Grape Escape

Lafite Label 1999

Further proof to add to the already overwhelming collection of evidence that I am O.L.D.

I am just so excited about this weekend that I could spit! (Though not until after a quick swirl, deep sniff, and roll-around in the mouth taste.)

What on earth am I going on about?


That’s wine for those who still haven’t clued in.

Summation? I am really excited about a wine release. Most of which I’ll immediately stuff in a dark box and put in the back of the closet for 3-10 years before drinking (unless the man can be convinced to adjust the budget to include one of these sooner rather than later).

But what makes these wines extra special? The extreme heat wave in 2003 caused massive chaos through most of Europe. Tens of thousands of people died and acres of crops were ruined by accellerated ripening.

However the unbearable conditions did something a bit magical to the grapes in the area. The lack of moisture made for a more concentrated juice, and the speed at which the grapes ripened meant a higher concentration of alcohol upon fermenting. This is an especially fantastic equation for wines in the Bordeaux region, whose full flavours depend on a decade or so of cellaring to mature and mellow. The extra potent juice and high alcohol will make for unusually robust and deep flavours through the wine as the years carry on.

Of course, there is a price to pay for such concentrated juices. The volatile conditions meant that while the quality of the harvests were superb, they also yielded only around half of the average volume of grapes that come out of the region. This release has been highly anticipated by wine enthusiasts ever since the early harvest in August of 2003, and promises to be one of those “legendary” vintages that collectors vie to include in their cellars.

Personally, one of my favourite fantasies includes owning a bottle of one of the extraordinary vintages of Chateau Lafite-Rothschild and opening it the day I board my sailboat and begin an epic voyage around the world.

Unfortunately, with the 2003’s starting somewhere around $750 a bottle, I believe I’ll have to wait a few years to realize that one. Luckily there are a number of Bordeaux selections available (.pdf) starting from just $30 arriving at the BCLDB Signature Stores tomorrow, with bottles ready for drinking now, all the way through to those that will be best sometime in 2015.

If this is what getting old holds? It tastes pretty sweet so far.

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2 thoughts on “Grape Escape

  1. Sue

    I’m just wondering how to DRESS when we go to this thing. Do I wear my steel-toed cleats and elbow pads? Or go for the more traditional linen skirt and blazer?

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