10 January 2012

Worth Every Penny

Always nice to follow a rare "cheap commodities" with a rare "worth every penny" post, even rarer in that this one is about food and wine, I subject woefully neglected here for too long.
Last Friday, I stumbled across some Chateau Beaumont Haut-Medoc 2000 at the shop, a pleasant surprise that had slipped my attention....probably because it retails for $37.99, and I tend to shop the sub-$15 selections on my budget. Wine geeks will remember that 2000 was a vintage of historical proportions in Bordeaux, with wines being good from the plonk to the first growths and everywhere between. I've written (i.e. geeked out about) this before, more than once. They all sold fast, and I haven't seen one in a long time. So when this turned up, I decided some minor splurging was in order.
A wine like this with some age on it wants some time to breathe, so I decanted it at lunch time for consumption with dinner. The "decanter" is actually a cheap commodity, a $5 glass carafe from the hardware store of all places, which I've had for years. The corkscrew is a waiter-style one, double hinged, had for $10 or less at any good bottle shop. A paper towel held on loosely with an elastic allows the wine to breathe while keeping stuff from getting in it, a trick of particular importance in the Summer, as fruit flies tend to be drunks.

The wine was everything I hoped it would be. Rusty in color with that good old French stink, the best bad smell in the world. I once heard it described as "blueberry cow sh*t" by a man far more expert than I, and I still use that term myself. Full bodied and dry, with all it's astringency rubbed off by age, leaving a texture that is nothing short of velvet. A heady, rare wine, the kind you drink slowly, because you'll be a little sad when it's all gone.

Good wine deserves good food, and vice verse. But I'm not one to detract from one or the other by overcomplicating things. A simple but high quality cut of steak, seasoned with salt and pepper and cooked in a cast iron skillet until rare and juicy, with baby spinach dressed in a Dijon mustard vinaigrette and roasted yam with onions.

2000 Bordeaux, or good wine in general, is worth every penny.

12 comments:

Andy N said...

Speaking of the cheap-commodities vs justifiable-expense spectrum, do you have any thoughts or experience with Myhrvold's "hyperdecanting" method?

Giuseppe said...

I'm not too much of a snob to suppose it probably works. Tin Tin does it, which or may not say much. My only problem with it is that the blender is frquently a place for eggs and milk, and all that noise is less than elegant.

malak said...

Hi :)
I stopped by your blog in search for the word " Architecture homework" LOL
this is a really interesting blog, I haven't got on all the archive though, but in general.. it seems interesting :)
but are you really an architect??

d.had. said...

Excellent post! I would love to see more of this sort. Keep up the good work!

Young Fogey said...

Wow. What a fantastic meal that must have been.

I was visiting Europe during the heat wave of 2003; I hear that 2003 wines are also fantastic because of the weather that year. Thoughts?

Grouchos Tash said...

a superb (almost) paleo meal!

Kionon said...

I'm far more of a beer snob than a wine snob, so where I feel I can typically agree or disagree with you on my experiences, on this issue, I'll simply take your word for it, G.

davidsl said...

We don't get as much of the French stuff on the left coast. We have lots of great wine just an hour or two drive away. But this sounds wonderful!

ignorancearbitrage said...

@Young Fogey: Avoid the 2003s at all costs. The wine just doesn't hang together... High alcohol, but inelegant. Way too hot that summer for good wine.

frenchie fairmount said...

very good blog, lot of good job done, but per piacere Guiseppe, use a real wineglass

Tom said...

Found this blog from Wearing White After Labor Day. Great post. Picking wines can be very intimidating, but this post demystifies the process a bit. I have had a few good bordeauxs myself; this post inspires me to buy more. Keep up the quality blogging. I enjoy reading it

Brian said...

That looks like one hell of a meal.