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.