What old wines have you tasted? And did you like them?
Over the years, I've been lucky. I've had the privilege to taste a few wines from 1900 and older, a reasonable amount of pre 1961's and a lot of wine going forward.
What constitutes an old wine? The answer is different for everyone. To most people, wines that are at least 10 years old fall into the category of being old. For others, it's a wine older than they are. For a select few, it could go back to the 1800's!
The inspiration for this thread came from an article I posted on the home page www.thewinecellarinsider.com The article recalls not only the oldest wine I ever tasted, but it's also a contender for one of the best wines I've ever experienced!
Tasting 1870 Chateau Margaux remains forever etched in my mind. Drinking old Bordeaux wine is one of the most sensuous, wine experiences possible. That sensation is exacerbated when the wine is almost 150 years old! Not only was this bottle the best wine of the previous decade, it remains an unequaled tasting experience that will never be forgotten.
Think about this. In 1870, construction began on the Brooklyn Bridge, the Democrats chose the symbol of the donkey to represent their party, the final Confederate states were readmitted to the union following the Civil War, France declared war on Prussia, The New York Times declares Baseball is the national sport and Ulysses Grant was President of the United States. While all that was taking place, Bordeaux experienced a tremendous vintage.
Old wines offer unique sensory experiences. They deliver complex, unequaled aromatics and textures painted with the patina of age. 99% of the world’s wines are meant to be enjoyed within the first year they are produced. Of the remaining one percent, few of those wines improve with decades of age. The amount of wines with the ability to age, evolve and offer pleasure after 100 years is miniscule.
A large part of the rational behind the high prices paid for Latour, Lafite Rothschild, Mouton Rothschild, Haut Brion and Margaux is because history has shown, in the best vintages, those Bordeaux wines have the ability evolve and improve with decades of time. In some cases, the wines have been known to deliver stellar tasting experiences, even though they were produced over 100 years before being opened!
1870 is considered one of the best pre-phylloxera vintages. The phylloxera epidemic came close to destroying the majority of Europe’s most famous vineyards. Phylloxera was caused by tiny insects that devoured the roots and leaves, which killed the vines. The problem was first discovered in the Rhone wine region in 1863 and quickly spread throughout Europe. By 1890, close to 75% of Europe’s vines were destroyed. Part of the reason 1870 was so successful was, the wines were product of a low yield harvest. caused by icy frosts. This was followed by scorching summer weather which allowed the grapes to fully ripen.
1870 Margaux - From the cellars of Domaine de Chevalier. The owner of this historic Pessac Leognan estate, OlivierBernard shared this 6L bottle at a dinner for tasters of the GJE at the chateau. The bottle had been in the cellars of Chevalier for over a century!
The color of tea, potent, earthy, truffle, spice, tea, leather and tobacco notes were only the first scents to arrive. This elegant, soft, polished wine ended with a parade of fresh, ripe strawberries and raspberries in a rich syrupy texture. 100 Pts
holy cow Jeff! make sure you let me know whent he next opportunity pops up! haha... so how long did the nose last? I know with older wines, it's even more sensitive to air, was it the case for you?
been fortunate to taste quite a few Madiera circa 1800 from the cellar of Paul Day-------absolutely fantastic. Oldest other wine,was a 1891 bottle of Klein Constantia Vin de Constance.which was sadly faulty.
Otherwise,had a brilliant 1947 Margaux earlier this year----------a baby
I Gotta Start Hanging Out with a Different Crowd!
Wish I can join in here, but nothing older than a few late 50's and early 60's CA wines . . . . for now, that is (-:
I will never forget a 1945 Clos de Papes a few years ago. The road to Nirvana........
Since beginning of my wine life starting in 1983 I've been very privilleged sharing some sensational wines. Here are my diamonds:
1865 Palmer tasted together with John Kolasa, Olivier Bernard, owner of Farr Wintners and a couple of important negociants in Arcachon year 1993. 128 years old wine and sensational one. Will never forget it!
1899 Latour tasted in 1990.
1899 Domaine de Monteils (Sauternes) tasted in 2002 at Bastor Lamontagne. Fantastic.
1847, 1891 and 1906 Yquem tasted in Copenhagen in 2005 as a part of Yquem vertical counting 65 vintages tasted over 2 lunches and two dinners. Sensational.
1906 Coutet tasted in 2006. Fabulous experience!
1906 and 1907 Lafaurie Peyraguey tasted in 2008. Unforgetable.
1943, 1947 and 1959 (100p legend) Haut Brion tasted in 2006. Fantastic.
1945 (100p legend), 1947, 1948, 1949, 1955 and 1959 La Mission Haut Brion. Unforgetably fantastic.
1948 Laville Haut Brion (white La Mission) tasted in 2009. Magnificent.
1950 Canon-La-Gaffeliere tasted in 2009. Magnificent too.
1928, 1955 and 1959 red Domaine de Chevalier tasted between 2005 and 2009. Unforgetable.
Last edited by Izak Litwar; 03-01-2011 at 01:22 PM.
This is my first message on this forum, and which subject would be better than this one to begin to write ?
My friend Jeff asked me to join this community. I will be happy to participate if I have time enough to do so.
My experience with old wines begins to be significant, as I drink seriously old wines since 1978 approximately.
My oldest alcoholic drinks were a Cognac 1769 and a Jerez 1769, both of the birth year of Napoleon.
