Gilbreth Chronicle: Some Truisms About Wine and the Second Glass Test | Chroniclers


The consumption of fine wines and spirits must be approached responsibly for two reasons: 1) Alcohol in general has caused a multitude of societal ills over the millennia, which must always be kept in mind; and (with this preface and on a much lighter note), 2) They can put a serious dent in the paperback.

When I was in college (we’re talking about a millennium ago – the 1970s), you didn’t hear too much about expensive wines and spirits. It’s probably because none of us students really had any money, which tends to be a failure.

We were of course familiar with Dom Perignon champagne, which had achieved mythical status and reputation and was memorably priced at $ 100 a bottle (approx). But I don’t remember drinking it. (Dom Perignon’s prices haven’t kept up with inflation. So a $ 100 bottle in 1978 would cost around $ 400 nowadays. Instead, a quick online search shows that it can easily be bought for. less than half.)

Not to be confused with a true connoisseur, in the years after college I discovered some truisms. Whether or not they are true is a matter of opinion, but the first would be that American white wines are almost uniformly competitive around the world and attractively priced. Of course, one could insist on having a good French Chardonnay, but it will be much more expensive and, like most wines, will likely fail the second glass test. (An extreme example is that MD 20/20 tastes like just about anything after a drink or two.)

There are those who will insist that their Sauvignon Blanc comes from New Zealand or that their moderately sweet wine is German Riesling, which only proves a second truism: the wine snobbery is alive and well. This is as it should be, within reason of course. These same aficionados are the ones who will use colorful descriptive terms to imbue the emotional depths of how they feel about a glass of wine, whether it’s conveying a feeling of “dread” or bestowing a bouquet. with notes of “grass,” “animal”, “cherries”, “tobacco”, “humus”, “undergrowth” or even “bottled sex.” (At one point, we obviously question the impressions palate in relation to side effects.)

When it comes to red wine, it is true that some of the most beautiful wine regions in the world can be found in France. People are tired of hearing this and it has become a stereotype, but there is a reason why it has become a stereotype. The great premiers crus or premiers crus of Bordeaux (five in number: Haut-Brion, Lafite Rothschild, Mouton Rothschild, Latour and Margaux) have a history of superior quality which has attracted the attention not only of connoisseurs. , but investors.

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As a result, the prices for each are well outside the realm of affordability for the average consumer, starting at around $ 1,000 (round number) per bottle and going well beyond that, depending on the year. (Interestingly, Bordeaux reds are blended wines, which means they are made up of more than one type of grape.)

Again, many American reds are excellent and affordable, and Australians are very proud of their shiraz (sort of their version of French syrah), the Spaniards of their Riojas (another blended wine, tempranillo being the dominant grape variety), South Africans their Pinotage (cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault), Argentines their Malbec, Italians their Barolo (made from the Nebbiolo grape) and so on, as it should be. All of them can be found at affordable prices, as can many exceptional French reds such as Côtes de Beaune or Côte de Nuits (both made mostly of Pinot Noir.)

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If the prices of French Premier Cru Bordeaux rouge seem outrageous, well, they are. It is a blended wine that varies considerably from year to year and yet the prices remain astronomical due to speculation. (Blend wines seem even more volatile in quality when it comes to Tuscan Chiantis. When ordering, you don’t know what to expect – or at least I certainly don’t.)

According to an article on Wikipedia, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti in France (generally abbreviated in DRC) produces two wines – in particular the Burgundy reds (pinot noir) – which are considered among the best. The article quotes a wine writer describing Romanée-Conti and La Tache as “masterpieces of balance” which “perfectly reflect the aroma and flavors of ripe fruit from old vines and the character of the wine. terroir ”.

Are you ready for this? The average price per bottle could set you back $ 21,326. All I can say is it would take a pretty big gut to avoid being poisoned by that prize – or at least a weirdly generous host.

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