Recommendation for Greatness

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Noah C
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Recommendation for Greatness

#1 Post by Noah C »

Hi everyone, I've never spent more than around $200 for a bottle (and that only a few times). I've managed to have some wonderful wines and I have enjoyed immensely. But as is always the case, I've become curious about the next level up. A friend of mine and I are talking about splitting the cost of a bottle $500 or less. I was curious about what you would recommend.

We are looking for a bottle that is ready to drink now (no aging required to be at peak), has good reliability (White Burgundy is out, very old bottles that might be oxidized are out), and would prefer a wine with that indefinable "wow" factor (whatever this means). We both prefer wines on the more refined side (so Napa and Washington are mostly out). Things I've been considering; First Growth Bordeaux in an "off" vintage, Super Second in a good vintage, Soldera (can just barely afford a new bottling), Chave Hermitage, Bartolo Mascarello, Clos Ste Hune. As crazy as it sounds, $500 does not seem to be enough to get a top Burgundy. Would love any recs! Thanks! Noah
Looking for wine friends in New Haven, CT! Message me if interested in sharing some drinks. Noah C @ p u r 5 0

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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#2 Post by Chris Seiber »

By the way, great idea splitting a trophy bottle with one or more friends. Frankly, you'll get as much enjoyment from half a $500 bottle as drinking the full bottle yourself, probably more because you'll be sharing it with your friend, at half the cost. People should do that more often.

To me, Haut Brion would be the wine. Especially if you prefer wines "on the refined side," which I'm not sure what it means, but what could it mean if not Haut Brion, the silkiest, prettiest, most elegant Bordeaux of them all, plus a producer that makes a very good wine almost every vintage and tend to have a wider drinking window than other First Growths.

You can get good examples of Haut Brion for under $500. Flickinger has the 2004 for $395 (CT 93.0), Estate Wine Brokers and San Francisco Wine Consulting both offer the 2001 for $439 (CT 93.4), Joe's Canal has the 2006 for $454 (CT 94.4), Naples Fine Wine has the 1996 for $460 (CT 93.9).

I've had the 2001 and the 1996 in the last year or two, and both show beautifully. The 1996 more mature and complex, the 2001 with a little more power.

But there are countless good options for a single bottle. It depends on what interests you the most. I'm just saying where I'd spend my money.

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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#3 Post by Chris C a r y »

I’d go d’Yquem. Undoubtedly the best in its category and can shared easily at end of a great dinner with other wines leading up to it as the finale. I have no knowledge of vintages but a quick search finds plenty in the range.

Lots of selections here. https://www.sokolin.com/catalogsearch/result

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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#4 Post by Greg K »

To me, it depends on what wines you generally consider your favorite wines. In your range there a lot of great options - Mugnier Fuees, Allemand Reynard, an “off vintage” La Mission (the 83 is great), Raveneau MdT, a 96 Krug, etc.
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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#5 Post by Kent Comley »

I am sure that you will receive hundreds of recommendations for wines that have represented greatness to those who recommend them, but they may well be not to your taste.

How many times have you gone to a 'great' restaurant expecting an epiphany only to find that the experience didn't live up to the hype?

I think that greatness in wine can have many forms. From the briny Chablis paired with freshly shucked oysters to the perfectly aged red caught at its peak. Sometimes the biggest surprises can be the most fulfilling.

There are a just a few wines that I have tried that I reckon most people would agree with me that are great- 96 Salon, 92 Coche Corton, 99 La Tache, but they are now in serious nose bleed category.

But to answer your initial question a couple of wines spring to mind, based on your criteria, I have some confidence that these two will deliver great pleasure. Whether they represent greatness, I am not sure. - 1978 La Mission Haut Brion and 2001 Cavallotto Vigna San Giusseppa,
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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#6 Post by Mike Evans »

I’d second the recommendation of Haut Brion and of the 2001 and 1996, but would also consider the 1994. Haut Brion tends to excel in less-renowned vintages and there is almost nothing else like it. I’d also consider a 1995 - 1998 Chave Hermitage.

