On July 28, an icon was born. A lady with poise, mystery and bravery. A lady so well known, yet little understood.
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Jackie O.
As the First Lady and alive, or just a memory in 2021, Jackie stood out. Great Châteaus are a lot like that too, creators of consistently infatuating wines, be it 1929 or 2016. Of course, certain years stand out. We’ll never forget 1969 when she refused to take off that blood-stained dress.
And we’ll never forget the 2016 vintage from Chateau Coutet’s flagship Émeri Cuvée. An elegant Right Bank lady.
So much personality from such a small frame. Only 300 bottles of this dynamic wine were produced, and we have just a few bottles left.
That’s the point of this series. Just as a day and a year pass, so precious and finite, as does a vintage. The good ones are like warm memories, worth holding on to. The year 1929 brought us Jackie, and the year 2016 brought us Émeri.
It started out rainy and ended quite dry, conditions the vineyard’s organic clay-limestone soils handled quite well. In fact, Coutet is Bordeaux’s oldest organic wine grower known. They never took the easy route, believing that healthy soils make the most fascinating wines.
The Émeri Cuvée is made without machinery. Next level organic. It could easily take on the most recent marketing fad of claiming to be “natural,” but they don’t harp on these things, because they’ve been practicing this viticulture since the early 1600s. The winery has been within the family for 14 generations!
Just as Jackie was a trendsetter, so is Coutet, with most of the region following suit after realizing that organic practices make for the best representation of place. And when you’re from Saint-Émilion, place is important. After all, the region is known for some of the world’s most expensive and prolific wines.
Sure, she had the name to lift her up. From Onassis to Kennedy. Coutet was one of the region’s first Grand Cru Classé wines in the region. Tradition! YET, both Jackie and Coutet made sure to step out on their own, not depend upon pedigree to thrive.
Wines that set trends, not followed.
Which leads me to fashion.
The Émeri Cuvée bottle is four years in the making. Coutet sought out France’s most talented glass blowers to craft ancestry. Not so long ago, the family uncovered a bottle from the year 1750 in their underground cellar. It was quite particular because of a heart-shaped stopper, the oldest full bottle from the region. More fascinating than the shape was the seal. A wine from 1750 and nearly nothing lost from evaporation!
Just as we mimicked the “Jackie Look,” based upon French couture, Coutet sought to shape Émeri Cuvée, based upon a classic and clean, yet unique look.
You see, the point of this series is to connect. I’ve always believed that a big part of terroir includes people, culture…so surely whatever happened on this day, this year, plays a role? That’s what we’ll explore, and at least we’ll be all the wiser.