I once read that a famous singer said that the only wine he drank was Romanée Conti. Now, I have no idea if he meant wine from the Romanee Conti vineyard or wine from the Domaine Romanee Conti. And, there is a difference. One is the top-rated vineyard in Burgundy that produces only about 400 cases in an average year. Romanée Conti has produced great wines over a very long period of time and sells at a great premium to other Burgundies (currently several thousand dollars a bottle for recent vintages). The other is wines from different vineyards owned by the Domaine Romanée Conti (DRC) that are also great (Corton, Echezeaux, Grands Echezeaux, Romanée St. Vivant, Richebourg and La Tache), but sell for prices in the $500-1500 range for recent vintages.
But, who really cares? I am sure that this famous singer could probably not tell the difference anyway. Why? First, if it was the case that he only drank one wine, then he would never drink anything to compare it against. And second, I think he was probably only drinking it because it was expensive. This, of course, would impress everyone who might know anything about wine. After all, a few grand a day for a few ounces of a beverage would convince at least a few people that he was rich. Fine. “No harm. No foul” as the late great Los Angeles Lakers announcer, Chick Hearn, used to say.
But, also, as was said often on the old Laugh In show, that’s stupid! Why? Because, if you follow this example, it shows how shallow you are and how much you are into impressing someone with what you think you know. Not that I disagree with DRC. I love DRC wines. I have been tasting them, buying them, and drinking them for some 40 years. That includes all the DRC wines from Echezeaux to Romanée Conti. No one in Burgundy can hold a candle to them over this period and that is reflected in the price. And, if they were not so expensive, I would drink more of them. But, as much as I love the wines, I would not want to drink them every day any more than I would like to eat my favorite food everyday. Why? It’s just because wine and food is one of life’s great adventures. And, part of that adventure is trying new wines and new foods. And, more importantly, I think, matching food with wine. Certain foods I like to eat at certain times. And, certain wines I like to drink at certain times. But, to say I only want to eat one food or drink one wine all the time is simply ludicrous. A food is great and a wine is great largely based on how they go together.
The bottom line: Try everything in terms of food and wine. Then, eat and drink what you like. Try different wines with different foods. Form your own opinions. But, never lose your sense of adventure.
Only then will you be the master of your domain.
In Vino Veritas,