I wouldn’t choose Yquem because I don’t think you would learn as much from it as from a great dry red. If I’m picking a dessert wine, I’m going for a 1989 Huet Cuvée Constance (and praying it isn’t corked), one of the 1959 Huet Premiere Tries, or a great Mosel TBA, which for my palate are better wines than Yquem.

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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#7 Post by Martin Petersen »

Soldera in any vintage - can’t go wrong

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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#8 Post by Chuck Miller »

Noah, it’s a great idea. About 30 years ago I did something similar. At the time I was buying lots of current release Napa cabs to cellar, but had never had an aged example. Got my favorite wine shop owner to sell me a 1974 Heitz Martha’s for $250. Let’s just say that it did not dissuade me from continuing to buy and cellar wine.

I would lean toward a Chave Hermitage, as Chave makes great wines even in off vintages, so you can afford to buy an older bottle of it in your price range. Maybe 1995, 1997 or 2000.

By the way, a friendly reminder you need to have your full real name in every post. Most people add it to their signature.
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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#9 Post by Tom Reddick »

Good suggestions so far. Taking into account the areas you wish to skip (and good rationale there), and the fact a really wow factor mature Bordeaux (like 1989 La Mission or 1990 Lafite) is well above your $500 target- the three things that came to my mind were Rayas, Soldera and Yquem. I would suggest you give Clos St. Hune a miss. It is a wow wine- but it does not show well young and the 96-01 eras are very prone to premox (and I have heard of premox reports as recently as the 2008 from trusted tasters.) Plus you have to have a good tolerance for petrol. You can find the 1983 or 1989 VT for $500ish at times at auction- but the wine has been heavily traded relative to its rarity for a long time, so I would only go there if you can be REALLY sure the bottle was single owner and very well stored.

For Rayas- drop that one because in the year or so since I last had the 2003 which is a true wow wine, the price has ballooned. And that was the cheapest of the wow years at maturity when I last had it. Recent releases get mixed receptions and $500 would take some digging and luck.

For Yquem- I recently had the 2015 and it is magnificent. I prefer it to the 2001. It is not as big as the 2001 but it is more finessed and elegant, plus it is showing a lot of its savory delights right now. I have 2009 queued up to taste- but have not tried it yet. TNs from critics and friends I trust suggest it could be even better than the 2015. Right now you can still find the 2015 for just under $400 at many Total Wine Stores. The 2009 is in the $700+ range now for the most part, but you could get a half bottle.

For Soldera- the 2008 vintage is drinking beautifully right now and an excellent choice. Soldera does not- in my opinion- every really fully shut down, but it can be a bit dry and austere a few years after release and until it fully blossoms. The 2008 is not doing that- while it will certainly develop further with time, it is very approachable and quite a good vintage. When Soldera changed US distribution a couple of years back, a good bit of 2008, 2009 and 2012 got dumped at retail. 09 and 12 are largely gone from that selloff (there was a vandalism incident affecting 2008-2012 final production, with 2010 the hardest hit and 2009 and 2012 next hardest), but WS still shows a few retailers with the wine at or near $500. And I would spend the extra $50 or so if needed to get one. The 2013 and beyond full MSRP is $700ish (with a handful of retailers discounting to mid to upper $500s), but with 2015 being Gianfranco's last fully completed vintage before he passed, the 2015 and older vintages can only go up, up, up even though there is no reason to believe the future will bring a lessening of the current quality standard.

Long story short- I would go 08 Soldera, 15 Yquem or perhaps 09 Yquem if you are ok with a half or find a good deal on a bottle.
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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#10 Post by AndyK »

$500 would get you not just an off-vintage Chave, you could go for 98 or 99.

