- A Delightfully Long Finish
- MSRP: $49.99
BDC Légende Médoc 2016
- 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot; 13.5% Alcohol
- Soft, Velvety Mouthfeel
- Translucent Ruby Color
- Recommended Decanting Time: 1 Hour
- On the Nose:
- On the Palate:
- Black Currant
- Vanilla/Baking Spices
- Full Bodied and Enjoyable
- MSRP: $24.99
Does the Quality of the Wine Impact the Memory?
There is a pretty eclectic group of memorable wines that have stuck with me this year. For my wedding, we opened a 1978 Tattinger Brut we had been saving for a special occasion. It was pure vinegar. I currently can’t get enough of Boise Wine Country selections, wines that currently don’t have the same auspiciousness as many other American wine regions (but they should!) My point in examining these memorable bottles is to say that wine is more than a price point or what industry leaders say it is. The memories associated with the wine determines the importance of the the bottle, the bottle doesn’t determine the event. Are there any wines that hold a special place in your heart simply because of the memory associated with it?
It has been hard to get today’s wine drinkers to get on board with Bordeaux Blends. They are historically pricey, made with the oft-maligned Merlot, and less fruit-forward than their New World counterparts. As the temperature drops, you’re likely to drink a bit more. Why not try something new and try an Old World Bordeaux blend? If you live in Chicago and really want to get daring, consider buying a ticket for the UGC Bordeaux 2016 Release on Wednesday, January 23, 2019.
Many thanks to Domaine Baron de Rotshchild for providing these wines for review purposes. All opinions are my own.