Saturday, March 12, 2005

1968 BV Georges de Latour

BV Beaulieu Vineyard Georges de Latour Private Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1968 ($475) -- Estate Bottled, Rutherford, CA. After the Trade Wine Tasting we stumbled into Ruby's Steakhouse downtown last night. I had seen this wine on the list before and had considered getting it. I have seen the wine on some internet cellar sites for $250 plus, what, $20 shipping, but I am at complete risk for a corked or flat bottle. By buying at the restaurant I am insured that if the bottle is bad, it goes back, right. So for an extra $200 I am guaranteed a good bottle. Yeh, that's the ticket, wine insurance! So I forged ahead on this brillant plan.

The other aspect of buying this particular bottle (which I had not calculated) was the buzz from the servers when I ordered a $500 bottle while sitting at the bar with some wine rep friends. I think no less than 4 restaurant staff were used to get the bottle over to the bar. Even the manager came over to "help". (They were all rewarded with a sip!) The wine was presented and it looked like a 35 year old bottle might, a little worn around the edges. (I will try later to attach a picture. Of course, I kept the bottle!) Then the staff properly decanted the wine slowly, brought out the Reidels and ditched the Libby stemware, and the show was on! But first, let me tell you why I selected this particular wine and vintage.

Back in 1969 we moved to Los Angeles when my Dad went to work at Childrens Hospital. I was 15 years old. Sometime later when I was 16 or 17 my parents would serve wine at dinner, and on special occassions, they would offer, you guessed it, BV Georges de Latour (and also Charles Krug and Ingelnook Estate, when it used to be a fine wine.) I am guessing they paid about $10 or so. So this wine, the 1968 Georges de Latour is the first fine wine I remember drinking. I was eager to try the '68 BV again. (I also remember breaking into my friend's Dad's wine cellar that year and liberating a bottle of Port which we consumed in little over an hour. Why would you put the hinges on the outside of a cellar door, unless you wanted someone to remove the whole door! I don't remember the wine producer, but I do remember the hangover.)

The aromas had an ephemeral cedar wisp like walking in an old growth forest in the early morning, followed by delicate fragile flavors of fully integrated fruit and tannins. I am at a loss for adjectives, but the experience was other worldly. The wine reps in attendence agreed that it was a beautiful wine but had probably seen better days as it was on its decline. For the next 30 or 40 minutes the fruit emerged and was still beautifully balanced, then as we approached the end of the bottle, it faded away and the wine was gone. For 35 or so years it had held on to its promise to deliver a taste sensation, and then it had expired. Truly remarkable!


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