Wine Talk

Snooth User: EMark

Probably Best as Drain Cleaner

Original post 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 Richard Foxall, Aug 28, 2012.

Okay, the ante is raised:  We're doing grill photos now.  Just when I was finally able to get some in focus photos of bottles and glasses.  I blame myself for the deck shot. 

This is one of the funniest threads ever, thanks to EMark's wit.  But definitely a lesson there:  Bad wine can still be a marinade. 

Of course, as long as the bottles keep coming up bad, living vicariously beats being there.

Reply by EMark, Aug 29, 2012.

Next up:  1968 Cune Rioja Clarete

I mentioned previously that this was one of the bottles that had a distended cork.  Here is a (pretty gross) pic of the cork still in the bottle but with the radiation protecting lead capsule removed.


Does not look promising.

I was able to insert an Ah-So and seemed to be able to twist the cork, but, once again, I failed to eject it.  I might break down and get one of those compressed gas jobbers.  I think that may do the trick.  Maybe I should get my b-i-l to chip in.  I don't have this problem with wines that I actually bought and stored.

So, here is the opened bottle, the filled glass and some cork detritus on our kitchen counter:


The pictures of the wines in the glasses do not depict the true brown color that I am seeing in these wines.  So, I tilted the glass against the white tile and took this pic:


There, you can see brown.

Well, the color was the best thing about this one.  When I took a whiff I was taken back to my youth.  My mother would occassionally sip a small glass of sweet red wine--think Mogen David, but not really that classy.  The bottle would last in a cupboard for years, because I'm sure she was convinced that if she drank more that threee sips in, say, a calendar year, she would become an alcoholic and ruin the lives of her children.  Well, I remember the smell of that wine.  This wine has that same icky, syrupy and, yes, again, moldy smell.

The taste of this one combines that of the previous two.  If I can get past the acid, I can taste old berries,  but I don't really want either.

Looks like we're going to have another beef meal this weekend, because it looks like we have more marinade ingredients.

Note to JTRYK and Foxall:  you both have the right idea. 

Oh, and Bordoo, I am adding these last two to the list I mentioned that I think are worse than the Beaujolais.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Aug 30, 2012.

Well, EMark, thanks for taking one for the team!  As long as you don't get sick of beef--so many cuts to try, think of it that way--your work isn't in vain. 

As far as scientific progress, what have we learned here?  1) How you store your wine counts. 2) If a wine is really old but wasn't particularly age worthy, chances are someone probably just plain forgot about it. 3) Forgotten wines are probably not wines that have been stored well.  4) Brother in law's good intentions don't always result in vinous pleasure.

We're at the 60% point about now, right?  Good thing there's plenty of grilling weather ahead.  If you get tired of beef, I have a recipe for wine-scented lamb you could try (from Williams Sonoma's "Complete Book of Grilling," a misnomer if there ever was one), and I am sure Eric Guido, master of pairings, can make some suggestions. If you reduced the wine enough, you could turn it into a basting sauce for chicken with a few additions.  Remember, it's really working as vinegar now, and lots of barbecue sauces rely on vinegar.

Reply by jtryka, Aug 30, 2012.

Foxall is right, that many barbecue sauces rely on vinegar, so that might be worth pursuing.  I've done ribs in the oven on holidays, get up early wrap them in foil and then slow cook them in a 200-degree oven for 4 hours.  I saw one recipe that then used the drippings for the base of a sauce.  If you add a cup of this wine to the packet with the ribs, the drippings and the vinegar might make an awesome sauce base for when you finish them on the grill!

Reply by EMark, Sep 9, 2012.

I have actually been looking forward to this one.  I just love the label.  Also, how can I have any expectations for this one.


As you can see, once more the cork defeated me.  From right to left, the Ah-so ripped out about the top 25% of the cork.  The rabbit ripped out roughly the next 80-85%.  The last 10-13% came out by using a steak knife.  About 2% of the cork ended up floating in the bottle.

The color was pretty good--none of the brown that I have been seing from oxidized wine.  Not much of a nose--practically nothing of a nose.  I keep putting my nose in the glass and I keep smelling glass.  Guess what, though.  This one is drinkable.  Fruity on the tip of the tongue--some berry/cherry flavors.  Medium bodied and a bit tart in the back of the throat.  Not a great wine (well, OK Mark, you've established your credentials as master of the obvious), but I am planning to drink this bottle.  I'm grilling hamburgers, tonight, and I think this one is going to be just fine.

By the way, if you do Google Monk Ekkehard you will find out there are 5-6 Ekkehards out there.  Presumably, related but not descendents of the Elder.  (I prefer to believe that Ekkehard the Elder was true to his vow of celibacy.)  The other thing, though, is that there appears to be a pretty good EBay economy going on of Monk Ekkehard figurines put out by an Italian ceramics company in the 1980s.


Note the grape cluster.


Reply by Richard Foxall, Sep 10, 2012.

Like the multi-tool approach.  But next time, maybe you just go straight to the shoe-against-the-wall method. 

