Tom's blog

Drinking a priority wine


If you had a day to drink up your wine cellar, what wine would you start with? It was more than a fun, cerebral exercise for me.  With Hurricane Irma bearing down on Florida, I was faced with what to do with my 500-plus bottle cellar. Both the lack of AC and the threat of wind damage presented a dilemma: stay or flee.

In the end, I have decided to stay with my cellar -- we'll go down or survive, but happily together. But just the thought of losing my cellar got me to prioritize my drinking order. I even assembled three cases to tote in the car: some Gruard-Larose, Troplong-Mondot, Sociando-Mallet and odd bottles of Mouton-Rothschild and Grange.

My best bottle was a 1986 Mouton-Rothschild that my wife gave to me on Valentine's Day in 1988. It cost her $80 then; it's worth nearly $900 today. What better time to open it? It was sublime - everything I imagined it would be. I don't think I've ever tasted a better wine: intense floral nose with hints of lead pencil and cedar; smooth dark fruit, cassis flavors with fine and almost untraceable tannins.

Drinking such wine sets a lofty benchmark for Bordeaux for me. Dense, so balanced, so long in the finish, so perfect. It was superbly delicious and I'm glad I opened it.