If the wine can be on the younger side, I would go for the 2010 Bartolo Mascarello. Drank surprisingly well about 2 years ago, although I won't touch my remaining bottles for a while... Or split it up between 2004 Giacosa Rabaja and a bottle of Krug 164 :)

Other options I can think of are 96 Krug (maybe slightly risky), 98/99 Jamet (although they *should* be cheaper), or Allemand Reynard with a good amount of age (I personally prefer that over Chave).
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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#11 Post by Jeremy Holmes »

Hi Noah,

If you want something young, vibrant and punchy, buy a bottle of 2018 Arnoux-Lachaux Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Les Procès. Charles Lachaux is making incredibly good red Burgundy. Plenty of whole bunch spice. Kind of like the poor man's DRC. Prices are on the move so act fast!

Cheers
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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#12 Post by HenryB »

Not sure on the price anymore, but 2000 Tertre Rotebeouf remains quite an amazing wine experience for me, more so than an off-vintage (e.g. 04) first growth, like 04 Mouton.
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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#13 Post by Andy Sc »

Noah C wrote: April 5th, 2021, 8:23 pm Hi everyone, I've never spent more than around $200 for a bottle (and that only a few times). I've managed to have some wonderful wines and I have enjoyed immensely. But as is always the case, I've become curious about the next level up. A friend of mine and I are talking about splitting the cost of a bottle $500 or less. I was curious about what you would recommend.

We are looking for a bottle that is ready to drink now (no aging required to be at peak), has good reliability (White Burgundy is out, very old bottles that might be oxidized are out), and would prefer a wine with that indefinable "wow" factor (whatever this means). We both prefer wines on the more refined side (so Napa and Washington are mostly out). Things I've been considering; First Growth Bordeaux in an "off" vintage, Super Second in a good vintage, Soldera (can just barely afford a new bottling), Chave Hermitage, Bartolo Mascarello, Clos Ste Hune. As crazy as it sounds, $500 does not seem to be enough to get a top Burgundy. Would love any recs! Thanks! Noah
If you wanna have that next level wow factor, do not buy a First Growth from an off vintage. While these wines are certainly good, they don't have that wow factor. In a hypothetical example a first growth can get you to 100 pts in a great vintage but only to 95 points in an off vintage (check Cellartracker scores, which nicely show that), which is still better than the more mediocre 90 points other good wines will achieve but still below that wow factor level.

I would go for a Margaux, Mouton or Cheval from one of the recent great vintages. These are usually more open in their youth than Haut Brion or Lafite. 2015/2016 are probably "just" 100-150 dollar above the 500 dollar limit but will deliver 5x more pleasure than any off vintage. Again, check Cellartracker scores first. For more immediate pleasure I would focus on the 2015 vintage as 2016 needs a bit more time.

Another great suggestion is Chave. Also here, absolutely focus on the great vintages: 2015, 2010, 2005, 1999 would be my picks.

Forget about Clos Ste Hune, while great, it's never on the same level as the wines mentioned before.
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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#14 Post by Robert.A.Jr. »

@Andrew, depends on what you call an “off-vintage”.

I just grabbed some 2001 Haut Brion for $425. This is an excellent wine.

Gruard Larose 82 and 86 are “first-growth” level. Some 1980s vintages of Montrose and Lynch are as well.

Personally, I’d always grab a mature Bordeaux over a new release, even if the latter is rated more highly than the former. Maturity is the greatness in Bordeaux.

Off the grid a little, I like something a little geekier for that unique experience, say Allemand (almost any vintage), Jamet 98 or 99 are stunning, or some Rougeard. Crush has 2004 and 2006 Allemand for $3xx.
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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#15 Post by Andy Sc »

I agree, I prefer mature wines too but he excluded that in his initial remarks.

HB 01 is indeed excellent. So is Cheval 14, 11 or Margaux 12, 08, 06. But just not on the same levels as the truly great vintages.
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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#16 Post by Robert.A.Jr. »

@Andrew, I do not think he ruled out mature bottles, he just said very old bottles and were oxidized were out. Perhaps the OP can clarify.

