Saturday, March 15, 2008

Pre-Auction Wine Tasting: Amazing

Once again I had the exciting opportunity to taste some amazing wines, wines that are not part of my usual buying range. Last September, I attended a pre-auction wine tasting at Skinner Gallery in Boston and it was sublime. This past Thursday, Skinner Gallery held another such tasting prior to their second wine auction. The tasting was held in collaboration with the good people of Lower Falls Wine Co., one of my favorite wine stores.

When you entered the tasting room, you could begin your evening with a fine glass of Louis Roederer Champagne. Then, over the course of the next ninety minutes, they allowed you to taste thirteen top-notch wines.

The list included:
Red Bordeaux
1989 Chateau La Conseillante
1986 Chateau Gruaud Larose
1983 Chateau Lafite-Rothschild
1988 Chateau Mouton Rothschild
1989 Chateau Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalanda
1989 Jaboulet Aine, Hermotage La Chappelle
1990 Dom. du Regau, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Cuvee Reservee
1990 Beringer Private Reserve
1992 Dominus
1992 La Jota, 11th Anniversary Release
1986 Chateau Montelena
1987 Chateau Montelena
1985 Warre

As I have said before, I have little familiarity with such high-end wines. They are generally too expensive except for maybe a very special occasion. So I know that I am not the best judge of such wines. I probably do not appreciate them as much as someone who has far more familiarity with such wines. But, I know what I like, what wines I enjoy.

One thing that seemed different at this tasting over their last pre-auction tasting was that this time I detected more of a musty odor from a number of the wines. That did not carry over into the taste though, and maybe the wines just needed to breathe for a time.

My favorites of the tasting included the 1989 Chateau La Conseillante, 1992 Dominus, the 1989 Jaboulet Aine, Hermitage La Chappelle and the 1985 Warre. I really did not dislike any of the wines. Each wine has its own unique character and generally offered plenty of complexity. I certainly did not spit any of this wine. You only received maybe two mouthfuls of each wine anyways so there was little need to spit. Plus, there was a table of cheese and breads to nibble on between tastes of wine, to help cleanse your palate.

For me, this type of tasting is important as if I am going to purchase any of these high-end wines, it will be to drink them, and not as an investment. So, I want to know what they taste like, to see whether they are worth the money to me. If I only wanted them for an investment, the taste would largely be irrelevant. I would care only for points and popularity, how much other people wanted the wines. Not me. I still just enjoy drinking wine. And if I buy a bottle of wine, I am looking to when I will drink it.

Kudos go out once again to Lower Falls Wine Co. for arranging a exceptional wine tasting. If you have never been to their store, then go. Sign up for their email newsletter as well so that you learn about their upcoming events. There should be another wine auction in the fall so you will want to know about it.

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