The Thanksgiving surprise
I am visiting my Dad for Thanksgiving from out-of-state. Last night, as dictated by tradition, we decided to open a bottle of wine. I've been off reds for a while for medical reasons, and he knew that. So he plunked this down in front of me.
Apparently a relative of my stepmother's passed over the summer, and my Dad was gifted the contents of the relative's cellar. This was in the cellar, and he'd been saving it for me for months. He really wanted to see my reaction.
Well, he got one. My eyes bugged out. I at least had the presence of mind to say something reasonable. Not "Wow!" or "Dang!" or "Where'd you get that?" More along the lines of "…can we open it?"
Of course, this wine isn't what a lot of people think it is. It's true that Chateau Montalena won the 1976 Judgement at Paris with a Chardonnay. But they did it with a 1973 vintage, not the 1976. It took me a few moments to realize that, and then my dad and I had a big laugh. He really got me.
And yes, we sure did open it.
It was super. Drinks like a 2 or 3-year old Chard. The taste was surprisingly concentrated – surprising because this had lost almost no volume during its 40-year slumber. Lots of stone fruit, as you'd expect. Some flintiness, and plenty of sweetness. This is not a dry wine by any stretch, but it's not cloying. No off notes of any kind, no sourness. Simply one of the best Chards I've ever had.
I don't know how this bottle was stored, but whomever was in charge of it knew what he was doing. The bottle was in pristine, pristine shape. Even the bottom 2/3 of the cork was pliable, and came out in one piece. I have no doubt that the bottle's condition contributed to the overall excellent quality of the wine.
So, how many of you would turn down an opportunity to taste the 1976 version of the wine that shocked the world?
Submitted November 22, 2017 at 08:54PM by it_was_you_fredo
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