I have recently had again the following three château from the 1998 vintage in Pomerol, anyone of which I would take over a new release Bordeaux: Trotanoy, Vieux Chateau Certan, l’Evangile. And on the geekier side, The 1998 Magdelaine is outstanding. That is greatness to me but I’m afraid you will no longer find that type of St Em, given the way that region has turned over to the modernist consultants..
Last edited by Robert.A.Jr. on April 6th, 2021, 8:08 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#17 Post by Kevin Patrick »

My personal view is you are on the right track with "off-vintage" 1st growths or prime vintage lower growths.

My recommendations:
1990 or 1996 Pichon Baron
2000 Chateau Pavie
2002 Mouton Rothschild -- had this one year ago and was shocked how ready to drink and fantastic it was.

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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#18 Post by Greg K »

I think some guidance from the OP as to what he particularly likes would be especially helpful here. There's such a wide range of styles that without more information there's a fair amount of chance for disappointment. If I sent a friend with $500 to buy a "great" bottle of wine for current consumption I'd be absolutely delighted if he came back with some of the wines listed here.....and mildly horrified at some of the other suggestions. There's a lot of variation with palate preferences.
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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#19 Post by YaniSkarlatov »

In your quest for Greatness I would direct you towards Soldera.
A singular wine, a true "vin de meditation".

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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#20 Post by Chris Foley »

1986 Rausan Segla.
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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#21 Post by Gary Schulte »

Noah - You might consider shopping the wines at Mt Carmel in Hamden if you do not know them. Here's their website http://mtcarmelwine.com/ . One thing you can check locally is the condition of an older bottle.

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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#22 Post by Eric Lundblad »

The Haut Brion suggestions!

He didn't say no mature bottles...its no mature bottles that might be oxidized. So, for my money, I'd go with 58 Barolo (or 47 if I could afford it, or one of the several good 60s vintages) from a top notch source (couple in NYC, Rare wine, Courtier). I'd go for the bottle in the best condition first, as long as it's a good/excellent producer, rather than picking producer first..."great bottles, not great wines". Stand the bottle up forever to let 100% of the sediment settle!
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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#23 Post by Ed Steinway »

Agree with Yquem. The 2015 is fantastic. A few Bordeaux I would consider:

1989 Lynch Bages or Pichon Baron
1996 Pichon Lalande or Ducru
1998 Haut Brion or La Mission Haut Brion (maybe outside your price range)

And, there are many back vintages of Ridge Monte Bello that are on the refined side, at least to me. Enjoy the hunt!

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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#24 Post by R M Kriete »

The question is, will he experience 'Greatness" with bottles of so called "Great wines", but from an OFF vintage? Or would he simply be left with the impression of "well that was a pretty good bottle from a purportedly great producer, but it didn't blow my socks off. I don't get the hype."

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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#25 Post by Chris Seiber »

R M Kriete wrote: April 6th, 2021, 8:05 am The question is, will he experience 'Greatness" with bottles of so called "Great wines", but from an OFF vintage? Or would he simply be left with the impression of "well that was a pretty good bottle from a purportedly great producer, but it didn't blow my socks off. I don't get the hype."
I don't know that something like 2001 or 1996 Haut Brion is an "off vintage." And one of the many things that makes Haut Brion legendary is how good of a wine and consistent of a style they reveal almost every year.

If you were talking about buying a 1993 Lafite Rothschild because it's the only one under $500 just so you can say you've had Lafite, I'd agree with you. But I don't think anyone was proposing a "just so you can say you've had the label" bottle in this thread; people were suggesting very good wines, even if there are ones for considerably more money which are regarded still higher.

Of course, there are many other good options besides Haut Brion, too, so it certainly doesn't have to be that.

It's always been an interesting question in Bordeaux, which matters more, the producer or the vintage? At a similar price point, would you rather have 2000 Palmer or 2001 Haut Brion? Would you rather have 2001 Palmer or 2000 Cos? Would make for an awesome blind tasting.

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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#26 Post by Gregory Dal Piaz »

Vega Sicilia Reserva Especial. Very little like it and often a real wow wine, at a discount to comparable vintage Unico.

Soldera has been mentioned as well, pretty compelling wines, though selection under $500 is even slimmer than with the Vega.

Just had a 94 Montebello that would fit the bill. A wow wine at a decent price, other vintages would also qualify.

