So, do all those famous people that buy vineyards rely on their name recognition to sell the plonk or do they actually make good stuff? Well, we decided to find out. The hard part was choosing which 3 whites and which 3 reds to have a go at - the reds to choose from are pictured above (the whites were in the fridge). So: race car driver, actor, rock star, singer, movie director, golfers...whose wine reigns supreme?
For the whites, all five tasters made it a clean sweep for their favourite - a French singer, Francis Cabrel,
a pretty sipper
called Vins d'Enchanson, Prestige, Edition Speciale, 2004
from the Cotes du Thongue.
This is made from rousanne/marsanne, is off-dry with smooth fruits and it made a perfect "sit around the table drinking in the sun wine". We rated it "Good", and fair value at $20 or so. The movie director Francis Ford Coppola makes the Coppola, Diamond Collection, Gold Label Chardonnay, 2oo5.
This came in second, was also rated "Good" but was so-so value at $25. This is a Chardonnay for all you haters of over-oaked buttery Chards; this was not a fat wine by any stretch of the imagination - in fact, I found it a little thin. Unfortunately pro golfer Mike Weir didn't make the cut (kinda like his season last year) with the Weir Estate Winery, Sauvignon Blanc, 2006.
It wasn't bad, had the requisite lemon grassy nose and dry, fruity mouthfeel, but the tasters rated it third. It was good value at $15, though.
For the reds, in the blind tasting before dinner, it was also a clean sweep. All five rated the French actor tops - for his Gerard Depardieu, Confiance, 2003
from Bordeaux. This I've had before, I rated it a wow last year and I still rate it a wow wine. It is simply a gorgeous rich wine that I could never tire of. Worth every penny at $55. Formula one driver Jarno Trulli came in second with his Podere Castorani, Jarno, 2002.
This everyone picked as the Italian wine - it was unmistakably a classic iodine laden old style Italian beauty that we initially rated only a "Good", but bumped it up to "wow" when the steaks rolled off the BBQ. Now this is a food wine! Pricey at $80, I don't know if I would buy it. Bringing up the rear was poor old Jerry Garcia, ex-deadhead. His J. Garcia, Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon 2002
is a good wine, but more along the lines of a medium bodied velvety smoothy that couldn't stand up to the brawny actor or the racer. It is however reasonable value at $25.
Hey wait...we're not finished...Joel reasoned that if Depardieu can make a great wine that costs $55 a bottle, what can he make for $120? Sooo, out with the corkscrew and he opened the Depardieu, Ma Verite, Haut Medoc, 2002.
Well, the aromas wafting out of the glass simply blew me away - wow. It was very tight on the palate, though, needing decanting. It slowly opened up to show off a complex rich wine that is one of the best I have ever tasted. And so approachable for such a young bordeaux. This is the winner. So, yes, celebrities can make good wine that I would buy despite the name on the label!!