Wine Talk

Snooth User: Jenny Love

Advice on buying vintage wine from 1964

Original post by Jenny Love, Mar 3, 2012.

Hi I don't know much about wine and am looking to purchase wine from 1964 for a special gift.  I looked at various reputable sites but it is impossible to tell what could be good for the value. How is Castrijo Gran Reserva 1964?  It sounded good and was decently priced, found while researching online, from a reputable wine store, but having not much knowledge about wine, I am cautious about buying my first vintage wine. I would appreciate advice from those who are knowledgeable about buying vintage wine, and this particular year and the kind of wine.   Thank you very much.

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Mar 8, 2012.

D, I'm as guilty as anyone when it comes to going off on a tangent. Just saying. ;-)

The Asimov article was very circumspect about when to decant, but the warning was consistent with D's comments.  Only reason to mention a decanting cradle was to give an option in case your friend doesn't stand the bottle up, which is preferable. I would recommend using a cork puller (Ah-so or Butler's Friend are other names) or, if you know someone who has lots of old wine, borrowing one of these:

(There was a picture of a Durand here.)

It's a corkscrew plus corkpuller combo (I know, lots of readers will know about them), each of which can be had for about $10, but put them together and they cost... well, a lot. Manufactured by Durand.

Pretty good blogpost on opening and drinking older wine.

Reply by dmcker, Mar 9, 2012.

Big mistake not to stand the bottle up for a few days. Something like that ain't exactly a pop 'n pour from Trader Joe's!   ;-)   Otherwise, even with a careful decant, sediment will still be in the wine making it murky and affecting its flavor...

And good links to post, Fox!

Reply by Richard Foxall, Mar 9, 2012.

I agree with D that it's a big mistake.  Unfortunately, mistakes made by failure to think ahead are pretty much why lawyers have jobs. 

But that raises an interesting point:  Should one EVER order older wine in a restaurant?  No way even a restaurant with a name for serving older vintages can know what will be ordered in a matter of a few days, and they aren't going to store it standing up for fear the cork will dry out, shrink, and crumble.  So it comes to your table from being stored on its side and, if the service is good, it's delivered via cradle at best. 

Library wines and Gran Reservas from Spain, drunk at home:  Your best bet.  But that's narrowing the field an awful lot.  Or Stelvin closures and storing the wine upright to begin with.

Speaking of older wines, and provenance, check the thread I'm starting called, "Counterfeit Burgundy."

Reply by dmcker, Mar 9, 2012.

Stelvin with older wine: oxymoron.

If the bottles are stored at a slant or even on their sides and the restaurant knows what they're doing in bringing the bottle to table, then things are manageable. They get to earn their tip. Decanting might be more preferable in that instance than generally, though I'm still reticent. When I've known I'm going somewhere for a special, aged bottle on their list I have called ahead to have them prepare it, though of course that's not always possible. And when I BYOB my own aged bottles I make it a point to get them to the restaurant (or friend's house, whatever) several days ahead of time.

BTW, Fox, check your PMs.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Mar 9, 2012.

Stelvins going forward, I'm saying.

Reply by Refined Bohemian, Feb 19, 2014.

I don't know if anyone will still be interested in responding to this 2 year old thread ... but here goes!  In late winter or early spring of 2013 my husband & I were wondering up First Avenue in NYC (east village), and just randomly happened on a wine tasting at Tinto Fino. The wine that nearly brought us to our knees was Castrijo Gran Reserva 1964. The price was much more than we usually spend, but we took a business card and could not forget this wine!  We eventually purchased a bottle May 1, 2013, put it on the shelf in a closet and sort of forget about it ... that is until Valentines Day 2014. We knew that there were no guarantees for an wine of this vintage -- but I am here to tell you it was a beautiful bottle of wine!  It's the kind of wine that leaves you wanting more!  Tinto Fino is no longer there ... shut ... cerrado ... gone :-(    Does anyone out there know if this wine is still available anywhere else?  Thanks!

Reply by EMark, Feb 19, 2014.

Well, RB, Wine Searcher pointed to Tinto Fino.  There is a Tinto Fino web site, and, according to that, they have 6 bottles left.  Since their brick and mortar facility is no more, there is no guarantee that this web site is proof positive that they are still in business.  However, this is a path you can try pretty easily.

1000 Corks points to Flatiron Wines & Spirits in NYC, but their web site does not seem to support the contention that they have it.

You might be out of luck, RB.  :-(

The good news, though, is that there is still a lot of good wine out there.  :-)

Reply by GregT, Feb 20, 2014.

It was brought in by some very good friends of mine. You won't find it anywhere else - they specifically look for orphaned wine like that and worked with TInto Fino to manage the retail end.

But that was a great and legendary vintage so you can find wine that is as good if you're willing to pay for RIoja from 1964. And if you're interested in such wines, there is only one place I know of that you'll be able to find them, and it's the site I'm linking to. BTW, if you're interested in Spanish wine, there are few if any people who know more about it than the people involved with this project.

Reply by Jenny Love, Mar 26, 2014.

Hi I started this thread two years ago. We actually did not open the bottle until yesterday. In case anyone is still interested about this vintage, I wanted to share the experience with those who were so kind with their advice.  I did set the bottle upright for about a week before we opened it. As I feared, the cork did break when we opened the bottle, but it was quickly resolved and we managed to get it out. We let the bottle sit then for about ten minutes and tried a sip. It was interesting, not at all vinegary as I had feared but a bit like cognac or something.  Then about thirty minutes later, it had changed, so smooth, like different wine altogether.  An hour later, it was amazing, hard to describe, but this velvety smooth gorgeous taste, we marveled at the way the same wine could taste so different gradually.  It was truly an incredible vintage wine experience!  I am sad to hear that Tinto Fino is now shut where this was originally purchased two years ago. It was a special, lovely place.

Reply by dmcker, Mar 26, 2014.

Glad to hear, Jenny, that you were able to share in the wine, and that the experience was so good for you and the giftee. These are the kind of eye-opening epiphanies that shape our futures as fine-wine enjoyers, searchers, bon-vivants, what have you--hey, even Snoothers. And that open up another place for  true joy in our lives...

Reply by JonDerry, Mar 26, 2014.

Definitely smiled wide while reading this Jenny, and well put D.

Now to go find some '64 Rioja...

Reply by Richard Foxall, Mar 28, 2014.

Jenny, Thanks for reporting back.  Love these stories.  And nice work, D!

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