1999 in Barolo is just starting to hit that sweet spot, Monprivato, Cascina Francia, and Bartolo can all be had for $500.

Best suggestion is to find someone to drink with who can offer some of these wines with guaranteed provenance. Would be a shame to pony up only to be let down by someone elses storage issues.
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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#27 Post by R. Frankel »

Ed Steinway wrote: April 6th, 2021, 7:23 am Agree with Yquem. The 2015 is fantastic. A few Bordeaux I would consider:

1989 Lynch Bages or Pichon Baron
1996 Pichon Lalande or Ducru
1998 Haut Brion or La Mission Haut Brion (maybe outside your price range)

And, there are many back vintages of Ridge Monte Bello that are on the refined side, at least to me. Enjoy the hunt!

Ed
I was thinking 1989 Lynch Bages or Pichon Baron. I’d add 1989 Angelus. In my experience these are quite a step up from the ‘96 PLL or Ducru.
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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#28 Post by R. Frankel »

Piedmont Nebbiolo is a lot trickier. The really special older wines are hard to find and a real crap shoot on storage. But the one I’d recommend for availability and better storage track record (in my experience) is Gaja Barbaresco. The 1989, 1990, or 1996 are all in a great drinkability zone. The 1978 is magical but harder to find. The ‘Classico’ is excellent but if you an find the Sori Tildin, Sori San Lorenzo, or Costa Russi they would be good too! If it has to be Barolo, Giacosa Red Label/Riservas from 2000 and 2001 should be good now, though perhaps out of the price range.
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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#29 Post by Robert Sand »

Rayas or Chave Hermitage would be my choices, Chave at min. 15y old, better 20. Rayas what you get...
Off years Bx 1ers is no good idea.

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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#30 Post by Noah C »

Robert Sand wrote: April 6th, 2021, 10:21 am Rayas or Chave Hermitage would be my choices, Chave at min. 15y old, better 20. Rayas what you get...
Thanks for all the great suggestions everyone! It's much much appreciated.

To clarify a few of the questions that you raised. First, I am not opposed to older wines at all. I just want to make sure the bottle has a reasonable chance of showing well. I know that certain wines have higher failure rates than others (ahem...White Burgundy) and it would be a big disappointment to drop what is for me a lot of money and be left disappointed.

Second, regarding the types of wines I'm looking for. The preferences of my friend and I are quite in line with one another. We prefer wines that lean more refined than powerful. Red, white, sparkling are all fine to consider. Favorite regions include Bordeaux, Piedmont, Brunello/Chianti, Alsace, Burgundy, cooler W Coast American wines like N Cali and Oregon. I'm excluding any regions, but I provide this list just so you can all get a sense of our preferences.

@Robert Sand, I would LOVE to get Rayas. Open to suggestions about how to get a bottle in my price range!
Looking for wine friends in New Haven, CT! Message me if interested in sharing some drinks. Noah C @ p u r 5 0

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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#31 Post by Greg K »

Noah C wrote: April 6th, 2021, 1:29 pm @Robert Sand, I would LOVE to get Rayas. Open to suggestions about how to get a bottle in my price range!
Personally, if you’re going to get Rayas, I very strongly suggest you get it off a restaurant list. A couple friends just opened two older bottles with supposedly pristine provenance and sent both back. Rayas has, imho, a crazy amount of bottle variation and recent vintages are nowhere near ready.
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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#32 Post by Jay Miller »

While you've gotten a lot of great suggestions (I especially like the one for Haut Brion) I'll throw out another category you might not have considered:

I see the 1995 Taittinger Comte de Champagne available for $295 from Rare Wine Company. That is one of my all time favorite Champagnes and is drinking magnificently now.
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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#33 Post by Vince T »

Another idea for singular wine -- the 1986 Castillo Ygay Blanco Gran Reserva Especial. Haven't had it yet, and waiting for the right occasion to pop mine. But check out the CT reviews.
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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#34 Post by Chuck Miller »

