There are three ways to taste older vintages of the top wines of Bordeaux. The first is to be wealthy enough to collect them, or to buy them at restaurants. The second is to pool your money with friends and buy a couple of bottles that you wouldn't ordinarily be able to afford. The third is to attend pre-auction tastings.
An often poorly publicized part of the high stakes wine auction market, pre-auction tastings are held by many major wine auction houses to allow prospective bidders a chance to taste some of the wines they will be bidding on in the auction. The fact that these tastings are open to the general public, often for a nominal fee, is one of the best kept secrets of the wine world. Such tastings offer an opportunity for wine lovers to sample wines that are not only incredibly expensive, but also often scarce.
Some auction houses are beginning to recognize the opportunity that such events represent for a wider class of wine lovers, and have begun to promote them more heavily. Such is the case with Hart Davis Hart Wine Company, who is putting on an annual event they call their Comparative Bordeaux Tasting.
On Friday evening, at the Newberry Library in Chicago, they will open 1995 and 1996 vintage wines from all of Bordeaux's first growths and 15 other top Chateaux for their guests to taste. Latour, Lafite, Mouton-Rothschild, Haut Brion, Margaux, they'll all be open and available for the tasting.
Here is a list of most of the wines that will be poured:
Château Cheval Blanc
Château La Mission-Haut-Brion
Vieux Château Certan
Château Cos d'Estournel
For the average wine lover who has probably never tasted a bottle of Lafite (I haven't!), that lineup is quite an opportunity, and quite a value, even at the $275 price tag. Anyone seriously interested in educating their palate about what top Bordeaux tastes like should seriously consider attending. I most certainly would if I was in Chicago.
Hart Davis Hart Wine Co. Annual Comparative Bordeaux Tasting
Friday February 1st 2008, 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
60 West Walton Street
Chicago, IL 60610 (map)
Tickets are $275 and must be purchased in advance over the phone by calling Marc Smoler at 312.482.9766 or e-mailing him at [email protected].
The nearest metros stops are: Chicago-Red and Grand-Red. A free parking lot is also available behind the museum.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.
Warm Up: The North Fork of Long Island I'll Drink to That: Kareem Massoud of Paumanok Vineyards 2015 Family Winemakers Tasting: August 16, San Francisco I'll Drink to That: Ryan Looper of T. Edward Wines Lost Treasures in the Sierra Foothills: The Wines of Renaissance Vineyards Warm Up: The Wachau I'll Drink to That: Leo Alzinger of Weingut Alzinger Petaluma Gap Wine Tasting: August 8th, Petaluma, CA I'll Drink to That: Monica Samuels of Vine Connections Vinography Images: Cool Climate Chardonnay
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune