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?
- Never open the bottles, just keep them as "Old Friends"
- Sell them
- Donate them to a favorite charity
- Use them for cooking or salad dressing
- Make vinegar
- Drink them
- Pour them down the drain
What do you think?