Greg K wrote: April 6th, 2021, 2:03 pm
Noah C wrote: April 6th, 2021, 1:29 pm @Robert Sand, I would LOVE to get Rayas. Open to suggestions about how to get a bottle in my price range!
Personally, if you’re going to get Rayas, I very strongly suggest you get it off a restaurant list. A couple friends just opened two older bottles with supposedly pristine provenance and sent both back. Rayas has, imho, a crazy amount of bottle variation and recent vintages are nowhere near ready.
That’s not my experience, Greg. Of course, with older wines, there are no great wines, just great bottles. I have had the ‘88, ‘89 and ‘90 Rayas a total of at least 30 times, and while I had one cooked and two corked bottles, it has been amazingly consistent. As to recent vintages, not sure how you define that, but I just opened a 2006 Rayas CdP and a 2006 Fonsalette Cuvee Syrah tonight that were singing. I sure as hell wouldn’t pay a restaurant 2-3 times current market pricing for the privilege of returning a bad bottle. But if you can find Rayas at a good price (approximately market rate) at a restaurant, by all means, buy it. But good luck finding a bottle at a restaurant at market pricing.
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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#35 Post by Greg K »

Chuck Miller wrote: April 7th, 2021, 12:09 am
Greg K wrote: April 6th, 2021, 2:03 pm
Noah C wrote: April 6th, 2021, 1:29 pm @Robert Sand, I would LOVE to get Rayas. Open to suggestions about how to get a bottle in my price range!
Personally, if you’re going to get Rayas, I very strongly suggest you get it off a restaurant list. A couple friends just opened two older bottles with supposedly pristine provenance and sent both back. Rayas has, imho, a crazy amount of bottle variation and recent vintages are nowhere near ready.
That’s not my experience, Greg. Of course, with older wines, there are no great wines, just great bottles. I have had the ‘88, ‘89 and ‘90 Rayas a total of at least 30 times, and while I had one cooked and two corked bottles, it has been amazingly consistent. As to recent vintages, not sure how you define that, but I just opened a 2006 Rayas CdP and a 2006 Fonsalette Cuvee Syrah tonight that were singing. I sure as hell wouldn’t pay a restaurant 2-3 times current market pricing for the privilege of returning a bad bottle. But if you can find Rayas at a good price (approximately market rate) at a restaurant, by all means, buy it. But good luck finding a bottle at a restaurant at market pricing.
You can in New York; there are restaurants where you can get Rayas without paying 2x, let alone 3x current market pricing.
I think I've had 6 bottles of Rayas over the past year that were older than 2000 and none of them were in great shape (all from different sources, too). The Fonsalette 2008 was far and away the best Rayas bottle I had in the past year, but I don't think that's what the OP is looking for. Personally, I think the 06 Rayas is way too young, but YMMV. Palates can be very different :)
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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#36 Post by Mike Evans »

Chuck Miller wrote: April 7th, 2021, 12:09 am
Greg K wrote: April 6th, 2021, 2:03 pm
Noah C wrote: April 6th, 2021, 1:29 pm @Robert Sand, I would LOVE to get Rayas. Open to suggestions about how to get a bottle in my price range!
Personally, if you’re going to get Rayas, I very strongly suggest you get it off a restaurant list. A couple friends just opened two older bottles with supposedly pristine provenance and sent both back. Rayas has, imho, a crazy amount of bottle variation and recent vintages are nowhere near ready.
That’s not my experience, Greg. Of course, with older wines, there are no great wines, just great bottles. I have had the ‘88, ‘89 and ‘90 Rayas a total of at least 30 times, and while I had one cooked and two corked bottles, it has been amazingly consistent. As to recent vintages, not sure how you define that, but I just opened a 2006 Rayas CdP and a 2006 Fonsalette Cuvee Syrah tonight that were singing. I sure as hell wouldn’t pay a restaurant 2-3 times current market pricing for the privilege of returning a bad bottle. But if you can find Rayas at a good price (approximately market rate) at a restaurant, by all means, buy it. But good luck finding a bottle at a restaurant at market pricing.
For another data point, of the last four bottles of 1990 Rayas, I’ve had, three were corked.