My oldest wine is a Lacrima Christi from hills of Napoli made in 1780. This wine was served with a 1805 of the same origin, and the 1780 seemed much younger. It was a real and complete wine.
The king of the wines in the 18th century was Constantia of South Africa. I have drunk the 1791 which was amazingly good. It came from a cellar in Scotland, then bought by a man in South Africa in a Sotheby's auction, and he offered it to Jean Hugel the famous winemaker of Domaine Hugel in Alsace. Jean was a friend of mine and had shown me this bottle. When he died, his widow accepted to offer this bottle to one of my dinners for which I had invited a nephew of Jean to have this dinner in honor of Jean Hugel. I did not imagine that this bottle would be shared at this dinner. The wine was purely delicious, out of this world, with no age, simply perfect.
My oldest red wine is a 1811 Chambertin from the year of the Halley Comet, of an unknown producer. The wine was a memory of wine but not much more. From Bordeaux it is a 1844 Lafite purely amazing and unique. A prephylloxeric fantastic wine.
Old wines are my passion. From 1870 mentioned by Jeff, I have drunk Mouton and Latour some 30 years ago, which were purely amazing. This year belongs to the best ever, the greatest for me being 1900.
Here is what I have drunk :
Chambertin - 1870
Château Latour - 1870
Château Mouton Rothschild - 1870
Château Mouton Rothschild - 1870
Château Pontet Canet - 1870
Cognac Eschenauer 1870
I had drunk the Pontet Canet 1870 with Eric Beaumard director of George V restaurant, and he drank it blind. When he proposed a year for this wine, I told him : "if an error of one century is accepted, you are very near the millesime".
Now and then I will give some details about what I have drunk or what I would like to drink, and how I consider the way to drink old wines. I have some intentions in helping people to drink old wines. I will write it if I have time enough.
Since the end of 2000 I write on what I drink and on my blog, it is nearly 8,000 wines which are commented.
I will be happy to share impressions with this forum on which I will certainly recognise people whom I know in real or through past discussions.
Best wishes to all.
Last edited by Francois Audouze; 03-01-2011 at 05:18 AM.
Francois... It's good to see you here. For those of you that do not know Francois, he has tasted more old wines than anyone I know.
Indeed-----a true Legend!!
Being only 31 years old, I haven't had the chance of tasting that many, say pre 1950 wines. The list of wines from the fifties and younger is starting to be long, and I love to continue with getting it longer.
1949 Figeac, ruined by storage.
1949 Montrose, a beauty!
1949 Leroy Chevalier Montrachet, astonishing.
Some 49 and 48 German wines from unknown producers, and not that great
1948 DRC La Tache, interesting more than good. (low fill)
1947 Cappelano Super Barolo, very good
1947 Borgogno Barolo Riserva, also very good
1947 Cheval Blanc, unfortunately it was a fake bottle.
1945 Clos Lambrays, fantastic for about ten-fifteen minutes before falling apart
3X1945 Ausone, amazingly I have tried this very rare wine 3 times, with very little bottle variations, a splendid, if not perfect old wine.
1945 Doisy Daene good
1943 Mouton Rothschild, gone
1942 Niepoort Vintage Port, beautifull
1942 Climens, tired
1942 Doisy Daene, very nice
1934 La Lagune Very good
1934 Mouton Rothschild beautifull
1928 Rauzan Gassies a bit lean but very good indeed
1928 Yquem Fantastic
1928 Suduiraut Probably the best wine I've ever tasted
1926 Mouton Rothschild fantastic
1921 Mouton Rothschild very good indeed
1918 Leoville Poyferre Fantastic, everybody missed the vintage by 50 years, served blind.
A private tasting here in Norway in about three weeks from now will also ad 1934 Cheval Blanc and Margaux to the list, together with Margaux 28, 29 and 45. I'm looking very much forward to it.
I have tasted many old Madeira's, especially between 1880 and 1950, but also 1863, 1850, 1834, 1830, 1808 and the oldest, 1795, all fantastic.
You have drunk very nice wines !
I agree with you about the perfection of 1928 Suduiraut. A very great wine.
Concerning Cheval Blanc 1947, how are you sure that it was a fake ? On which criterium did you come to this conclusion ?
One of the best wines I've ever drunk, of any age, was a 1929 Pommard Rugiens from Bouchard. Drunk on site in 2005 straight from the Bouchard cellars, this was an awesome wine. It edged out a 1909 from the same cellar. The event was arranged by Francois (who has probably drunk more old wines than I have drunk wines, period) to try to open the eyes of some skeptics (myself included) about the possibilities of old Burgundy. He completely won me over. So welcome aboard, Francois. Of course, bottles like that are not easy to come by.
Francois. It was a cork that was so young and fresh, it was impossible to get back into the bottle, the capsule had a wrong colour (I've been told by on of the worlds greatest experts on fake wines) for a Vandermeulen bottle, there were nothing written on the cork, but most of all, beeing on of the wine one really want's to try out there, one reads every note one can find before you open one, to see if it's what it is supposed to be. This wine tasted like a fairly ok Cru Bourgeois, maybe from the late nineties, and did not resemble anything of the port like, high alcohol, even residual sugar and massive fruit that its famous for.
See pics on the link below.
And, the 1925 Brane-Cantenac, tasting note on the Brane Cantenac thread.....
I am happy to read you.
There are problems with Van der meullen.
He had great bottles in the 30ies, and many of the 1947 (Cheval Blanc, Petrus, ... ) are fakes.
I agree with your remarks.