I only own one bottle of red Bordeaux and I have decided that is all I am ever going to own. Even if I become fabulously rich I am never going to buy another bottle of Claret.
Why? It is simply that Claret rarely interests me. The bottles I have had that I have found interesting have all been mind-bendingly expensive (generally supplied by friends) and I just don’t feel the need to spend that much money on wine, even if I had that much money. As good as something like [link2post id=”1706″]La Mission Haut-Brion 1975[/link2post] is, can it really be worth six hundred pounds a bottle? Never six hundred pounds of my money, that is for sure.
More affordable Claret I find to be dull. They lack charm, interest and excitement. Yes, they may be balanced, elegant and intellectual, but loveliness is a character usually absent. I like wine to be an intellectual pleasure, but I also want to feel happy when I have a glass of it. Red Bordeaux is perilously short on hedonistic pleasure.
Even when mid-range Claret is made in a modern (dare I say Parkerised?)-style it is simply a big, tannic wine, it doesn’t gain any charm. These wines might be riper than more minimalist Clarets, but they are not any easier to drink and still lack that all-important loveliness-factor.
Cheap Claret is, of course, utterly undrinkable. Hard, miserable and tannic, often thin and fruitless. When I have worked for various wine merchants I have always had uncharitable thoughts about people when they have asked for a sub-ten pound bottle of Bordeaux; the wine will not simply lack pleasure but be actively nasty. Cheap Claret is not even worth buying for the sake of getting drunk.
My distaste for Claret will not prevent me from drinking bottles provided by others, I cannot dictate what other people want to open, but I am simply not going to buy another bottle of red Bordeaux in my life. I’ll drink the single bottle I own when I take it out of the cellar this summer (and find it charmless); after that my wine collection will be forever Claret free. Good.
Hmm! Certainly there are more cost effective means of enjoying yourself than claret. But surely price is not the only issue when evaluating quality. I would be very sad to be without the prospect of a little Haut Brion when the mood takes me that way. Good claret is good. As good burgundy is good. Equally bad burgundy is just as nasty (if not even more so because of the disappointment)as nasty claret. I would counsel you against limiting yourself in anyway. Enjoy the rich tapestry of pleasure in all its multifold manifestations.