Tuesday, April 7, 2009

What Does The Wine Country Do With Their First $1,000.000 Bottle Of Wine?

It would be so Rock Star to say we drank it or sprinkled all over ourselves like fairy dust but alas that is not how we roll. So, just what did we do with the 2005 Comte Lafon Montrachet at $1,007.00 a bottle....we made one phone call and the voice on the other end said, "I'll take it" it never even came out of the backroom.

Montrachet, (a tiny vineyard in Burgundy's Cote de Beaune) is without a doubt the world's most famous and coveted white wine. The prices are insane, the quantities are minuscule and its devotees fierce in their battle to get as many as they can, bribes have even been offered! We always offer the one bottle we get a year to a person that is passionate about the wine, not to someone looking to re-sell it...that is how we roll.

Five years ago I was standing in the cellar of Comte Lafon, it was my first trip to France and knew absolutely nothing about Burgundy. I'm not saying I didn't get it, I'm saying literally I knew nothing. I had maybe had some Chablis and tasted a Meursault or two but that was the extent of my knowledge and here I was standing in the cellar of, (not that I knew this) of one of the best winemakers in all of Burgundy.

I could feel the energy of the others in my tiny group, they were quiet, studious and almost vibrating with excitement, with each wine their pens scribbling wildly in their notebooks, the notes were long, detailed and the conversation almost non-existent...these people were focused. I figured I better pay really close attention, so I flipped open my note pad and tried to look like I had any clue what the hell I was doing.

After the first wine, (a Meursault) even my virgin Burgundy palate could tell that we had entered the very serious wine category, I had never tasted white wine with such richness, texture, depth or length..."Holy crap" escaped my lips, I felt my face get hot as I stood there in the very cold cellar hoping no one heard me. With each wine my notes got longer, more detailed and I too went mute. In a matter of minutes I was not only getting Burgundy, it was wiggling its way into my heart.

Dominique Lafon popped the final cork approached me and poured an almost honey colored liquid in my glass, it seemed to move slower than the other wines he had poured. I spun the liquid in the glass and the wine took its sweet time to roll around the bowl, I raised an eyebrow and spun it again. The wine again slowly spun around the glass and splashed down upon itself with an oily viscosity unlike anything I had ever seen in a dry white wine. One sip and I felt like my heart was going to pound right out of my chest...floral, ripe pears, minerals but it was the texture, the length and sheer power of this sluggish elixir that knocked me on my ass...."Oh my god, what is this?" I asked looking at the importer like I had just been transported to another planet. "That would be Montrachet Sam" he chuckled.

That was my first and only taste of Montrachet and I can still almost taste it...nothing like it anywhere in the world. When I returned home I found out that the wine that almost caused my heart attack was over $800.00....wholesale! I had no idea but it made sense.

Dominique Lafon is a master with Chardonnay, one of the best plain and simple. His wines are gobbled up the minute they are released and they do fetch rather high prices but when you are getting the very best, you are going to have to pay for it. That being said you can get a bottle of his Mearsault for $100-$115, sounds strange to say it but that is a HUGE bargain! He also bought some land in in Macon, (not in the Cote d'Or) where he is working his magic and again is the best in the region. Get this, these wines sell for under $40.00!!! The best in the region, one of the best Chardonnay producers, not just in France but in the world and you can drink his wines for under $40.00.

Now I will not say that the wines from the Hertitiers du Comte Lafon, (the estate in the Maconnais) are the same as the Comte Lafon wines, that would be an outright lie. Different regions, soils, weather but the Hertitiers wines are very pure, rich, ripe and ready to drink now....not neccessarily the same can be said of the Comte Lafon Meursault.

Lafon wines available at The Wine Country:
2004 Comte Lafon Meursault $96.99
2005 Comte Lafon Meursault $107.99
2006 Hertitiers du Comte Lafon Macon Bussieres Le Monsard $38.99
2006 Hertitiers du Comte Lafon Macon Milly-Larmartine $29.99
2006 Hertitiers du Comte Lafon Macon Uchizy Les Maranches $37.99
2006 Heritiers du Comte Lafon Macon Milly Larmartine Clos du Four $38.99
2006 Heritiers du Comte Lafon Macon Village $26.99
2006 Heritiers du Comte Lafon Macon-Chardonnay Clos de la Crochette $37.99

Although Dominique Lafon is known for his masterful hand with Chardonnay he also makes some damn fine Pinot Noir! He has even been a consultant to Pinot producers here in the United States. His reds, (from the village of Volnay in the Cote de Beaune) are pure, focused and quite delicate with enough stuffing to tuck away in the cellar for the long hall.

Comte Lafon reds available at The Wine Country:
2004 Comte Lafon Monthelie-Duresses 1er Cru $49.99
2004 Comte Lafon Volnay $68.99
2004 Comte Lafon Volnay-Santenots-du-Milleu 1er Cru $96.99
2005 Comte Lafon Volnay $84.99

It's not everyone that can say, "I'll take it" to a $1,000.00 bottle of wine but there are wines from some of the great estates that we can all afford!

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