Wine Talk

Snooth User: EMark

Probably Best as Drain Cleaner

Posted by EMark, Aug 17, 2012.

My brother-in-law is a truly great guy.  He is the kind of person who makes friends wherever he goes.

Recently, he helped the family of a screen writer dispose of the assets of the writer's estate.  A month or so ago, the family entertained him in Las Vegas.  At dinner one night they brought out some pretty amazing wines (Bordeaux 1st Growths) from the estate cellar.  Well, according to K.C. it was fun was more in breaking into these treaures than actually drinking them.

Today, Peggy came home with some gifts from her brother--some more bottles from the estate.  Look at these and let me know if you can tell me anything.  Also, let me know if you would like me to clarify anything on the labels that my feeble photography fails to properly represent.  I really do not have any optimism for these wines.  You can see from the condidtion of the bottles that they have not been pampered.  So, this is just a fun exercise.

Cune Rioja Clarete 1968


Heritiers Crozet 1962 Moulin a Vent Carquelin--This one appears to be a Beaujolais.


Unlabeled Magnum -- Importer's label indicates that it is Red Bordeaux Table Wine and the importer is Ezra Webb of Montebello, CA .


This one really cracks me up--Monk Ekkehard 1978 Cotes du Roussillon French Red Wine.  An inernet seach yields nothing about the wine.  However, I did learn that Monk Ekkehard (Ekkehard the Elder) was a 10 Century Benedictine who wrote an epic Latin poem about Walter of Aquataine (not clear, yet, whether Walter's lineage led to Eleanor).


Talk about your generic:  Reserve Speciale Bordeaux Superieur.  The smaller print is also interesting:  Mis en bouteilles a la Propriete par la Societe Agricole de Chateau Lafite-Rothschild, Proprietaire a Pauillac (Gironde).


My plan is to open these and taste them.  As I indcated in the title I suspect that shortly after that the rest of the contents will go down the drain.

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Reply by napagirl68, Aug 18, 2012.

It's a crapshoot.  You will just have to taste as you open.  have an open mind...  my neighbor gave me a Gallo wine from the early 90's.  I was ready to just toss in the trash, but opened.  It was a smooth, well balanced Cab.  No, not the best cab, but better than 85% of what is available in a grocery store.  GOOD LUCK, and PLEASE.. Don't throw your cork off the balcony.   I approve this message.


Reply by JonDerry, Aug 18, 2012.

Sounds like an interesting group, should be fun, especially with your expectations in check...

Reply by GregT, Aug 18, 2012.

I agree - complete crapshoot. That Rioja is a kind of rosado - they made them with a blend of red and white grapes and while normally I'd suggest a 1968 Rioja is worth trying, in this case who knows. Some rosados age surprisingly well, but I wouldn't expect much at all. And even if there's anything to it, my suspicion is that it will fade really fast.

All of them probably will for that matter.

The Roussillon is also unlikely to be much - it was essentially plonk wine when produced. Sometimes those can be stunningly good, but I'm not sure I'd hold out much hope there.

The Beaujolais may surprise you.  Probably not, but it's from one of the crus that you'd be most likely to age, and while you're way beyond any Beaujolais that I'd ever had, it would be kind of interesting to see what it was.

Good luck getting the corks out!  You may end up pushing them in as I'd expect they're pretty fragile at this point. Maybe an ah-so would work, but I don't think I'd even try corkscrews on those wines.  Although there again, who knows?

When you do get them out, if you're on the balcony and Whole Foods is far away, well . . .

Reply by outthere, Aug 18, 2012.

I've had luck with the compressed gas openers on old bottles like this with crumbly corks. The wine usually sucks but the cork comes out in one piece.

Reply by outthere, Aug 18, 2012.

You know, some times you never can tell. I was cleaning out the cellar today dumping a few bottles that I had not finished that were done and was going to dump this bottle that has been laying around since I don't remember when. Not even sure how I came into possession of it.


