Most serious wine drinkers intuitively know when they’ve experienced a truly superb wine. You can’t wait to come back for more and with every sip you discover something new as the wine opens up and unfolds its complex layers of aromas and flavours. Often the sensation lingers, and months, even years later, you can recall that special occasion when you enjoyed a bottle of 1975 Penfolds Grange or a Chateau D’Yquem 1998 for example! (Fortunately speaking from experience here!)
In a fascinating video on eRobertParker.com, the world’s best-known wine critic Robert Parker talks at length about what makes a great wine. While acknowledging the importance of trusting your own palate, Parker explains that like any great work of art, literature or music, for example, consensus usually forms around why a wine is regarded as exceptional. (Winefuture 2011 Hong Kong Great Bordeaux, eRobertParker.com, 8 November 2011)
Here’s the criteria Parker uses for assessing greatness:
1. For a wine to be great it must satisfy both your hedonistic and intellectual senses.
Hedonistic rapture speaks for itself! Here’s CellarTracker’s Jeff Leve’s response to sampling the 2009 Chateau Latour: “I wanted to cancel my remaining appointments for the day spending the afternoon drinking the entire bottle with some bread and cheese, while peacefully relaxing in their vineyards. And it was only 9:00 in the morning!”
Chateau Latour is also an excellent example of a wine that also satisfies the intellectual senses. It’s a modern day classic from a world-renowned wine region.
2. The wine must be nuanced. In other words its personality and complexity will unfold as you imbibe it. With each sip you learn something more!
3. A wine must have depth and intensity of aromas and flavours without being heavy. Ah, yes, a fine Bordeaux is designed to be enjoyed with an equally special meal.
4. The wine must hold your interest in the sense that it keeps pulling you back because you want to discover something more… [Read More]