Every bottle has a story

I am not a wine expert, but with each bottle I try and share with friends, I learn more. Wine is an exceptional social drink; it is the marijuana of alcoholic beverages because it must be shared. I seek to share with you my thoughts and experiences as I drink the wine in my closet, as well as my enthusiasm for the finds that come my way and the excellent values that I find. I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences too, so please share!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Clos du Mont Olivet 1989

Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a wine worthy of the cellar, a wine that you can lay down for years provided you have reasonable conditions. My cellar – er closet – does not provide the ideal cellar conditions necessary for holding a wine for decades, so even the ones I hold for a few years are still consumed quite young. My friend Curt’s cellar isn’t ideal also, but he manages a fairly constant temperature in the low 60s, which has allowed him to hold on to some really breathtaking wines.

On Christmas Day we enjoyed one of them with dinner.

The 1989 Clos du Mont Olivet was a beautiful bright ruby. The cork came out smoothly and had the luscious inky stamp of age. But here’s where this wine really became intriguing. The nose held barely a hint of fruit, but was filled with earthy scents of forest duff, truffles and rich soil. Supremely drinkable, velvety smooth and filled with earthy flavors that went exceptionally well with our two entreés, the first being a poached Scottish salmon with morel mushroom, the second a delectable duck confit served with roasted Brussels sprouts.

The tannin just about disappeared with the salmon, but when it came to the duck, the tannin returned firmly as well as a bit of pepper. And the finish on this wine was long and complex.

I had to look up what Wine Spectator had on this wine, and I was surprised at what I found. WS rated the wine in 1991 and scored it with an 85, rather a pedestrian score for a Châteauneuf-du-Pape. And incredibly, their review announced that it would best from 1992-94!

Parker was a bit more serious with his rating of 92. At the time of release, the wine retailed for $29. It is available still at some retailers for about $45 to $55, which seems like an outrageous bargain to me. But who knows what conditions it was stored in with these sellers.

Regardless, it was a wonderful experience. I rate it 9.5 out of 10 using my scale at the left.

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