We are lucky enough to have friends who are not only into wine and have incredible collections of wine we could never afford, but are also kind enough to open some of their prized bottles with us. One of our friends recently had a major birthday, and in celebration decided to go all-out on the wines.  As a result, we not only got to try some legendary wines, but it got us thinking…  Are 100 point wines worth it?

The Wines

mission_haut-brion_10kbottlesThe birthday night began with a 2004 Cristal, finished with a 1983 Château D’Yquem, and they also opened up a 1990 La Mission Haut-Brion. As we said, we’re very lucky to have such great friends.  Then for the main show – he opened up a 1990 Château Cheval Blanc and a vertical of Château Angélus (1)  – 1990, 1995, 1998, 2005, and 2009.

The Blog

So, what is the point of this blog post (other than to shamelessly brag about what incredible wines we got to drink in a night)? We figured as wine geeks, who very rarely get to drink so many great and famous bottles next to each other, this would be the perfect opportunity to think about what a 100 point rating of wine means. Within the lineup, there was one wine Robert Parker gave 100 points to. And even better than that, we didn’t know which wine it was until we looked it up the next day.

100 Point Wines

But let’s back up. What does a 100 point wine mean? In the late 1970s, Robert Parker came up with the 100 point rating system for wine – rating the wines he tasted between 50 and 100 points. 100 points is the perfect score. He rarely gives out this score (unless it’s a Bordeaux wine in 2009), and when Parker gives 100 points to a wine, the price often rises dramatically. There are numerous other wine critics who also use the 100 point system, so if one sees a wine store or internet site advertising a 100 point wine, it is often another critic’s rating as opposed to Robert Parker’s.

The Ranking

While all the wines (other than the 1990 Château Angélus, which was slightly corked) were great, here is Jordan’s ranking from best to worst (or should we say best to least best) of the red wines at the party:

  1. chateau_angelus_10bottles1990 Château Cheval Blanc
  2. 1995 Château Angélus
  3. 1998 Château Angélus
  4. 2005 Château Angélus
  5. 1990 La Mission Haut-Brion
  6. 2009 Château Angélus
  7. 1990 Château Angélus (that was slightly corked)

Here is Heather’s ranking:

  1. 1990 Château Cheval Blanc
  2. 1995 Château Angélus
  3. 2005 Château Angélus
  4. 2009 Château Angélus
  5. 1990 La Mission Haut-Brion
  6. 1998 Château Angélus
  7. 1990 Château Angélus (that was slightly corked).

So Which Wine was the 100 Pointer?

Considering our rankings, when we looked the wines up the next morning, we were a bit surprised to see which wine actually received Robert Parker’s perfect score.  If you don’t know (like we didn’t) which one it was, do you want to guess? Well, here’s the answer. The 2005 Château Angélus. Jordan’s fourth and Heather’s third place of the seven wine.  For comparison, Robert Parker originally gave the 1990 Château Cheval Blanc a 98+.

This was a fun and great opportunity for us as we rarely have a Robert Parker 100 point wine, and even more rarely have it in a group of great wines. And, if this experience told us anything (other than that we have some AMAZING friends), it told us the Parker 100 point score means almost nothing to us, as it was not even close to either of our favorite wine of the night. It’s good to know that Robert Parker’s wine with the perfect score didn’t stand out – this will help us save money in the future.

  1. chateau-angelus-casino-royale_10KbottlesFor those unfamiliar with Château Angélus – it is one of wines from St. Emilion (near Bordeaux, France) where we explained in the blog March Madness and Wine: Saint-Emilion’s Wine Classification that in an earlier blog, how this wine would be classified as one of the final four of St. Emilion. Or, for you James Bond movie geeks, Château Angélus is the wine that James Bond (Daniel Craig) and Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) drink on the train when they first meet each other in the 2006 film Casino Royale.
  2. Sideways_Miles_Cheval_Blanc_10kbottlesFor those who don’t know Château Cheval Blanc, it is another final four of St. Emilion wines, or for the movie geeks, in the movie Sideways, a 1961 Château Cheval Blanc is the prize bottle of Miles (played by Paul Giamatti), a bottle that plays a key role in the plot.

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