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$5,000 Chardonnay? Skinner Wine Auction Preview and How the Other Half Lives

Vino Duo recently attended a Skinner pre-auction tasting of some of the wine industry’s most storied quaffs. These are big-money wines that are treasured by collectors, including Montrachet’s rare Grand Cru, a Rothschild 1982 Bordeaux, vintage Barolos, and few Chateau Neufs thrown in for good measure. Pricing was irrelevant as we had no intent of spending hundreds or thousands of dollars a bottle on a crap-shoot. The wines at auction are sometimes old; and sometimes not. And you never know what you’ll get until you pull the cork. Here are some of the wines we tasted, only two of which we liked and would buy if price were no object.

Wine and PriceOur Take
1961 Prunotto Barolo
Estimated @$150/bottle
Sold for $123/bottle
Rated 89 points by the usually reliable Cellar-Tracker community but we tasted this wine twice and found the barnyard palate less-than-pleasing. Some old wines aren’t elegant, they’re just old.
1966 Bodegas Riojanas Monte Real Rioja
Estimated @$162/bottle
Unsold
Lisa found this wine tart and sour but Gary liked it, tasting tightly wound black cherry notes followed by a long, silky finish. At 53 years old, still very much in its prime, unlike VinoDuo 🙂  Since it didn’t sell at auction we’d consider buying at a lower price-point.
Angelus Premier Grand Cru Classe 2004
Estimated $210/bottle
Sold for $240/bottle
Lisa loved this wine—a Merlot/Cab Franc blend—so take her thumbs up with a little grain of salt, as she mostly drinks white!  Parker gave it 95 points. Lisa noted the beautiful deep purple color, a “gentle” nose and soft but full-bodied flavor.
2008 Domaine de la Romanee Conti Montrachet
Estimated @
$5,000-$6,000/bottle
Sold for $5,228 [FOR ONE BOTTLE]
The wine community is in love with Montrachet and this one’s no exception getting anywhere from 95 to 97 points. But $5000 for a bottle of Chardonnay? Insanity. We liked the wine but we also like many Chardonnays from France, Sonoma, Napa and Australia that have similar palates at 1/10th the price. Maybe we’re just not as sophisticated enough?

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