Seattle Wine Blog

This blog is dedicated to commentary on all aspects of wine, especially short entries to help you find the best wines without the usual hype and spin. These are my frank, independent opinions, usually based on tasting wine at a public event, off the shelf or at the winery. "All creative acts must arise out of a specific soil and flicker with a spirit of place" -D.H. Lawrence

Friday, September 28, 2007

Old Wines

Think of the Simon and Garfunkel song, Old Friends, and sing Old Wines. I was recently asked to inspect my friend Peggy's collection of old bottles mostly from her father's cellar. Highlights included 1970 Chateau Latour, 1970 Cos d'Estournel, and various vintages from the 1970s of the fine Sauternes, Chateau Coutet. Along with these were "A &P" wines, "supermarket" wines, such as 1970 Inglenook Cabernet and Paul Masson Cabernet. Peggy told me that her father had stored these in a temperature controlled cellar in Virginia. Peggy had stored them in a cabinet on the floor in a basement apartment here in Seattle for approximately eight years. At least she didn't save them in the cabinet over the fridge. The bottles, labels, and corks were mostly in good shape. Examination of the edge of the wine (just under the cork) with a bright light in the background showed varying shades of red sometimes with hints of orange, but no brown. We opened the 1970 half bottle of Inglenook Cab, but it had a bad crumbly cork and had come apart in it's old age. A leaky bottle of 1971 Chateau Coutet, was dark bronze in color and tasted like an old Sauterne should, like mead or Madeira. It was good with blue cheese. A half bottle of 1998 Chateaunuef du Papes was fine, but then it was only nine years old. What should Peggy do?

  1. Never open the bottles, just keep them as "Old Friends"
  2. Sell them
  3. Donate them to a favorite charity
  4. Use them for cooking or salad dressing
  5. Make vinegar
  6. Drink them
  7. Pour them down the drain

What do you think?


  • At 11:24 AM, Blogger mrfroopy said…

    she should open and drink the wines.
    If they are icky, then pour down drain...

  • At 7:22 PM, Anonymous Carole & Steve said…

    We were the grateful beneficiaries of Gene Stein’s excellent class on wine tasting and have been immediately able to put the knowledge we gained to good use. We’d love to share it with you.

    We recently opened a bottle of 2002 Coda Cadence, Seabeck appellation, Gene’s cellars. The color was classic – Homer’s wine dark sea. The unusually full complement of grapes was not dominated by any one varietal. The nose was a slightly hairy middle eastern version with an intriguing hook and hints of fruit cocktail. Its Bulgarian old vine legs were sturdy if a bit thick at the ankles but the thighs were nicely rounded. The Calder-like balance moved calmly in the mouth. The tannins initially exploded like the bitter herbs at a Seder, but quickly mellowed out to provide structure that hung together like a Le Courbusier. The finish avoided the commonly found cherry wood with SPAR varnish so typical of the appellation but ended abruptly. The bottle disappeared practically as soon as we opened it.

  • At 9:46 PM, Blogger SeattleWineBlog said…

    Dear Carole and Steve, LOLOLOL!- Laughing out loud. I see you learned a lot from our day in the vineyards. Sorry I've been incommunicado this past week. Been having trouble picking up signals. I can see that you reallly enjoyed the 2002 Cadence Coda. What were you listening to when you opened it? Or rather, what else were you imbibing at the same time? You didn't say whether you found the wine to be Big, bad, DIRTY, and mean! Or was it fuzzy? Gene


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