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The best bottle of wine I ever tasted

This is a question I get asked often; or what’s the most expensive bottle of wine you’ve ever tasted, which too many people equate to the same thing, but more often than not they couldn’t be further from the truth.

I have tasted a number of expensive wines over the years –1983 Château Margaux from Bordeaux , Tuscany’s 1998 Sassicaia and 1993 Echezeaux from Burgundy’s Domaine Romanée Conti spring to mind – and all were delicious; but then at £400 plus a bottle you’d expect them to be. Worth the money? Well, that’s debatable.

I’m not, and unlikely to ever be, wealthy enough to spend £400 on a bottle of wine (I tasted these at the expense of other’s generosity) but even so I can’t say that these wines tasted eight times better than some £50 wines I’ve tasted. So are these wines overpriced or is it just sour grapes on my part? Well that’s a whole new debate and please excuse the pun.

Haut MarbuzetAnyway, so what was the best bottle of wine I ever tasted, well that’s easy, 1970 Château Haut-Marbuzet from St. Estephe in Bordeaux. It was around 2004 and I was managing a wine shop in Belgravia at the time and the buyer had purchased a case of this from auction for about £15 a bottle. It turned up at the shop in a mildewed wooden case and my colleagues and I could not find any kind of tasting note on it so, before putting it on the shelf, I made the executive decision that we must taste it – for shear quality control reasons of course!

We decanted the wine and as it splashed in to the crystal decanter you could tell the wine was in good nick by the colour alone. I then poured three small glasses for us and wow – it smelt and tasted sensational. Although it showed some age with cooked fruit characters, there was so much young fruit still coming through and this was from a wine that was 34 years old! We savoured every drop of that bottle and sold the remaining 11 later that day to a lucky regular.

Now, if I was to taste that wine against some of the afore mentioned £400 bottles, it may not taste as good. However, that was the most memorable wine I ever tasted so to me that makes it the best.

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