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Category Archives: Wine my brother drinks

Wine my brother drinks 4: Peter Michael Les Pavots 1997

image from www.weimax.com My brother Jim is a wine aficionado of some repute, though he hangs out in much more rarefied wine circles than I do. His thoughts on the Peter Michael, a big-name Napa red wine that often shows up at state dinners. It's part of a feature that appears occasionally — Wine my brother drinks. Jim writes:

The late 90's: I was in my late 30s, starting to make money and beginning to grow up. Nicer restaurants, better cars and the dawning realization that there was more to life than Budweiser and the right field bleachers at Wrigley Field.

One night my business partners and I went out to eat at a hot new restaurant that a client of ours had a small stake in. We let the sommelier choose the wine and the rest is history. His selection was the 1997 Peter Michael Les Pavots. I can still remember the explosion of flavor of the first taste — arguably the first time that I had really ever noticed the nuance and complexity of wine and the resulting effect on one's palate. It was love, pure and simple and I was hooked.

More, after the jump:

Wine my brother drinks 3: Quintessa 1997

My brother Jim is a wine aficionado of some repute, though he hangs out in much more rarefied wine circles than I do. His thoughts on Quintessa, a big-deal Napa red wine not usually seen around these parts. It's part of a feature that appears occasionally — Wine my brother drinks. Jim writes:

In-laws arrived for a four-day visit so, of course, the order of the day was to start drinking.  Not that I don't like seeing them, but sharing your very personal space with anyone takes a bit of numbing.  Dinner was lasagna, so I reached into the back of the Eurocave for a 1997 Quintessa which was given to me by a good friend who I am pretty sure only drinks Quintessa. The old "Stick with what you know and like" theory of wine drinking.

More, after the jump:

Expensive wine 26: Chateau Lafon-Rochet 1995

What better way to describe this wine than with a quote from my pal Jim Serroka. Jim drinks wine, but is not as serious about it as the Wine Curmudgeon. As such, he often provides much needed perspective. Said Jim: "This is what I thought wine was supposed to taste like."

The Lafon-Rochet ($60, gift) is a big-deal Bordeaux wine, a fourth-growth from Saint-Estephe on Bordeaux's left bank. Fourth-growth means the winery was included in the 1855 rankings of French wine, which classified the wineries in five groups, one (the best) to five; it's still the way left-bank Bordeaux wine is rated by the French. Saint-Estephe, meanwhile, is one of the world's great wine regions, if not quite up to Margaux and Paulliac.

As such, Lafon-Rochet has always been considered a value for this kind of wine. It provides Bordeaux quality, especially for older vintages, without the ridiculous cash outlay that so much Bordeaux requires. That's one reason why my brother, who gave me the bottle, bought it.

The Lafon-Rochet has aged well, and this is a silky, velvety wine. It still has discreet black fruit and those wonderful Bordeaux aromas — mushrooms, forest floor and the like. The oak and fruit are tightly integrated, and the finish seems to go on forever. Don't expect to find New World-style tannins and acid. They're not there, partly from the aging, partly from the style of winemaking, and partly because this wine has more merlot than most left-bank Bordeaux, which focus on cabernet sauvignon. And yes, it would make a nice Father's Day gift for those thinking that far ahead.

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