The Independent recently published a very generous edited extract from A Heddonist in the Cellar; Adventures in Wine,by Jay McInerney.
A few sample paragraphs:
When I had lunch at the restored 16th-century chateau this past spring with Clarence's granddaughter, Joan, the Duchess of Mouchy, I asked about the legend that Dillon had not even bothered to get off the train in Bordeaux in order to see [Haut Brion] before he purchased it. "That's absurd," she said. "He looked at several properties, including Haut-Brion." He was halfway across the Atlantic on his way home when he got a telegram from his agent saying that Haut-Brion was still available, but that he would have to act fast. He replied: "Act fast."
I have yet to be disappointed by a bottle of Haut-Brion. Unlike its northerly peers, it can be delicious in its youth, and yet it improves for decades, becoming - like a person of strong character, like Joan Dillon or Jean Delmas, I suspect - more idiosyncratic with time, more unmistakably itself. More perticular, as Pepys would say.
Don't roll your eyes. Get over your Blue Nun/Black Tower prejudice. I'd urge you to try German riesling because it's delicious, but I fear you'll be more impressed if I tell you it's cutting edge. That, after all, is what we want to know - what's now and happening. (Do you really think clunky square-toed shoes make your feet look better than those with slimming, tapered toes? You just wear them because that's what fashion dictates, you slut.) Your sommelier knows that German riesling in its semi-dry form currently represents the best white wine value and that it's the most food-friendly wine on the planet. The classic '04 vintage affords a great opportunity to get acquainted with it.
La Tour d'Argent's dedication to the wine-drinker's pleasure is perhaps best reflected by the number of bottles that are unavailable for immediate drinking; recent, immature vintages are listed without price, alongside the phrase en vieillissement. They are maturing. Want to drink a '96 bordeaux? You'll have to wait. La Tour d'Argent is one of the few restaurants in the world that truly sells no wine before its time.