 I was driving home Sunday morning from dropping the kids off and was wondering what was in store for this thread.  Funny that the Cotes du Roussillon was given very little chance and it's been the sole drinkable wine to date.  Sadly, the unknown provenance of these wines means we can only speculate (which is not in short supply here) about why this somewhat survived, in spite of the lack of reputation that appellation has.  On the other hand, through luck or some unknown winemaker's skill, there are wines from way off the path that go unnoticed but would, tasted blind, shock even the most knowledgeable critic.

Glad you got a break from the vinegar, although I have to say the posts about the dreadful wines tend to be funnier and to invite more guessing at what exactly was wrong. 

Reply by Snoother 1332121, Aug 15, 2013.

I owned several cases of Monk Ekkehard, purchased in the mid 80s from - wait for it - Trader Joe's.  If memory serves, it went for a whopping $1.49/bottle.  As I recall, it was a French Gov't purchase/dump of 30,000 gallons or so that TJ won, so I have surmised from my own inability to find any reference ot the wine ever again that the label name was an inside joke. Sadly, my last case was stolen.  It kept very well, but, as you have found, the corks did not.

Reply by zufrieden, Aug 16, 2013.

This collection, eclectic as it apparently is, seems to be something that rose on a whim and died on a puff of short term memory loss.  The Beaujolais Cru might normally be worth exploring - though  typically considered past it.  Still, an interesting experiment in brown-tinged, over-aged wine.

I have seen this decrepitude in some of my own wines, so no one is immune from this sort of trial and error.

Reply by JenniferT, Aug 18, 2013.

Just returned home from a busy trip for work...only seeing this thread now. Interesting! Thanks for sharing, EM.



Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Aug 22, 2013.

died on a puff of short term memory loss


What a fantastic line!

Reply by EMark, Sep 13, 2013.

Well. I finally finished of this batch.  We had a little get-together with some friends on the deck at the Villa Riviera where b-i-l lives.  It was mostly a white wine night (because of the menu and the preferences of most of the participants), but I did bring a bottle of Zinfandel and the magnum of the unlabeled Bordeaux.  I did not do too badly with this cork--the Ah So again pushed it down, but one of those double element jobbers did a reasonable job.  Most of it came out at first, but I did have to redrill the remainder and,yippee, the rest of it came out.

Here's more good news, the cork had the vintage and winery information on it, and the extracted pieces were enough to identify:  1972 Chateau LaTour du Haut-Moulin.

It was fairly sunny on the deck yesterday, and I am not much of a photographer.  So, I don't know how apparent the brown color in the glass is.  It was brown.  Taste was pretty much what you would expect--pretty darned tart.  I did, however, drink two glasses of it  Others tasted it and agreed, it wasn't very good, but it did not cause you to gag.

B-i-l now has a good supply of vinegar.

Now here's something you don't see every day.  Again, apologies for my photography skills, but this is a raccoon climbing up a fan palm

Once he climbed up to the leaves, he, pretty much, disappeared.  We don't know if he was eating some fruit up there, or if he lived up there.  We never saw him come down.  Then again, we were not too observant.


Reply by Richard Foxall, Sep 16, 2013.

For a minute there, I was going to say you saved the best for last. But it seems the wily Monk is still the winner.  This is a real wine, with entries on wine-searcher and everything.  And it's a Bordeaux, and aren't those supposed to live forever, especially in magnum?

But alas, it was not to be.  Storage conditions are paramount.  I hope my fluctuating and probably warmer than ideal basement does better.

Okay, that picture of palm trees makes everyone outside the LA basin want to move there.  The sunset, the haze, it could be a record label (and kind of was, except the WB Burbank label didn't have the water behind it).

Note to people under fifty:  Don't ask me what a record label is.

Reply by EMark, Sep 16, 2013.

Fox, I know my photography is pretty pathetic, but since you were making the California Tourism Board comments about Long Beach, I surprised that you did not make any observations on the "idyllic islands with their palms surrounding the beautiful condos" in the background.

True story.  I was sitting near a couple guys at the LB Grand Prix a few years ago on a practice day.  During a break in track activities, One of the two, who, probably, had more money than brains, and, most assuredly, had esteem issues, remarked to his buddy about those really cool condos out on those islands in the bay and how he was going to check them out because he thought he would fit right in in that neighborhood.

I know most readers, here, are not that familiar with Long Beach, but maybe some can guess what's coming.  They're not condos.  The are oil wells that are pretty well camouflaged.

In fact, they're even prettier at night.


Yes, that's a waterfall just right of center.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Sep 16, 2013.

Knowing they are going to pump oil off the coast so you can drive around Beverly Hills in your Maserati and hope that some gold digger will get in:  Priceless.

I had a pretty good idea those were the oil wells, but they made no efforts to camoflage them when I was young. The main one is off to the side, so it doesn't really detract.

Reply by EMark, Aug 11, 2014.

Well, I'm resurrecting this conversation because b-i-l is doing another estate sale, and he found this.


We had a laugh when he gave me this one.  The cork leaked and the ullage was quite low--almost to the shoulder of the bottle.

This pic doesn't really show it, but the wine was brown in the glass.


You can guess the verdict.  Excellent vinegar to be used with a meat marinade.

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