Chateau de Rolland 1999 Sauternes

mmmmm sauterne

Almost twenty years ago when I was still in abject lust with Mrs. Barbarian (and she with me) she & I flew to the East Coast to spend some time with my parents. They were living in Manhattan, as my father had a temporary assignment there. They were living very high at the time… recall those heady days of Gordon Gecko and big M&A… well my dad was doing big M&A. I was just a fresh kid out of college and barely employed. One of the days we were there turned into a field trip out to the countryside of New Jersey or something. We visited an old family friend, also from the West, who was also living high on the late-80s Bull Market. We wandered about their estate and enjoyed some wine, along with cheese, and various goose innards spread on crackers. Mrs. Barbarian comes from Nowhere, Oregon and grew up eating animals her dad killed.. so this experience was a mind blower for her.

In retrospect it is likely why she hasn’t bailed on our marriage in all these years… she sees my lineage and thinks there is hope. I continually disappoint, but she hangs in there. Foolish woman.

To this day however she still recalls fondly that wine we had. Not in detail, just that she liked it. A LOT. Oddly she remembers every embarrassing detail about me, or every mistake I have ever made in her presence (and reminds me at every opportunity!) but could not tell you what wine it was. Me however… I barely recall when my own birthday is, much less anyone else’s! So I can’t even remember what state we were in that day or even what time of year it was, but I do remember that it was Sauternes. Mrs. Barbarian asked our hosts about the wine that day but mentally bailed when she heard the price and never looked back. I should mention that #2 on the list of things I found attractive about my wife when I met her was her frugal nature… she’s even cheaper than me! This sweet Bordeaux was way out of our price range. Way WAY out.

Recently a grocery store chain in my region succumbed to the invasion of all these hoity-toity chains like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, despite the fact that this small local chain pioneered this hoity-toity concept here in this area. I loved their wine selection and shopped there often as there was one of their stores very close to my office. As they swirled the bowl, staring Chapter 7 right in the eye like that closing scene in The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, I pillaged my way through the wine section every evening after the poor slob who ran the place sadly marked down the remaining stock. My head nearly snapped off my neck when I spotted this bottle sporting a price tag in low single digits. The entire (small) remaining stock of French dessert wines were being sold for pennies on the Euro. I looked around and sure enough, the shelves were thin on stock, but all for a song. I started filling my grocery basket with bargains as it was obvious to me that the falling axe was already part way through the condemned neck on its way to the block. I bought probably $1500 worth of wine for maybe $135. It was borderline criminal, but I giggled all the way to the checkout. Sure enough they closed their doors for good the very next day. Among the treasures found that night was this bottle that started the shopping spree… and it was bought with a specific purpose.

Mrs. Barbarian’s birthday was not too long ago, so I pulled this one out of the cellar** with some fanfare. I said, “remember that wine we had back in 1988 on that trip to see my folks? Well here it is.” Mind you, it wasn’t the EXACT same wine. It was at least twenty-four years younger for one, and it came from a different winery. But for her it may has well been the same. It was French. It was Sauternes. It was very good.

So I continue to pull the wool over Mrs. Barbarian’s eyes. Mission Accomplished.

If you can find this wine for the price of Two Buck Chuck, then I applaud you. Otherwise I bet you’ll be paying 10X more.

**My “cellar” is made up of some Costco Baker’s Racks and some cardboard boxes in an unfinished part of our basement. Functionally it is awesome, as it remains at ideal temps year-round. It, like so much of my being, just lacks class.

You must be logged in to post a comment.