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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#37 Post by Max K »

Noah - I did this exercise with friends about 5 years ago with mixed success (2001 Vogue Musigny was far too young), but it was nonetheless a good experience.

One suggestion to mitigate the risk is to buy from retailers with a provenance guarantee - Benchmark and Chambers Street are the two I know of. The fact that Chambers has honored their policy for me on old Barolo has made me a loyal and more frequent customer, and their advice about handling the bottles they've sold me has always been spot on.

That said I'd second the suggestion of '98 Chave - I opened a bottle last year and it was astoundingly beautiful and drinking better than the '99 right now.

For Piedmont, I opened a bottle of '05 Bartol last weekend that, while clearly having lots left in the tank, showed all the elegant Langhe character one could ask for, coupled with the charm and seductive character for which the cantina is known.

PS Also consider '01 Arnoux VR Suchots. Mature and showing very well in the last few years. Not the absolute pinnacle of Burgundy greatness, but nonetheless a great wine within your price range.
Last edited by Max K on April 7th, 2021, 8:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#38 Post by HoosJustinG »

If you’re looking for a transformational experience with a subtle wine, I’d agree modern Napa is going to be too bold (right now), but 70’s Napa could be right in your wheelhouse and $500 is going to be enough to get most anything but a real legend (69 Chappellet, 74 Heitz MV etc). Look at Mayacamas, Diamond Creek, Heitz Martha’s, BV, Mondavi, Phelps, etc.
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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#39 Post by Jim Stewart »

Kent Comley wrote: April 5th, 2021, 9:24 pm I am sure that you will receive hundreds of recommendations for wines that have represented greatness to those who recommend them, but they may well be not to your taste.

How many times have you gone to a 'great' restaurant expecting an epiphany only to find that the experience didn't live up to the hype?

I think that greatness in wine can have many forms. From the briny Chablis paired with freshly shucked oysters to the perfectly aged red caught at its peak. Sometimes the biggest surprises can be the most fulfilling.

There are a just a few wines that I have tried that I reckon most people would agree with me that are great- 96 Salon, 92 Coche Corton, 99 La Tache, but they are now in serious nose bleed category.

But to answer your initial question a couple of wines spring to mind, based on your criteria, I have some confidence that these two will deliver great pleasure. Whether they represent greatness, I am not sure. - 1978 La Mission Haut Brion and 2001 Cavallotto Vigna San Giusseppa,
Kent, I agree that the search for "greatness" is at the very least a two-sided coin, and for some us the slightly disappointing side comes up more than it share of times. I like the way that you shared that perspective, while also providing specific suggestions. Helpful yet world-wise. Good wine perspective and good perspective in general. Cheers.
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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#40 Post by Craig G »

Re: Chave, I would go for 1988 or 1995 over the younger ones.

Re: Rayas, not sure where people see it for $500. I think those days have passed at least in the USA.

On Commerce Corner Donn H has 1985 Chevillon Vaucrains for sale. You could do a lot worse than that in Burgundy.
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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#41 Post by C. Mc Cart »

Well, I'm not a Brdx guy and haven't purchased any since 2005 & I never buy top-end Vega (just a few Alion), however if I wanted as close to a "lock" of now purchasing and drinking 1 great bottle which is also in the right drinking window (which to me eliminates almost all old-world under 20-25 years), my choices would be Unico (if $ possible), their Reserva Especial or an older Brdx (Angelus?).

I wouldn't risk red burg, unless you can buy from an one owner cool cellar.
Older Barolo is possible, but imagine those of suitable 'greatness' age would be hard to find at $500.
You could find older 80's Hermitage for that price, but like burgundy will be less consistent bottle to bottle so a risk when looking at 1 lone bottle to open.
The d'Yquem suggestion was good as would be almost any top level Sauternes, but drinking a bottle of even great older Sauternes could be tiring for just 2 of you and if drinking with food, requires more thought.
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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#42 Post by Doug Schulman »

Make sure you get something from a category that has impressed you in the past, or at least one that you generally like a lot. Like a lot of people, I’ve been totally underwhelmed by some very expensive wines that people on this board speak very highly of.

