Quest for the right wine to give company VIPs begins
October has arrived and the Season of Giving is here.
One of the questions I am often asked at this time of the year is: What wine can I give my boss, my most treasured clients, company VIPs? Something that he or she will appreciate but won’t cost my entire month’s paycheck?
There was a time when any supermarket bottle would do, as long as it was wine.
Today, however, the greater knowledge and appreciation for wine has upped the ante on the gift-giving challenge.
The good news is that the age of wine snobbery is over. The P70,000-per-bottle wines are still around, of course, but you won’t need to mortgage your car or pass up on the latest Balenciaga bag or golf club set to have a sip of decent red.
In fact, even the most prestigious winemakers have expanded their lines to include accessible versions of the finest from the estate.
One of these winemakers is Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite).
12th century estate
Château Lafite Rothschild is a wine estate in France whose history dates back to the year 1234, when it was owned by Gombaud de Lafite, abbot of the Vertheuil Monastery north of Pauillac .
Although the property did not produce wines in the Renaissance period, Chateau Lafite has been producing—since the 17th century, when the majority of the vineyards of what we know of as Lafite Rothschild today were set up—what many people think is the best Bordeaux wine in the appellation.
It was the Ségur family that organized the vineyard in the 17th century when Lafite started to earn its reputation as a great winemaking estate.
It is also interesting to note that Alexandre, the heir of Jacques de Ségur, who was credited with the planting of the Lafite vineyard in the 1670s and in the early 1680s, married the heiress of Château Latour (another great wine) in 1695, joining the wine histories of the fiefs of the Lafite and Latour estates.
It was their son, Nicolas-Alexandre, marquis de Segur, who refined the wine-making techniques of the estate in the early 18th century, and introduced its wines to the upper echelons of European society, giving it a reputation for producing some of the most famous and expensive wines in the world.
Lafite later became one of four wine-producing Châteaux of Bordeaux originally awarded First Growth status in the 1855 Classification, the first official classification of Bordeaux wines.
Since then, it has been a consistent producer of one of the world’s most expensive red wines.
In 1868, the Rothschild family acquired the chateau. Today it is known as Chateau Lafite Rothschild, run by fifth generation Baron Eric de Rothschild who maintains “the Lafite spirit”.
World’s most expensive wine
The “Lafite spirit” apparently cast a spell on US President Thomas Jefferson, who loved Chateau Lafite so much he purchased multiple cases of the wine while he was in France.
The well-loved US President’s spirit must have merged with the Lafite spirit because Fortune Magazine reports that, in 1985, Christie’s Auction House sold a 1787 Chateau Lafite with Jefferson’s etched initials for $160,000!
Don’t worry, though. You won’t need P7 million just to appreciate good wine. Even family and friends of the Rothschilds have requested for more accessible wines.
Reserves des Barons
The estate has created the “Réserves des Barons” under the Legende tag from four major Bordeaux appellations: Bordeaux, Bordeaux Blanc, Médoc and Pauillac.
These wines are made under the supervision of the estate’s oenologist, who ensures that the same care and attention to detail given the Grand Vins are extended to these wines.
We had the occasion to taste a few of these wines at an event last week at Maria Luisa’s Garden Club. (Yes it is still open except you have to be a member of the Garden Club for a fee of P500.)
The Legende Bordeaux Blanc 2012, made from Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon, in its simple elegance, won over even the red wine lovers at the table who usually frown upon whites. It was described by the dinner host as “exquisite.”
I found it to be fresh, crisp and clean without being too thin or boring. (If you are are hosting, make sure to serve it at a temperature of 10-12°C). A wine lover at the table guessed it had apricots.
Close enough, the tasting notes enumerated lime, lychee and passion fruit. It was perfect with escargot.
The 2011 Legende Bordeaux Rouge, which is said to be made from “selections of the finest production in the Entre-Deux-Mers region,” is a pleasant red.
But this was outstaged that evening by the 2010 Medoc.
This Medoc, which is half and half Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, is full bodied even if it is young.
It was true to its description of being “aromatic, dominated by smoky, toasty, spicy notes.”
I was impressed by its velvety feel in spite of its being an “accessible” wine.
The lovely resident wine connoisseur of the group said, “I like its bouquet.” And the rest agreed.
It was paired with the restaurant’s delicious jambalaya, so you can imagine it would go well with the rich Spanish-Filipino dishes we love to eat at Noche Buena.
The evening was capped with a 2011 Legende Pauillac.
The connoisseur said that, while she loved the bouquet of the Medoc, she preferred the Pauillac’s finish. This is made from grapes grown in Rothschild-Lafite’s own vineyards albeit from younger vines.
However, because its “structure is less concentrated than their prestigious elders,” it ages more quickly. So, even after just a few months in the bottle, it already offers the fullness and complexity for which Pauillac is famous.
Don’t think you will miss out on these “expensive” wines. Like I said earlier, wine snobbery is so yesterday.
These wines are now available here in the Philippines at affordable prices. The Lafite Legende Blanc and Rouge are just P900 a bottle.
The Medoc is a reasonable P1,200 while the Pauillac is pricier at P2,650. Still, a real steal for something that reflects the freshness and elegance of Bordeaux.
Put it in a nice wine box and tell your giftee that he or she is drinking something from a domaine that has produced a bottle that was once auctioned off at P7 million.
Chateau Lafite Reserves des Barons
Including 2012 Legende Bordeaux Blanc, 2011 Bordeaux Rouge, 2010 Legende Medoc and 2011 Legende Pauillac
Available at major S&R outlets.
For orders, e-mail email@example.com
Landline 5217392, 5223920 or 5222027
Blog: margauxlicious.com. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook: @margauxsalcedo.
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