“Love is lovelier the second time around.”
It must be the Monthly Wine Writing Challenge, as I tend to always start the article off with something pithy and hopefully germane. This Twenty-second challenge’s theme has been proffered by Jill of L’Occasion and it is “Second Chance.” These challenges at least for me make me stop and ponder the direction that I should take. Some of the challenges have been harder to start, than others, but that is the joy of these challenges. “Second Chance” can be very romantic, as for my Bride and I, or it can take on another meaning.
The grapes, the bountiful fruit that eventually because this “nectar of the Gods” that we all write about, are not all equal. Some of the great wineries are by nature very selective about their grapes and especially about the end product. We know what happens to the first selection of grapes, as they can become exalted wines that the world will clamor for, as for the others they are not completely forgotten about
Chateau Lafite-Rothschild is world famous and even if you just said Lafite, one would be understood. This famous First Growth of the Medoc has been heralded for over a century as one of the leading wines. They were one of the leaders of blending for what is know referred to as the “Bordeaux Blend.” This blend can be composed of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec and under the steady hands of an accomplished wine maker and a great vintage, history can be made. In today’s world, where everyone is chasing the dollar, the winemaker worth his salt, still controls the product, and not every grape or pressing makes the final cut. Rather then dilute the quality for a quick dollar, he holds the seconds and makes another wine. Perhaps the wine will not have the same cachet as Chateau Lafite-Rothschild, but I would venture that no one would decline a glass or a bottle of Carruades de Lafite, or sometimes it has been named Moulin des Carruades. I know that I would not, and I have not.
Now we can venture over a little bit in the same Commune of Pauillac where Chateau Lafite-Rothschild is produced and find another First Growth wine of stellar reputation, namely Chateau Latour. When one is speaking of the First Growth wines of the Medoc, everyone has an opinion of which is the best, and from my humble stance and from my few encounters, I may have to opine that perhaps Chateau Latour may be the greatest, if not the longest lived of the wines that I have tried. I once had the chance to enjoy a bottle that was forty years old and it was still very feisty compared to two other First Growth wines of the same age. Chateau Latour is rather unique that it is a blend of only Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot as compared to the classic “Bordeaux Blend.” They have also created a second wine that they call Les Forts de Latour and I was just as happy to have that wine, and my wallet was even happier.
The Old World is not the only place where one finds these Second Labels, as one can also find this being done in Napa Valley, California. Of course the wine that I am going to discuss here is also a “Bordeaux Blend, “ but both the first and the second labels, only refer to themselves as “A Napa Valley Red Table Wine.” I am talking about Opus One, the wine that is a joint venture between Baron Philippe de Rothschild and Robert Mondavi; and yes another reference to a First Growth Medoc wine. Not only do I find there second label Overture to be superb, but when we were at the winery I observed that so did most of the other people there for a tasting. The only thing that can be slightly different is that Overture can be non-vintage, as in blending of a few years, or it can be a single vintage, from my understanding. When we were there, it was non-vintage and only sold at the winery, though I also understand that it is now found in some secondary markets as well.
So these fine grapes can have a Second Chance, if they do not make the first cut.
“Everyone knows that I am Second hand Rose from Second Avenue.”