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Anthony Pollo's picture

Many wines left their mark in our personal history, on the occasion of special occasions. But which ones are able to place themselves in the world story ? Then, by their singularity and the avant-gardism of their producers, here there are 10 bottles which left their mark on the history :


1) Perrier-Jouët 1856: The Champagne's producers are among the first ones to work the marketing and to adapt their production to the consumers. In the mid-nineteenth century, the region exports the majority of its production, especially toward England and Russia (isn' it Roederer ?). But the English are a bit tired of the medium sweet wines, because at that time, a bottle of Champgne could contain more than 200 grams of sugar. Then Perrier-Jouët, Victoria Queen's supplier since 1861, decides to reduce the dosage and put no more than 30 grams. Despite a sceptical reception, this style "Brut" gradually imposes as the reference of the "Belle Epoque". And the dosage continuing to drop: less than 12 grams today for a "Brut".


2) Marques de Riscal 1895: The second half of the XIXth century is rich in events in the wine history (phylloxéra, classification of 1855, ...), especially by the coming of many contests. France, the wolrd reference, organises a competition in Bordeaux in 1895. Dom Camilo Hurtado de Amezaga, alias Marquês de Riscal, decides to register his wine from Rioja. To his surprise, he wins a diploma of honour, becoming the first foreign wine to get this award. So, this is the proof that, others terroirs, well worked, can compete with the best, considered at that time.


3) Peterlongo 1913: I confess, this one is really subjective...but I can jusitify it ;-) The wine story in Brasil starts with the Portugues colonisers. But the Italian immigration in the South is the turning point. Today, if Brasil is reknowned for its "espumantes", it's largely due to Manoel Peterlongo. Immigrant from Trentino, he starts his business of sparkling wines in 1913, in the Garibaldi area. He enjoyed a great success and a lot of producers include a sparkling in their range. The interest grows and in the 1970's, many foreign companies bring their technology and wine-makers to revolutionise the Brasilian viticulture.


4) Chateau Mouton-Rotschild 1924: In 1922, from all of his 20 years of age, Philippe de Rotschild takes up the reins of the familial business. Two years later, he decides no to sell his wine in barrels to the merchands, but imposes the whole production bottled in the Château. Then the term "mis en bouteille au château" becomes a sign of trust towards the consumers. Why ? To keep the quality of the wine without run the risk of a bad conservation by the merchands or adulterate it in bulk, and to protect the reputation of the company. By the way, 1924 is the first year when the Baron asks to Jean Carlu to draw a label. Do you remember ?


5) Tignanello 1971: Italy knows a important economic crisis in the 1960's and the Chianti are sold with low price. Some producers decide to do something, like Piero Antinori. He plants some French grapes, whereas the DOC forbids it. In 1971, he creates a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. In front of the ban to name his wine "Chianti", Tignanello comes from the original plot of the grapes. In the same time, his uncle, Mario Incisa della Rocchetta, commercialises his Sassicaia. And then born the "Super Toscans".


6) Château Montelena Chardonnay 1973: Improbable, unthinkable but true: the victory of the Chardonnay 1973 of Château Montelena in the Jugement of Paris in 1976, completly moved the wine industry, not only in the Napa Valley, but in the New World too. Blind, the Jim Barrett's work defeated the greats from Burgundy. Likewise the Cabernet Sauvignon 1973 of Stag's Leap beaten the Mouton or Haut-Brion. The charism of Steve Spurrier and a little page in the Time will be sufficient at that time to open the eyes and the taste buds of the consumers about this New World.


7) Opus One 1979: Speaking about this New World, the Baron de Rothschild is looking for a partnership to produce a great wine, out of France. The meeting with Robert Mondavi is decisive and gives birth to Opus One. As soon as the launch of the vintage 1979 in 1984, the price exceeds 50$. Mythical wine today, he has inheritors: Torres, Perrin or Drouhin invested outside, looking for the excellence and boosting the New World viticulture.


8) Petrus 1982: After a catastrophic decade in Bordeaux, 1982 looks like a miracle. At that time, an American wine critic, not really well knowned, is one of the first to recognise the quality of this vintage, contrary to his colleagues: Robert Parker. For the first time, the note of 100 is attributed to Petrus, Mouton and Léoville-Las-Casas. The Americans buy a lot of crates and the Châteaux get used to the American palate more opulent, named Parkerisation. Today, the Parker's notes made a lot of emulators and the speculation continues to climb !


9) Château Lafite 1787: Among the closed club of the 5 first Premiers Crus Classés of Bordeaux, Château Lafite is one of the most expensive in the world. But in 1985, during an auction, Malcolm Forbes purchases the vintage 1787 for 160 000 $. A record at that time ! But more than its age, the initials "TH. J." engrave in the glass, contributing to make this bottle a myth because indicating that it belonged no more, no less to Thomas Jefferson, the third President of United States and wine lover. Few years later, the authenticity of these initials were contested, prompting a scandal. And in all likelihood, these letters could be false. From that, producers and legislators continue to improve the methods against the fraud.


10) Ne Oublie 1882: Porto lover, this bottle is a myth ! Andrew James Symington decides in the XIXth century to leave United Kingdom for Portugal. In 1882, he arrives in the Douro and acquires 4 barrels of a unknowned Porto. With the time, "the part of angels" does its work. Until 2014, it were only 3 barrels, but one of its was bottled by the Symington family (Graham's owner). 656 bottles are outputs for an experience, according to the amateurs, totally unforgettable: "Ne Oublie".


Here, there is a non-exhautive list of the key wines in the history. Obviously, indulge youself in the comments to complete this oenological inventory, which is already salivating taste buds. 

Find all the articles on "Etlevinfût" website : 



White wines and champagnes
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