Let’s begin with some fancy photos and go from there.
These three bottles were drank and loved, and loved again, and fondly thought of now, and will be thought of for time and time to come by a small group of terrific people.
The two 1982’s were enjoyed over one of the best dinners of my life at Gary Danko with Amanda, my fiancee (at the time), and Liz, her mother (now my mother-in-law!). Liz was saving these wines for a very special occasion and my marrying her daughter, fit the bill.
The 1982 Veuve Clicquot tasted of toasted hazelnuts and rich caramel and the bubbles were tiny, elegant, and continued to effervesce throughout all two hours of dinner. The 1982 Mouton Rothschild (artwork by John Huston) took a little while to open, and when it did, wow: “Old leather couch!” shouted Amanda, prompting me to wonder when she had tasted such a thing! and “Dark rich cherries so dark you can’t even see them in the whitest light,” I chimed in, gleeful. On my Connoisseur Rating System from -350 to Infinity, these wines easily earn: Infinity.
The 1982 vintage was one of the all-time best for Bordeaux (incidentally, a prediction by Robert M. Parker Jr., which leant immediate credibility to his Wine Advocate).
1978 Lafite-Rothschild. This Franzia (6.6 Bottles), was opened two days before the wedding at a golf club called Mayacama in Healdsburg, CA. Amanda’s father bought the bottle in 1990, saving it for her wedding day. When the head sommelier of Mayacama was opening the wine, I noticed he had a white napkin catching any dripping Premier Cru as they poured it into glasses. I joked that I wanted them to squeeze that napkin into my mouth when they finished, but this was no joking matter, and I was encouraged to return to my seat. I drank three glasses of the fine and feathered nectar, which tasted extraordinarily smooth and changed over the course of a couple hours before sadly flat-lining. Amanda’s dad felt it was fairly over the hill. My CRS Rating, based largely on the occasion moves this wine close to infinity, but just short a by a few digits: 99,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,998,999,999, 999,999,999,888,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,997.
Then, there was our wedding.
Above is the picturesque site whereupon Amanda and I exchanged vows. The setting was unforgettable in every way—with beautiful weather, the best people in the world, a ceremony simple and elegant, and and extraordinary dinner with glasses toasting non-stop, full of either Cakebread 2008 Sauvignon Blanc or Duckhorn 2005 Merlot.
We spent the next week in Napa, visiting vineyards in the afternoon, and dining at many splendid restaurants in the evenings. The day after the wedding, post-brunch, when guests had all but gone back to their respective homes, I noticed a lot of sediment in the empty bottle of the 1978 Lafite-Rothschild. There was enough grape-matter to fill a rocks glass, and you can bet I thought of drinking it. Instead, I found an empty spot of dirt outside and carefully poured the mythical premier cru remnants into it, with fingers crossed that next year when I revisit the spot, my very own premier cru vines will have sprung forth and before long, I too will be bottling my own Lafite-Rothschild noble decadence. First vintage expected: 2012.
Update 2014: no vines yet, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed.