FT: Jancis Robinson tastes some of the world’s most expensive wines
"...the rather undramatic 1978" Petrus:
When I was in my early-mid 20s and learning to appreciate fine wine, I was given a gift of the '78 Petrus. I knew it was special and would be the best bottle of wine I would probably ever drink, but I didn't know at the time just how special and expensive Petrus was.
I lived in the San Fernando Valley where temperatures reach over 100 during the summer. I did not have a wine cellar or any type of proper storage, and I had ruined an entire case of Stags Leap the previous year due to excessive heat and temperature fluctuations in my house. Needless to say, I was worried about ruining the Petrus.
I called the shop where my friend bought the wine (zin1953's old stomping grounds, The Wine Merchant). They told me to keep it in a dark, cool spot and to wait at least 5 years before drinking it.
I found a large heavy shoe box to put the wine in, put the box in the coolest spot in the house, and covered it with a blanket. I marked in my calendar the date it would be ready to drink, forwarding that date each year to the new calendar. Every so often I would pull out the bottle to check on it.
Five years later, on my parents' anniversary, we went out for dinner and brought the wine with us. Mom, who did not drink much wine, said she only wanted a little taste and would order a glass of wine at the restaurant because she knew she would not appreciate the Petrus and wanted the rest of us to enjoy it. Well, after taking a sip, her eyes opened wide, she smiled, and declared that she appreciated it very much and just had to have a glass!
I still remember how smooth and luscious the wine was. I can't even imagine how a better vintage would taste, as I didn't think wine could possibly get better.