My Blog: Bordeaux, Prices, and Grilled Chicken
June 27th, 2011
I organized a simple barbecue last night at my house with some friends that included the winemakers Luca Sanjust of Petrolo and Bibi Graetz of Testamatta. I was busy marinating some pressed chicken with lemon juice, olive oil, and mint. So I told them to go down and pick something from my small cellar underneath the kitchen. They came back with a bottle of 1996 Mouton-Rothschild and 1988 Montrose.
It’s amazing how wine lovers can find some of our best bottles in a cellar that is in total disarray! Anyway, what was I going to say? You can’t drink them? I told them to pull the corks and decant them.
I threw the chicken on the grill about 30 minutes later after a bottle of 2009 Terradora Greco di Tufo, and tossed the green salad with olive oil and lemon. We sat down a few minutes later and tried the wines.
The 1988 Montrose was very fresh still with a licorice and floral character that turned to sweet tobacco and plums. It was full and silky, with ripe and fine tannins. Wonderful to drink now. 93 points.
The 1996 Mouton-Rothschild was a step up in quality with currants, minerals and flowers on the nose and palate. It was full-bodied, with layered tannins and a fresh, clean finish. There was a beautiful precision to the wine. It was drinking beautifully. 95 points.
We were already half done with the bottles before the food was over, so I decided to go down to my cellar and find a bottle myself. I grabbed one of from the rack, and it was a 1997 Ornellaia, the famous red from Bolgheri. What a perfect comparison to the Mouton, I thought to myself. I decanted it and served it to my guests.
They unanimously preferred the Ornellaia to the Mouton. It had more fruit and complexity as well as freshness and richness. The nose was beautiful with extraordinary aromas of prunes, licorice, and dried flowers with rosemary undertones. It was full-bodied and velvety textured. It was so beautiful to drink now, but obviously had a long future ahead. 97 points.
I started thinking, what could be surmised from all this, other than last night we preferred a top Tuscan red to one of the best from Bordeaux? The Ornellaia costs about $250 a bottle in some wine shops in the United States, according to Wine-Searcher.com, while the Mouton is about $650.
Maybe it just shows that a lot of great wines are out there in the world. Bordeaux certainly no longer has a monopoly on great, age-worthy reds – particularly considering the prices of recent vintages, such as 2010.Comments