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Expensive wine 41: Francois Raquillet Mercurey La Brigadiere 2005

Francois RaquilletThe Big Guy was on the phone. “I’ve got a wine you need to try.” Given The Big Guy’s fondness for white Burgundy, the Wine Curmudgeon’s guilty pleasure, who was I to argue with him?

Though, when he brought the bottle over,  it didn’t look promising, The wine was a closeout, stuffed on a back shelf in one of Dallas’ local chain stores which would soon go out of business. It looked like it had seen better days – worn label, lots of dust – but The Big Guy and I are nothing if not brave.

I broke out the glasses, and poured. We sipped. We sipped some more. And then, at more or less the same time, we smiled that goofy wine drinker’s smile that means we had found something very nice.

The wine was a François Raquillet Mercurey La Brigadière 2005 ($30, purchased – thanks, Big Guy) and don’t worry if you’ve never heard of it. Neither did the three wine people I asked – the woman who knows more about wine than anyone I know, the master sommelier, and the guy studying to be a master sommelier.

Which made the Raquillet that much more fun. It’s a white wine from Mercurey, a part of Burgundy better known for its reds, and how it ended up on a store shelf in Dallas is a mystery. Our best guess, as we drank the bottle, is that someone ordered a case and never picked it up, so the wine sat on the shelf for five years until The Big Guy came along.

The Raquillet had classy green apple fruit, as well as a spicy, white pepper sort of thing going on. It was a bit richer than I expected (probably from oak aging), and had a long, subtle finish with some limestone. It was more sophisticated than Chablis, which it sort of resembled. But it was unique and a wonderful wine.

And a wonderful value, assuming you can find it. I know you can’t in Dallas, because The Big Guy went back and bought the four or five bottles that were left. In this, I’m breaking one of the blog’s rules, which is not to review wines people can’t buy. But I’m doing it because the wine’s story is as good as the wine.

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