Cork was pushed up, when I cut the foil there was seepage. I pulled the cork and took a sniff. Huh? I poured a taste. Leather, spice and some smoke on the nose. Took a sip. Holy cow, still tart red fruit and chalky tannins. Who woulda thunk? While it's not nearly as old as any of yours eMark I am sure this one was poorly stored at one point in its life. The fact that it still tastes like wine is amazing to me. Big question now is will it save for dinner?

Reply by EMark, Aug 18, 2012.

Thank you, everybody for your comments.  Yeah, these corks are going to be a challenge.  it is clear that the corks on the Rioja, the Beaujolais and the Mag are pushing the capsules up.  I think I have an Ah-So in the back of the drawer someplace.  I'll dig that out, for sure.  I don't have one of those compressed gas gadgets.  Not sure I want to invest in that for these.  On the other hand, that may also help me out with my double mags discussed in the other thread.

Reply by EMark, Aug 20, 2012.

OK, first one--Heritieres Crozet Moulin a Vent Carquelin 1962.


I did find an Ah-So in the back of of the drawer that houses all the stuff that I don't know where else to put.  It really did not do to well.  It pushed the cork down into the bottle.  Yup, that's it floating there in the picture.

This picture does not show the color of the wine properly.  There is a definite brown tinge.  You know what that means.  Here is a pic from directly over the glass.  Even it is not a great depiction, because this seems to be allowing more light to come through than really is happening.


You can see the tinge that I mentioned off to the eastern side of the glass (north is up).  The glob in the northeast is another hunk of cork.

If you go up to the picture of the unopened bottle, you can see that the ullage is huge. 

The nose would make you gag--moldy.  However, it really did not taste horrible.  Very light and completely void of any hints that would make you blurt out some fruit or berry.  A little annoying retro-nasal thing going on with the finish.  Overall, if I hold my nose, its better than a lot of wines I've had over the last forty-something years.

Second opinion:  Thumbs down from Mrs. EMark.  She thinks it tastes like vinegar.  Funny, I really don't get that at all.

Reply by outthere, Aug 20, 2012.

The nose would make you gag--moldy

You sure it's not TCA? 

Keep the notes coming! And for God's sake, lighten up on the pour big guy ;-)

Reply by napagirl68, Aug 20, 2012.


How long did you let the wine open up?  have you tried it again?   The reason I ask, is the fact that you get "mold" on the nose, but from your description, you seem to get no evidence of TCA on the palate.  I not only can smell even trace amounts of TCA, I can taste that the wine is "off"- mostly evident to me as the acidity is wrong, flavors off, and no complexity whatsover- and I can also pick up some of that mustiness/mold on the palate as well.

That said, I have opened French wines that had a "mold" type of nose, and I immediately thought, oh no, cork taint!  But it wasn't the case.... some French wines, especially when first opened, have a musty, moldy smell.  I find that dissipates with decanting and time. 

Mrs. Emark's description of vinegar lends more toward an oxidized wine, which seems very possible in this case.

I am interested to see what it is tasting like later tonight  or tomorrow.


Reply by EMark, Aug 21, 2012.


I had a couple glasses over the course of a couple hours, and saw no future in it.  So, it went down the drain.  That may have been a rash action.  I probably should have sealed it and tried, again, today.

Reply by Craig Bilodeau, Aug 21, 2012.

Great thread!  Can't wait to hear about the others!

BTW, I have a couple old bottles (early 2000's) that prompted me to go looking in search for a good cork screw for these older, more brittle corks.  I found the following:, which is a combination of the Ah-So and the standard screw models.  A bit pricey at $125, though...

Reply by EMark, Aug 21, 2012.

Peggy soaked the label (labels) off that Beaujolais.  I took a better look at the rectangular label at the very top, somewhat overlapping the maker's label.  Sure enough it is a price tag.  It appears that the price of this wine in nineteen sixty-something was US$3.50.  Here is the funny thing.  The store where this was purchsed was J.W. Robinson's.  For those who did not live in Los Angeles prior to the 1980s J.W. Robinson's was a fairly high-end department store.  I do not remember ever being in a J.W. Robinson's.  When they started moving into the suburban malls in the 60s, those stores were called Robinson's and did not have anything near the cachet of a J.W. Robinsons.  Anyway, it again appears that this wine was purchased in a department store, not a fine wine purveyor.  I don't know why that tickles me, but it does.

