Vintage: Believe the Hype -JvBUnCorked on Snooth

23 Apr

Glad to be invited to share my point of view with readers around the world on The entire article can be found here, my contribution is copied below. Make sure to check out both, as my co-contributors have some brilliant insights, suggestions, and perspectives. Cheers!-JvB

Vintage: Believe the Hype/Drink or Hold-

Bordeaux, 1971

The year was 1985. The location was a sunny outdoor table on the front patio of a small restaurant that rested upon the slope of a mountain in the French Alps. The special of the day was local wild boar, and our host ordered a bottle of 1975 Chateau Latour as his choice of wine.
The lack of response or understanding from his guests on the bottle’s arrival prompted him to give us a quick lesson on first growth/premier chateaux and the importance of vintages, which I will never forget. Our host asked us if we knew anything about this wine, and was greeted with silence. He spoke quietly to the waiter, who had just finished removing the cork from the ’75. They had a quick exchange in French that despite my best efforts I was unable to follow, but the waiter departed and returned with two additional vintages from the same chateau: the 1973 and 1971.
 Latour 75
Our host waxed on and on about the many great vintages he had enjoyed from Latour, specifically the ’59 and ’61 vintages, as the waiter opened the other two bottles and poured tiny tastes for our host. Upon his completion of tasting the three bottles, our host then indicated an out-of-order pour: we should all taste the ’73 first, then the ’75, and finally the ’71. While I don’t recall any specific tasting notes, I do recall my response. The first bottle was very good, the second bottle was great, and the third bottle was blissfully amazing. Our host explained that these vines and grapes were treated with the same identical loving care each year but that the annual vintage would vary in quality and flavor from year to year. In his native tongue, our host asked my opinion of the wines. In my high school French I replied, somewhat haltingly, that the first glass tasted “pretty”, the second was “pretty and decadent” and the third glass had “the same beauty as all the women from the Folies-Bergere” nightclub, which elicited a spit-take and guffaw from our host. While our host dried his eyes at my youthful response to the wine tasting, his lesson made an impression on me and was fully understood.
As opposed to the local “vin du table” wines we’d enjoyed previously on our trip, a first growth or premier chateau wine is something extraordinary and remarkable, but the growing year of each vintage made a huge difference – whether the vines had more rain, sun, frost or humidity – these factors, when summed together, exerted great influence on whether the wine was good, great, or extraordinary in a given year.
-Jim vanBergen,  @JvB UnCorked /



11 Responses to “Vintage: Believe the Hype -JvBUnCorked on Snooth”

  1. Cheap Wine Curious April 27, 2016 at 4:10 am #

    Hey Jim! Stalker here…I’m coming back to NYC….ok ok, no need to head upstate or triple lock your doors, but please give me 3 great places to enjoy wine – I’ll be with winos. I can’t wait. Cheers!


    • jimvanbergen April 27, 2016 at 9:16 am #

      Hi Loie! Okay, off the top of my head, I’ll try and give you some places based on various parts of the city, OK? Some of these I like because they have a wide selection of my favorite wines, but all of them have great selection, smart somme, and are bound to put a smile on your face!
      -Upper West Side/Across from Lincoln Center: Bar Boulud
      -Midtown: Aldo Sohm Wine Bar
      -Rockefeller Center: Morrel Wine Bar
      -Greenwich Village/UnionSquare: Corkbuzz Wine Bar (E 13th)
      -Soho: Ten Bells
      Tribeca: City Winery
      (ok, that was six… but it’s all about where you go in the city! If you are driving to NY, do you want to know some of the fun wine stores to check out? I have a list of my favorites, too!) Cheers- JvB

      Liked by 1 person

      • Cheap Wine Curious April 27, 2016 at 11:09 am #

        You’re the best! Throw in a couple of shops and we’re good 👍thx so much Jim.


    • jimvanbergen April 27, 2016 at 5:00 pm #

      A couple of wine stores in NYC… ok, knowing your blog has the word CHEAP in the title, some of the BIG stores where you can get great deals in the under $15 range: Union Square Wine, Astor Wine & Liquor, 67 Wine, Sherry-Lehmann. A few boutique stores that carry smaller quantities of great treasures include Chamber Street Wines, Xavier Wine Company, Flatiron, Le Dû, & Back Label Wine Merchants.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Cheap Wine Curious April 28, 2016 at 2:37 pm #

        What do you think about Wine Library? I have yet to visit…but noticed (ah-haaaa) that you did not mention it – worth the visit? Thanks for all the recommendations…I will hit up at least 2-3 and definitely try the bars/restaruants you recommended. Cheers Jim!


    • jimvanbergen April 28, 2016 at 3:34 pm #

      Wine Library- I just haven’t been, so I don’t have a personal recommendation for it. If you go, let me know! Hope my suggestions are helpful!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oz's Travels April 24, 2016 at 8:19 am #

    Agree, great post, sounds like a good lunch and a great way to learn about the good stuff.


  3. talkavino April 23, 2016 at 6:00 pm #

    Great post, Jim, and I like your tasting analogies… Cheers!


    • jimvanbergen April 24, 2016 at 12:49 am #

      Thanks so very much, Anatoli! Santé my friend!


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