As we progress in our love and exploration of wine, we start to taste better and better wines. Reaching high to the ‘Blue Chip’ wines from each region, sometimes we get an opportunity to taste a ‘Top Icon’. When I get this opportunity, I get quite excited. Usually it is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to taste a wine so highly coveted but, more importantly, one that can take your breath away. A wine you can still taste every time you close your eyes. Iconic wines range greatly in price, but are typically upwards of $300 per bottle.
For all wine lovers, there is a time when we get to taste a wine, which may be an iconic wine, and this wine is better than any other we have ever tasted; the one that makes us realize that this great wine is more than just fermented grape juice. The wine has developed into something more than the sum of its parts. We call this our epiphany wine. Our eyes and palates are opened with full revelation and our desire grows to prospect for even more.
Sometimes the experience is more exciting than the wine itself. The hype outlasts the flavour and balance of the icon; it doesn’t matter to me. To taste an icon is a great experience that I never forget. Sometimes the icon lives up to all of the hype. It brings me to a time and place I have never experienced previously. Heights never reached before. Long live this moment…
Most fine wine regions of the world have top wines that reach iconic status. They become legendary brands sought out around the world. Some of the original examples were from the British Empire and their love for the wines of top Chateaux in Bordeaux. Later, we saw examples of the U.S.A. market and the love for top French, Italian, Australian and American wines. In the modern era, we see China as a great consumer of the icon wines. Prices for top Bordeaux have been climbing due to the increase purchase in the Chinese market. This trend is spreading to other icon wines as well, and we can foresee the prices of all icon wines increasing as the exploration, love, awareness and consumption of wine increases on a global scale.
Below is a list of several of iconic wines. The prices for these wines are often much higher after they are resold after years in cellar. I hope I didn’t miss your favourite as there are several more, so keep exploring!
The First Growth Bordeaux Blends From the Left Bank
Chateau Margaux ($1,800), Chateau Lafite-Rothschild ($2,550), Cha- teau Mouton-Rothschild ($1,800), Chateau Latour ($2,000), Chateau Haut-Brion ($1,800).
Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Romanee-Conti Grande Cru (DRC)
($12,000): Top Grand Cru Burgundy vineyards in France considered the best Pinot Noir wines in the world.
Grande CRU Classe St. Emillion and Pomerol Bordeaux Top Blends from Right Bank
Chateau Petrus ($3,800), Chateau Ausone ($2,200), Le Pin ($3,200), Chateau Cheval Blanc ($2,800).
Italian Super Tuscans
Tenuta San Guido Ornellaia ($225), Antinori Solaia ($249), and several from Angelo Gaja ($500-$2,000).
If you have tasted this wonderful, sweet wine from Sau- ternes, Bordeaux, you will understand.
Ribera Del Duero, Spain
Vega Sicilia Unico ($555). Made from Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and sometimes Merlot.
Penfolds Grange ($500), previous- ly known as Grange Hermitage, is the best in the Australian section. Grange is mostly made of Shiraz (Syrah) with some Cabernet Sauvignon.
Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon ($2,100), Harlan Estates ($900), Bryant Family ($700), Marcassin ($600), Colgin Cellars ($550), Opus One ($400).
Krug Clos d’Am- bonnay ($900), Bollinger Special Cuvée Brut ($600), Moët et Chandon Dom Perignon ($216), Louis Roed- erer Cristal Brut Millesime ($580).
By: Stuart Brown NICHE Magazine Inspiration Issue 2013
Stuart Brown is a sought after certified Sommelier who also serves as Vice Council Gastronomique for the Victoria Bailliage of La Chaine de Rotisseurs. Formerly the Sommelier at Bear Mountain Resort, Stuart now represents the wines of People, Place & Time with The Trialto Wine Group, and is an instructor for the International Sommelier Guild on Vancouver Island.