Now, I also just looked up and re-read Craigs post.  No, Craig, I'm not going to buy a $125 opener for a $3.50 wine.  ;-)



Reply by Richard Foxall, Aug 21, 2012.

But you could have bought a Durand opener at JW Robinson's if they had stayed in business.  I remember them and Buffums from Fashion Island in Newport Beach when I was a teen.  Then Neiman Marcus opened their second store ever there.  All the regional luxury stores have gone under--both Magnins here in SF, the aforementioned stores in SoCal, and on and on.  Wherever you go, you can buy overpriced jeans at Diesel or the same designer stuff at Saks or Bloomingdales.  C'est la vie.

Not necessarily a bad thing that JWR sold that wine--stores have flirted with offering gourmet goods a long time.  Adam Lee of Siduri worked at the wine dept at Neiman Marcus before making his own wine--it's where he and his wife met.

Reply by Bordoo, Aug 22, 2012.

I don't think it's a crap shoot at all - unless you're betting "Don't Pass". 

Does anybody really think that these wines will be drinkable? 


For the Moulin A Vent, despite our taster's pronouncement that it did not taste horrible and was in fact better than a lot of wines he has had, a nose that makes one gag and another taster's determination that it tasted of vinegar belies such wishful words and makes one wonder what wines it is in fact better than.



Reply by EMark, Aug 22, 2012.

Well, B, to name one recent one, Forest Ville 2010 Sangiovese--a very low dollar California offering.  That one was especially disappointing because in the last year I had enjoyed several bottles of the 2007 version.  So be it.

I assume that since I have demonstrated the existence of one, then you will go along with my contention that there were others.

The vinegar thing really seemed strange.  To me the overriding vinegar sensation is sour from acid.  I did not get sour when I tasted the wine.  Now, I will agree that my wife's senses of smell and taste are superior than mine.  So, vinegar it is.

Reply by napagirl68, Aug 22, 2012.

The vinegar thing really seemed strange.  To me the overriding vinegar sensation is sour from acid.  I did not get sour when I tasted the wine.  Now, I will agree that my wife's senses of smell and taste are superior than mine.  So, vinegar it is.

Typical of oxidized wines...  vinegar is an common finding.



Reply by EMark, Aug 23, 2012.

Today's is the NV Reserve Speciale Bordeaux Superieur


As you can see the cork removal on this one was also a CF.  On this one, though, I was at least able to get about a third of the cork out of the bottle.

Absolutely brown in the glass.  At least this one did not stink, however.  So, maybe there is hope. 

Nope.  There is no doubt about this one.  This is vinegar--all acid, all sour, all the time.

Special Reserve Superior Boardeaux my butt.

I'm thinking of corking it, though, and using it for a meat marinade, this weekend.  So, there may be an update.

I imagine though that the cork pieces floating in my glass would add much needed fiber to my fiber-poor American diet.  I suppose that might also justify a description of "chewy."





Reply by EMark, Aug 27, 2012.

Update on the Special Reserve Superior Bordeaux.  It still tastes crappy, but it makes a perfectly adequate acid component for a marinade.  I bought a small Tri-tip on Saturday and marinated it overnight in one of my wine-based add-whats-on-the-shelf-or-in-the-fridge concoctions.  I have to say it was one of my better efforts



Reply by lingprof, Aug 27, 2012.

This is lots of fun, Emark!  (and I definitely remember Robinson's!  How great that they sold wine originally!)

Reply by jtryka, Aug 27, 2012.

I am just finding this whole thread fascinating, and I'm loving living vicariously though EMARK (and yes, I'm certainly rooting for you to find a great bottle among the drain cleaner!)

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