We are gifted the opportunity to try many, many wines in our business. Some from multiple vintages at a time, many are wines I would never try if it were not the job we do! Probably part of the reason we do what we do is for that opportunity! I admire Lafite Rothschild, but could not today afford to buy it, waiting 20 years to oooh and ahhhh over it. I also enjoy many wines which sell for much less than Lafite, the pleasure they give equally that of Lafite…What they all have in common is a simple truth.
Lafite should be Lafite, what makes it the blue chip that it is, is that it is true to form. Good Puligny-Montrachet only needs to be true to form, honest, to be great. The same can be said of many, many other wines. If a winemaker tries to influence the end result, the wine leans toward innocuous, and could be anything, but only Puligny-Montrachet can be Puligny-Montrachet. So many wines today, including most of the top scorers, could be lots of things, and I wonder if most of the audience that listens to these wines, including the critics that praise them, base their judgment on simple honesty, and not on weight, oak and power.
Some of the best wines, some of the wines that made me sit back and think (or think WOW!) will never score in the top 100, never beat 90 points, yet in total disregard to this merit, are as true and awe-inspiring as the 1982 Ch. Lafite Rothschild. The 2001 and 2005 vintages of the Ch. Chauveniere Muscadet Granit de Thebaud, which sells for a meager $15, is an austere, age worthy, simple white wine, perfect with soooo many seafood preparations, so true to what it SHOULD be, it is simply awe inspiring! Good white Burgundy, from the right producers, is the same…friendly with food, intensely flavorful, clean and focused…not much oak flavor here, but a laser of focused fruit, bracing acidity, and almost demanding food …So many of the world’s other offerings labeled ‘chardonnay’ are lost, trying to figure out how to win the elusive 90 points.
–Shayne Hebert, Wine Supervisor, Central Florida