Wine As Bottled Poetry, Poetry As (Really Expensive) Bottled Wine

Vinted on October 6, 2011 binned in elegant wines, kick-ass wines, wine review

Wine has often inspired poetry (and still does – check out this example reviewed here a few short years ago), and in today’s case, waxing poetic about the most expensive wines that all of you out there have imbibed in turn inspired me to pull out some of the more expensive sample bottles calling to me in siren song from the bowels of their cardboard box prisons in my basement.

Actually, the first of these isn’t all that expensive, but at over $30 bucks isn’t (at least not by any real-world-with-real-people-spending-real-money-in-it measure) cheap. But it sure drinks like it’s high-end and well-worth the cash.

The second is a famously expensive, high-scoring Napa Cab blend from a producer that got on my good side by quoting Spinal Tap on its website [Editor’s note: quoting Spinal Tap is always welcome, and will get you a smile, but not necessarily a high rating!].

Anyway, to quote Spinal Tap myself, enough of my yappin’ – let’s boogie!

2009 Leitz Rudesheimer Berg Rottland Riesling Spatlese (Rheingau)
Price: $37
Rating: B+

I’m starting to wonder if I’m going too hard on German Rieslings in general with the ratings these days, if only to counter-balance my very public love-affair with these wines. Leitz is one of those amazing consistent producers that also happens to make wines that feel atypical of their place – instead of the steely, powerful, svelte offerings that you normally find from Rheingau producers, Leitz often churns out elegant, floral, stately and feminine wines that almost feel like they’re sitting on the banks of the Rhine pining for some lost love that they left back in the Mosel.  Apples, lemon drop candy, white flowers, and a salty/saline minerality are present here, making for a really versatile wine that will probably still be drinking well over ten years from now.  Drinking this is like meeting a great girl at a bar and after making out with her for 30 mins she reveals that she’s the princess of an island nation.


2007 Cliff Lede Poetry Cabernet Sauvignon (Stags Leap District, Napa Valley)
Price: $150
Rating: A

Actually a Bordeaux-style blend (86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 2% merlot, 2% Malbec, 2% Cabernet Franc ). There’s power and a deep sultriness to this wine; to get any closer to a balance of power and sultriness, you need to start looking in the animal kingdom for panthers. The power isn’t only compliments of its 15.1% abv (which it handles quite well, actually, though the finish shows a bit too much heat for my tastes), but also of its ripeness, which comes off much more purity-of-fruit than pruniness-of-fruit. For sure this is not my style of wine these days, but fans of the hedonistically opulent might just feel that they’ve found their vinous Mecca with this wine – this is about as silky-drinking as it gets, folks. Will it go the distance in terms of bottle aging? Well, there’s a ton of dark fruit, licorice, and smoky, dried herb complexity – and acids – to beat the heat so I think it will for sure mellow out given eight years, though I’m not going to go so far as to say it will lay down for 20+. Fans of big Cabs won’t wait that long, anyway.






  • RichardPF

    In 8th century China, there was a famous poet named Li Po (known as Rihaku in Japan) who derived poetic inspiration from Sake. His motto was: “I drink a whole bottle, and pen a hundred poems.”

    • 1WineDude

      Richard – I love this poet already…

  • S.P. Mulligan

    Makes me think of Steinbeck vineyards in Paso Robles… Novelist instead of a poet (that I know of), but the idea is there, especially for a California wine. I like the Steinbeck branding… More earthy and rugged and less pretentious than the poetry angle.

    • 1WineDude

      Stephen – Actually, I am pretty sure that Steinbeck wrote poetry as well…

  • @eklektikonwines

    As Homer used to say in 8th century BC, "no poem was ever written by a drinker of water"

    • 1WineDude

      @eklektikonwines – amen to that.

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