Spit Happens #42 – Some Wines are Worth the Hype

In the world of wine writing and criticism it’s easy to succumb to the breathless hype and public relations that crosses my path on a daily basis. Chateau Cash-Flo received a 98 point score in publication Blah Blah! Our debut release of our Gamay got a 97 in the Daily Sediment Newsletter !!!!  Over and over I receive newsletters and tweets about the newest and greatest wines. At some point you become numb to it all. How can all these wines be so great and why should I buy them when they have no track record or reputation for excellence ? The answer is that I don’t. I wait for the opportunity to taste them at the winery or with friends in a much more critical manner.

My friends all know that dessert wines occupy a special place in my wine world. My very close friends know that I throw around nickles like they are manhole covers… It’s rare for me to spend the big money on a single bottle but sometimes I just gotta do it. A very meaningful milestone happened in my life in the past few weeks and this was the time to roll the dice on a big dog wine. A friend of mine has a fantastic collection of great wines and among that collection he has a pretty serious amount of the greatest dessert wine in the world, Chateau d’Yquem. He was willing to part with a 750ml bottle of the 2000 vintage after I explained what my plans were.

Chateau d’Yquem has a storied history going back a very long way. It was first planted in 1711. See link to Wikipedia here . You will be hard pressed ( pardon the pun ) to find a winery with such a long and storied history. The property is quite susceptible to Botrytis ( the type of fungus that causes the grapes to transpire and concentrate the sugars in a lower volume of liquid ) Typically the pickers will go through the vineyard 6 times and only pick the ripest grapes for this wine. A huge investment in time and labor results in a mind boggling extraction but with a delicacy that defies belief. This is my wine of the year and in the top 50 wines of my life . Super aromatic with notes of smoky lapsang souchong tea and a rich apricot and sweet caramel mid palate. We drank it over 4 days and every single sip was an emotional roller coaster. The history and commitment to quality was evident the entire time. Definitely a special experience but it will help you understand why wine is such a special product .

BC Liquor Stores has a selection of vintages .

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Remember Spit Happens, tell your friends, drink great wine and eat great food.

Cheers
David Lancelot