Last week was a special week for me as I received my last pay check from my previous employer. An event that required some sort of celebration with some good friends.
Of the many bottles opened during that evening was a Leoville Lascases 1988. This Bordeaux wine from St. Julien is second Grand cru classee but it has the quality of a first growth. This chateau was also the wine that made me change from beer to wine as I had the pleasure of tasting a Leoville Lascases 1945 back in 88.
The 1945 just knocked me off my guard and I remember thinking what a fantastic wine it was and what an experience to drink this wine from the year when world war 2 ended. I was in shock and I then just decided to enter into the world of wine.
I have always had a soft spot for this chateau ever since. And to my pleasure it has been performing well at much more reasonable prices than the much more expensive first growths in the 1855 classification.
Nowadays a bottle of this wine costs around 180€ while a premier grand cru classee is at 4-600€.
I have kept this bottle in my cellar since 2008 when I lived in Paris. During the wine sale in the French supermarkets in the autumn I went to the local Casino to buy some missing items for the weekend and as always I popped around the wine section to see if they had some hidden gems I could buy.
And there among all the cheap generic Bordeaux wines at around 5€ was three bottles of Leoville.
The famous 1988 vintage.
In the local Casino.
For only 52€.
I could not believe it.
I took all three.
Went to the check out desk with my onions and potatoes.
Put the three bottles of Leoville 88 on the counter.
The bottles did not have a bar code.
So the woman at the counter had to get the price confirmed by an assistant as she thought the wines were awfully expensive.
I just smiled and was hiding my fair that the price was wrong- more like 120€ really.
To my relief, the price was correct but the woman still could not believe the total bill of 160€ for three bottles of wine, onions and potatoes.
I on the other side, was shaking as I went to the Mini Cooper to drive home.
A thought that has been haunting me of course for more than a decade now is the quality of the bottles.
So when one of them was opened last week I was awfully worrried.
But to my relief it was perfect.
Just how I remembered the 1945 was.
Memories came flooding back.
Of my conversion from beer to wine.
And what an amazing journey life has been ever since.
Life is indeed too short to drink bad wine.