Wine Talk

Snooth User: ScottLauraH

Drinking very old wine

Posted by ScottLauraH, Sep 28, 2011.

Thursday evening I will have the opportunity to taste a wine that was made twenty years before I was born.  I have never tasted a wine that old, and I'm very excited. 

The wine is a 1960 Chateau Bellevue Grand Cru St. Emilion.  My boss said the wine will likely be gone, but it will still be quite an experience. 

I'm sure many of you have tasted old wines before.  What did you think of the experience?

1 2 next

Replies

7127
2921
Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Sep 28, 2011.

Well before I talk about drinking old wine allow me to suggest a few thingsWith wine this old several steps are in order to increase the odds of having a good experience with the wine. 

 

1 - Stand it up for several days before uncorking it.

2 - keep the wine cool, say 60F

3 -  Assume the cork will desintegrate. Use an ah-so to remove the cork but add the extra protection of using the screw from a scewpull to secure the cork. I illustrate the technique here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBdgn3AlkYo

4 - Taste the wine when the cork is pulled, it will most likely seem shot, but maybe not. If it seems liek crap be patient, let the wine sit in the bottle for an hour or two, then check again. With slow oxygenation many an old wine has revived itself at least enough to give a glimpse of it's grandeur.

5 - when the wine seems ready to go very gently decant it off the sediment and serve.

Enjoy the wine, unless it's totally shot there is always something to learn from old wines. It's going to be delkicate, and savory. with acid showing and probably not much left in the way of tannin or fruit, but it should be complex and aromatic, earthy and damp with tobacco notes. Please let us know how it goes and I hope you get a great experience out fo the bottle!

0
2747
Reply by gregt, Sep 28, 2011.

To which I would only add, next time tell your boss to get something that will in fact still have plenty of life at that age, maybe like, oh. . . let's say . . . something from Rioja . . .

75
2484
Reply by JonDerry, Sep 28, 2011.

Great run-down GDP, I prefer using an ah-so for removing corks from young wines also.

45
148
Reply by ScottLauraH, Sep 28, 2011.

Thanks GDP.  We have the wine standing here in the store at 60 degrees, as you suggest.  We also have an ah so and a candle and decanter ready.  I'm going to suggest that we open the wine a couple of hours early. 

I have been told that in a couple of weeks we will have a 1958 Barolo to taste.  That will be interesting as well!

7127
2921
Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Sep 28, 2011.

58 Barolo now you're talking! I'm guessing Borgogno. That can be a killer wine. You have to find out if the scapsule is red or black. That wine can take a tone of time to open up so be really patient!

45
148
Reply by ScottLauraH, Sep 28, 2011.

GDP, I know no other details other than 58 Barolo.  I will pry and see what I can find out.  I haven't gotten to see the bottle yet. 

I have to say that yesterday, when the '60 was brought in, I totally geeked out about it.  I was excited just to touch the bottle and read the label.  I'm treating the bottle like a baby.  I keep going back to check on it when there are no customers.  As if it will get up and walk away!! 

20
6219
Reply by dmcker, Sep 29, 2011.

I posted something here about eight hours ago that showed then, but now has disappeared. Hmmm...

I'm noticing a lot of flighty behavior in the page views, last-post-notifications on the thread-list page, etc. Any comments on stability from Mark, Chris, et al., I wonder???

7127
2921
Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Sep 29, 2011.

I've seen things disappear as well but the always seem to rappear so I haven't a clue what is going on.

Another successful day!

Winner!

800
288
Reply by Chris Carpita, Sep 29, 2011.

Thanks for the report guys.  It looks like one of our slave databases is having some issues, so I'm cutting it off from the site.  Will figure out a way to this automatically in the future, but it seems to be a pretty rare occurrence.

270
524
Reply by duncan 906, Sep 30, 2011.

Older wines are sometimes to be found on www.bidforwine.co.uk. Last year I had a 1985 Chateau Lamothe Premier Cotes de Bordeaux which was a lovely claret and at 12 pounds for three bottles was not expensive.I have recently bought,but not yet drunk a 1976 Mercurey,a 1971 and a 1988 Bordeaux Superior and a 1986 Clos Trimoulet St Emillion Grand Cru.There is a magnum of 1908 Chateau Latour on the site at the moment but the seller is looking for £2,500 which is a lot especially if it is no longer drinkable 

667
1099
Reply by zufrieden, Oct 1, 2011.

Drinking old wine is a little like investigating the smells, texture and nuances of very old clothing, furniture or books.  I say "a little like" because we are not normally able to consume the contents of an old box of cigars from pre-Castro Cuba or wear an old Napoleonic uniform of the Imperial Guard.

Often the wine itself is not particularly appetizing and can throw off the casual wine-drinker with the medicinal qualities that often replace fruit and tannin.  If you like old, I suggest you try to get access to some vintage Port.  Now there you have a good chance (assuming cellaring was reasonable) of drinking a venerable wine of even 100 years that is not only interesting in the ways described by others in this thread, but actually enjoyable.

Which brings me to my point:  I enjoy wine as food - food of the gods, to be sure - but food all the same.  Like all food, wine has a life with a beginning, a middle and an end.  You normally do not find a man or woman on their deathbeds very sexy or appealling though, of course, there may be exceptions.  Optimality is the key word to apply when keeping wine (or drinking some heirloom or another).  But for me, a 50 year old brownish, flat, past-due-date beverage is on the menu for edification only.

I hope your 1960 was enjoyable all the same; at least you can say you had a rare opportunity to taste some fading glory (though if claret, I'd want a '61)!

;-)

0
2747
Reply by gregt, Oct 1, 2011.

Zu - not for nothing but this thread was going somewhere interesting.  We're talking about mysterious disappearances and slaves (!) and you bring it to deathbeds!!!!

0
1
Reply by bagganinny, Oct 2, 2011.

I know this all too well!  My father has a sizeable wine collection with quite a bit still left from the early and mid-1960's (and he had a stroke in 2003 which left him loathing the taste of all red wine...a bizare side-effect with some strokes).  So -- as his caregiver -- I now have one MAJOR perk to this job because I have soul dibs on this aging collection....Yes, about half of the really old (pr-1975 or so) bottles tend to be a bust in some way (failed corks, or peaked long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away, not a varietal -- like pinots -- that has that kind of legs, etc.) but, suprisingly, the other half, while obviously no longer at their primes are still quite drinkable (and many are very unique experiences).  Despite the bad ones, I find the still quaffable ones totally fascinating.  Most people know the guessing game of breaking out a young wine and wondering/debating what it will become in a few years -- but doing this kind of exploration post-peak, when you can augment your experience with what people have already written about the wine when it was at it's height....I find it a totally new and excellent facet in the exploration of wines.

270
524
Reply by duncan 906, Oct 2, 2011.

There are a lot of variables with wine over 10 years old and the main one is the conditions it has been kept in.The ideal would be a cool cellar on its side and  not ideal would be upright in a warm kitchen

20
2631
Reply by Richard Foxall, Oct 2, 2011.

Okay, it's kind of sexist, so I held off, but Zu brought up the "sexy old person," so I have to share this quote from the Maestro, Andre Tchelistcheff:

"Appreciating old wine is like making love to a very old lady.  It is possible.  It can even be enjoyable.  But it requires a bit of imagination."  

I'm sure that holds true for males as well. If you want more wine quotes to make you laugh, go here. If you don't know who the Maestro was, here's the Wiki--it's good enough for starters. My revelatory wine was one of his BV cabs from the late 60s. That's a wine I'd be willing to try again today. His presence--all 4'11" of it--still looms over winemaking, even as we debate whether Napa cabs are just fruit bombs. I first read the quote in "The Billionaire's Vinegar," a book featuring my one-time boss Bill Koch and the eponymous billionaire. Lots of info there about the kind of person who buys really, really old wine.

36
70
Reply by 1 jayjay, Oct 2, 2011.

Foxall

"Appreciating old wine is like making love to a very old lady" you dont know my wife then

on an average day its good on a good day its something worth savoring and she has all the imagination we need. A bit like the very best of old wines " if you find one you like enjoy "

20
2631
Reply by Richard Foxall, Oct 2, 2011.

1JJ--love that.  I just told my wife last week when we were attending a 50th b-day party (lots of those this year, and ours are just around the corner) that she was way more attractive than some 25 year old.  It's no big deal to be hot at 25, and it's like a teen driver with a Ferrari--enthusiasm doesn't make up for a lack of skill, often the opposite.  But to look like she did--classy but gorgeous--also reflects the years of getting to that place.

Now, we'll see how it is when we are going to 80th birthday parties, or our kids' 50ths.  Note that AT said, "very old lady..."

No, I don't know your wife, but I'm glad for you that you do!

45
148
Reply by ScottLauraH, Oct 3, 2011.

Gentlemen, I can only hope my husband views me in that way twenty years from now.... 

Zufrieden, thank you for the suggestion of finding an older port.  That would be quite the experience. 

Bagganinny, you are quite lucky to have access to such a wine collection.  I would imagine that it's quite fun to select a bottle for drinking.  Each bottle is a mystery until you open it and taste it. 

45
148
Reply by ScottLauraH, Oct 3, 2011.

I posted on the actual experience: what happened when we opened the wine and as we drank it, but I cannot find the post. 

36
70
Reply by 1 jayjay, Oct 3, 2011.

S L H i'm sure he will

i must second the idea of trying old ports , as i love port and have a few mates that love it to we tend to try an old one now and then but these days we only get together two times a year so we miss out on what used to be some very good times (i will see them in two weeks for a three day holiday, just the lads and no wife should be good) i have an 18 year old Dowes to try.

1 2 next



Continue to the end of the thread to reply
Back to Categories

Top Contributors This Month

324443 Snooth User: outthere
324443outthere
66 posts
125836 Snooth User: dmcker
125836dmcker
62 posts
847804 Snooth User: EMark
847804EMark
58 posts

Categories

View All





Snooth Media Network