Wine Talk

Snooth User: carl242

Looking for an affordable 1981 wine at its peak for my 30'th

Original post by carl242, Oct 18, 2010.

Hi there, 

                My 30th is coming up in March. One of the things I've wanted to do since I was about 6 is to drink a red wine from the year I was born (81).  I don't have the type of money to blow 1000's of dollars on a wine or buy a case to ensure the wine is about to peak (probably a bit late to do that anyway).  Does anyone have any good suggestions on a wine from this vintage that is ready? I'm looking at spending $250 max, and will probably drink it with some close friends/family and a good bolognaise.  



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Reply by carl242, Mar 16, 2011.

Nice.  Unfortunately (well, not really) I'm already having to split this bottle 7 ways . . .  maybe I do need that 2nd bottle . . .

Reply by dmcker, Mar 18, 2011.

Carl, sounds like a second bottle is a requirement! ;-)

Affguy, I'd go with the rabbit pate, fusili with shortrib ragu or teasmoked quail starter (unless you're drinking something different with the starter like a Meursault white in which case I'd skip the ragu), and the wagyu tenderloin, porkshoulder or maybe roasted chicken with porcini custard for the main.

Bon apetit! Tell us how it went...

Reply by carl242, Mar 19, 2011.

It was a success! The wine was very good, though I couldn't have imagined how different an experience would be. If you care to read about it, check out my blog post

Thanks everyone for the input!

Reply by Richard Foxall, Mar 19, 2011.

Took a look at the blog--great stuff.  I think very few wines would make it to 30, and decanting it accelerated the "falling apart" aspect, but given the cork issue, not a ton of choice.  Many wines are amazing at 20--including the best Cali Cabs--and Barolos and some northern Rhones are sometimes not even drinkable much before that, but if you drink older things, get a cork puller--the kind that slides down the sides rather than drills in.  Not perfect, but more reliable IMO with old corks. Still, proceed with caution.  Thanks for sharing this with all of us.

Now, what are you going to do when you turn 50?

Reply by carl242, Mar 19, 2011.

Lol thanks for the advice. Maybe at 50 it'll be a Spanish wine or a distilled spirit :)

Reply by Richard Foxall, Mar 19, 2011.

Well, you already know that the Ports aren't an option.  Anything at 50 is going to be a novelty, except maybe a Sauternes.  Even if your birth year had been auspicious for wine, 50 is pushing it. BTW, you might want to check some of the older threads about "birth year bottles."  Most of the time it's a wine lover who wants BYBs for his (sometimes her) kids to give them when they turn 21.  Even that is a big challenge.

If you are going to do a 50 year bottle, might want to start looking now, since they will become rarer and rare over time.  Just a suggestion. 

Anyway, glad to see you here on Snooth.  Hope you will stick around, even though your project is done. The Bay Area is pretty well represented, and a few of us use the private message function to alert each other to good buys in the area and wine events.

Reply by dmcker, Mar 19, 2011.

Hey, I've had plenty of 50 year old bottles that are far more than 'novelties'. Barolos, Riojas, Bordeauxs and Burgundies. Takes careful selection at that point, and knowing the provenance well, but they can definitely knock your socks off, even if in a more gently seductive way....

Ports and Madeiras and Tokajis don't really count. They're still relative youngsters at that point. ;-)

Reply by hhotdog, Mar 20, 2011.

D good to hear from you here! hope all is going well. 

hmmm... my oldest son is 19 now going on 20?  any good suggestiuons for 1991?  Barolo's,Amorone's, Barolos? Rioja's or maybe some Bordeaux's?  aiming high since it's in it's early thoughts!  my little one's are 4 and 7 this year.  gotta start thinking bout them as well soon!

Reply by Richard Foxall, Mar 20, 2011.

hhotdog:  I just got a solicitation for 1991 Cab from, so it's definitely out there.  There are probably a few from that year that are holding up well. I would also check have a lot of things purchased from good cellars.  Also, they tell you about the bottle conditions and you can call them and ask more questions.

D:  I did overstate--there are going to be wines that bring pleasure in that age bracket, but the advice to the OP was that his birth year wasn't auspicious for age-worthy wines.  A 1961 Inglenook might be good right now, but 1981 was considered dodgy by everyone with an opinion.  How old is wine before it falls into Tchelistcheff's "very old wine" maxim, which I have shared with you before?

Reply by Stephen Harvey, Mar 21, 2011.


1991 was pretty good for Aussie wine, Wynns, Penfolds, Henschke amongst others

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