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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#43 Post by Noah C »

Doug Schulman wrote: April 7th, 2021, 10:57 am Make sure you get something from a category that has impressed you in the past, or at least one that you generally like a lot. Like a lot of people, I’ve been totally underwhelmed by some very expensive wines that people on this board speak very highly of.
This is really good point, and one that makes me lean towards the Haut Brion suggestion since I am a big Bordeaux fan. While some of the other suggestions seem great, I wonder if I would have enough drinking experience within a category to truly appreciate the bottles greatness (I'm thinking of the Spanish suggestions).
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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#44 Post by Doug Schulman »

Noah C wrote: April 7th, 2021, 12:56 pm
Doug Schulman wrote: April 7th, 2021, 10:57 am Make sure you get something from a category that has impressed you in the past, or at least one that you generally like a lot. Like a lot of people, I’ve been totally underwhelmed by some very expensive wines that people on this board speak very highly of.
This is really good point, and one that makes me lean towards the Haut Brion suggestion since I am a big Bordeaux fan. While some of the other suggestions seem great, I wonder if I would have enough drinking experience within a category to truly appreciate the bottles greatness (I'm thinking of the Spanish suggestions).
I think that’s an excellent way to approach this. You need context to understand greatness.

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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#45 Post by Jayson Cohen »

Lots of good suggestions here. Here are some others below that are a little different if you can find them. (I’ll steer clear of Rioja but for that money you could buy a great, great old Rioja GR from Lopez de Heredia, Cune, or Monte Real. I also looked on Wine Searcher for Cheval Blanc, the first thing that came to my mind, but prices really have skyrocketed the last few years and you can probably get a better Haut Brion vintage, per the suggestions above.)

1959 Magdelaine (all about provenance though). I can’t overstate how good this is. 1970 is also just fabulous.

1983 La Miss will be real bang for your buck. You could get 2 of them and it’s such a great wine.

1998 Verset Cornas - this wine is insanely good. It’s close to the $500 range now. Maybe it’s more. The 1995 and 1999 are also fabulous.

But if you’ve never had a great Chave and can find a good price: 1991 > 1995 > 1998. Skip anything younger. They are not as good. [stirthepothal.gif]

Good luck!

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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#46 Post by Ian S »

Kevin Patrick wrote: April 6th, 2021, 5:26 am
2002 Mouton Rothschild -- had this one year ago and was shocked how ready to drink and fantastic it was.
1999 is another potential candidate.
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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#47 Post by Chris Seiber »

Jayson Cohen wrote: April 7th, 2021, 7:45 pm I also looked on Wine Searcher for Cheval Blanc, the first thing that came to my mind, but prices really have skyrocketed the last few years and you can probably get a better Haut Brion vintage, per the suggestions above.)
I did the same thing. Surprised / disappointed to see how expensive it is now — I wonder if my lone remaining bottle (a 1986) will be my last.

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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#48 Post by Eric Ifune »

Old Madeira. Classic wine. Not many people know much about it. Perhaps the most complex wine on earth.

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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#49 Post by Charles Weiss »

And with Madeira provenance is a nonissue. Plus, you don't have to finish it in one night.

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Re: Recommendation for Greatness

#50 Post by Robert Sand »

Noah C wrote: April 6th, 2021, 1:29 pm
Robert Sand wrote: April 6th, 2021, 10:21 am Rayas or Chave Hermitage would be my choices, Chave at min. 15y old, better 20. Rayas what you get...
Thanks for all the great suggestions everyone! It's much much appreciated.

...
@Robert Sand, I would LOVE to get Rayas. Open to suggestions about how to get a bottle in my price range!
I´m not from the US, so I don´t know - but I can get Rayas in Europe now and then between 400 and 500 €(from sources not listed on winesearcher) ... not all sellers are on WS, fortunately, otherwise they would be more expensive.

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