There aren’t too many wine events where you walk into a couple of DRC jeroboams, and this was the first for me when they were both Montrachet. The 1999 DRC Montrachet jeroboam was unfortunately slightly corked, which sucks for every bottle, but especially when they are 20k. However, the wine still had great body and length, and the quality of the raw materials was clear, present and dangerous (96+J-A).
Not doubting the quality of a DRC Montrachet in good condition, however this is the second review from Kapon (that I have read) reviewing and rating a corked wine.
I’ve seen many a note on this board of wines that, based on the notes, were far from perfect and, in some cases, were probably faulty - but the producer was ‘well known’ or a ‘board darling’, and the ‘score’ was in line with the 'reputation ’ rather than the actual bottle.
I’ve had some corked wines that I enjoyed a lot. A '95 Chevillon and an old Heitz cab come to mind. Some people are more put off by the smell than I am. In the case of the Chevillon and Heitz, there were lot of other very positive things about the wine. So I don’t find it utterly crazy on Kapon’s part to like the wine. 96 points might be a bit excessive in the circumstances, though.
Let’s be honest about something. The only reason why a large bottle of DRC sells for the silly money it does is that a large swath of wine geeks with more money than common sense have bought into the narrative that “DRC” on the label means automatically that the wine inside is one of the “best” wines in the world.
If you’re in the wine biz and buy/sell wines like DRC, you’re not going to undermine the narrative with a tasting note that suggests anything less than a stellar bottle of fermented grape juice. I’ve met some wine retail/auction folks who will “tell it like it is” when then taste a sucky bottle of supposedly outstanding wine, but frankly those folks tend to be the exception to the rule.
DRC Montrachet is without a doubt one of the greatest white wines produced in almost every vintage. To state otherwise is at best, inexperienced. Large formats of DRC Montrachet sell for a relatively small premium to 750ml’s. I’ll take a bottle of DRC Montrachet over Leflaive Montrachet - which typically sells at a higher price due to its rarity - any day of the week.
That said, I’ve bought a total of two bottles of DRC Montrachet in my life and both were a decade+ ago.
Whether either are worth the tariff is subjective.
I think you’re kind of missing my point, Ray. Most people enjoy wine without needing to know whether a particular bottle was rated X points, or whether another bottle represents the “best” wine of its type in the world.
But there’s a subsection of wine lovers who “have to have” wines that are considered to be the best, and they are more than willing to spend the $$$ to satisfy that need. It’s the major reason why a wine that is rated 100 points often sells for twice (or more) as much as its neighbor that is rated only 98 or 99 points. People have convinced themselves that a 100 point wine has to be a perfect wine, and thus they’ll pay a hefty premium for it.
So there are certain retailers and wine auction places that cater to that subsection of the wine market. Those retailers/auction places cater to wine buyers who need to know how many points a given wine received and/or know exactly where a given wine exists in some hierarchy within its class. Thus the need for maintaining the narrative that DRC Montrachet is (or is not) the best white Burgundy, and thus the need to rate a flawed bottle of it 96 points.
It reminds me of the classic Monty Python sketch about the apartment buildings put up by hypnosis, with the warning to the tenants that if they ceased to believe in the building it would fall down: