Sunday, January 10, 2016

The best port I ever had was a 1948 Claret!

Another wonderful Christmas gift was enjoyed with my son in Austin over the holidays—a 1948 Chateau Cheval Blanc, a Premier Grand Cru Bordeaux from the Saint-Émilion region of France.

If you recall it was the 1947 vintage of this wine that was a central character in my book The Claret Murders. Unlike the 1947 vintage considered by many to be the greatest wine every made, the 1948 was considered atypical when young—very tannic with a high 13.5% alcohol content. The 48 was the ugly duckling that had to spend years resting in dark cellars before securing its place among the sought after vintages of Cheval Blanc.

Today, nearly 70 years later, a single surviving bottle of the 1948 Chateau Cheval Blanc purchased, rather than  retrieved from one’s cellar, cost between $3000 and $5000.

Our 1948 bottle was very much alive—wonderful, but no longer a characteristic Claret. It smelled of plums and raisins with the taste of an exceptionally smooth port. We paired the wine with cheese and rich fat hamburgers that brought back the richness of the wine and showed its nobility as a great Claret from the house of the white horse.

What makes the experience of an antique wine so exceptional is the realization that you are one of the last people on earth to have the opportunity to taste the wine—through the experience you time travel back in to its birth. It is the product of soil, weather, and the light hand of the wine maker at that precise place and time in history. Like a snowflake—it is unique and can never be repeated. 

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For signed copies of books by Tom Collins, go to the Unsigned print and ebook editions are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores. For an audio edition of The Claret Murders go to Ebook editions are also available through Apple iTunes’ iBooks Store and
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