The Hilarity Which a Glass of Good Claret Seldom Fails to Produce: Château de Reignac Bordeaux Superieur 2005   Leave a comment

"I wasn't always this sober."


A buddy of mine came across a video which has a blind tasting of the best that Bordeaux had to offer coming out of the 2001 vintage.  Although the video could benefit from a little more editing, it is worth watching to the end.

With that as inspiration and not having such deep pockets to afford the ridiculously priced better known clarets, we decided to try this little wine.

 Château de Reignac Bordeaux Superieur 2005.  Jump forward to the terrific 2005 vintage and here we have a typical blend of 75% merlot and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Straight out of the bottle, the room filled with the perfume rising from this darkly purple elixir.  When that happens, that’s very exciting.  This little baby offered hints of smoke and pepper on the nose.  On the palate those notes were carried forward in a savoriness that was irresistible.  Initially grippy tannins loosened up as the bottle relaxed.  The finish was very long.  You want to see what terroir is about?  Buy this.  At $30 a bottle it does not come cheap, but with the price of high-end bordeaux busting through the stratosphere, just think of how many bottles of this you could buy instead of a single bottle of Petrus.  The wine benefits from input from superstar wine consultant Michel Rolland.  According to the back label, the grape clusters were hand harvested and sorted twice to remove any undesirable fruit.  That kind of care, simple yet expensive, has yielded a fine wine.  Parker and Suckling each gave this 90 points.  I think they are being niggardly with those ratings.  Rated ***

Drinking this wine with my buddy and two other Fellow Sybarites, and laughing, chuckling and filled with mirth, I was reminded of a passage from a letter written by George Washington to a French fellow in arms, the Marquis de Chastellux who was a major-general of the French Army who spent three years as the personal interpreter for Washington.  Shortly after the battle of Yorktown in 1781, and knowing that Washington was loath to accept any gifts of any kind, Chastellux marshalled all of his powers of persuasion to get Washington to accept a gift of a “barril” of claret:

“Dear General – Your excellency knows very well that it is an old precept to offer tithes of all earthly goods to the ministers of God.  I think in my opinion that the true ministers of God are those who at the risk of their life employ their virtues and abilities to promote the happiness of mankind, which consists for the greatest part of freedom and liberty.  Accordingly, I believe I am bound in duty to present your excellency with one of ten barrils of claret that I have just been received.  

If you was, dear general, unkind enough not to accept of it, I should be apt to think that you want to prevent the blessing of heaven to fall upon me, or…that you are an enemy to French produce and have a little of the tory in your composition.  

Whatsoever be the high opinion that I entertain of your excellency, I wish to judge by that criterion and to guess by it your dispositions for the French troops and myself.”

Which brings us to Washington’s response:

“You have taken a most effectual method of obliging me to accept your Cask of Claret, as I find by your ingenious manner of stating the case that I shall, by a refusal, bring my patriotism into question, and incur a suspicion of want of attachment to the French Nation, and of regard to you.  

In short, my dear sir, my only scruple arises from a fear of depriving you of an Article that you cannot conveniently replace in this Country.  You can only relieve me by promising to partake very often of that hilarity which a Glass of good Claret seldom fails to produce.”

Extracted from John Hailman’s book, Thomas Jefferson On Wine. 

Translation: “You’ve got 9 barrils left over– drink up!– you know I’ll be doing the same.” 

Hilarity?– G. Wash?  Apparently, a glass (and indeed many glasses) of claret reduced the father of our country into a chortling chucklehead.  Just like the Sybarites of today.  Makes me proud to be an American!

Posted August 10, 2011 by Sybarite Sauvage in Food-Wine-Love

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