Wine Talk

Snooth User: JonDerry

Mature Wines

Posted by JonDerry, Nov 30, 2014.

In this case, a '79 Mondavi Chardonnay Reserve stole the show. Just the fact that it was still upright, despite passive cellaring (another from a previously discussed estate sale my neighbor scored on) was enough to write about. However, this surprisingly gave some real, almost sublime pleasure, despite being on the precipice of oxidation. It drank well for more than an hour after being opened. The Sancerre was a 1993, true to it's SB roots, it drank correctly and just about fully resolved, but no fireworks, just an even drink.

 

I think the '71 Latour split I opened recently may have been lost in the Whatcha thread as no one commented on it. But this was another case of an old, mature wine surprising, and I know this wine for a fact was passively stored from purchase until consumption. Bought by none other than my old man.

 

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Replies

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Reply by Really Big Al, Nov 30, 2014.

You sure do enjoy some of the older vintages.  I'd be worried to cellar anything longer than 10 years here except in our small wine fridge.  

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Reply by EMark, Nov 30, 2014.

Some very interesting reports, Jon.  I know that Chardonnay can have aging potential, but I am very surprised that a California example was able to hold up in any way for over 40 years.

The '71 Bord is another good story, but I find that a less surprising.  

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Reply by vin0vin0, Nov 30, 2014.

JD, love to hear about those wines with some age.  Echo what Emark says about the surprise that the '79 Mondavi was still drinkable, hell I've opened 3 year old chards that were past their prime.

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Reply by JonDerry, Nov 30, 2014.

I agree, that '79 Mondavi, at 35 years old (probably 33 in bottle) is an amazing story. It was one of the bigger tasting surprises of my life along with the '61 Oddero Barolo.

I didn't have time to mention earlier, but the dinner was supposedly built around a '78 Simi Cabernet Reserve. It stood the test of time, but found it much too oaky for my tastes.

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Reply by RexSeven, Dec 1, 2014.

I've just started enjoying well aged Cabernet Sauvignon over the last couple of years.  Right now I am at difficult place that I may never emerge from.  I have had a few aged cabs that I really enjoyed like the 1996 Cinq Cepages and a 1987 Burgess in particular.

My conflict at this point is that I am starting to really like vastly different flavors, aromas, and mouth feel you get from an aged cab but I still love the youthful and vibrant young Cabernet traits. Therein lies the rub.  You can only drink a wine once.

Does that sound stupid?

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Reply by duncan 906, Dec 1, 2014.

I have drunk and reviewed on here a number of older wines.Sometimes you can get lucky. I use the   www.bidforwine.co.uk   website a lot

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Reply by vin0vin0, Dec 1, 2014.

Speaking of mature wines, was at the wife's Aunt's for T-Giving and noticed this on her side bar. The cork and seal are still intact with a pretty neat looking bottle with a medallion. Google doesn't come up with much, wondering if anyone has any insights on C. Da Silva Vinho do Porto 1934, bottled in 1973.

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Reply by GregT, Dec 2, 2014.

I've just started enjoying well aged Cabernet Sauvignon over the last couple of years.  Right now I am at difficult place that I may never emerge from.  I have had a few aged cabs that I really enjoyed like the 1996 Cinq Cepages and a 1987 Burgess in particular.

My conflict at this point is that I am starting to really like vastly different flavors, aromas, and mouth feel you get from an aged cab but I still love the youthful and vibrant young Cabernet traits. Therein lies the rub.  You can only drink a wine once.

Does that sound stupid?

Not at all.

BTW 1996 isn't really all that old. Some wines age faster than others, but Cab can last and for me, you need at least 20 years before you can start calling it mature. But what you're talking about is the entire point of aging wine - any wine. The experience of an older wine is completely different from what you get when the wine is young. Whether it's better or not depends on your preferences.

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Reply by duncan 906, Dec 2, 2014.

Vinovino  When you were at your Aunt's did you not suggest opening that bottle of port? 

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Reply by madmanny, Dec 2, 2014.

Just got back from Spain where we drank some Tondonia 1994 White Reserva (among a wide range of others).  Amazingly fresh but not fruity.  The taste that came trough to me most was "nutty".  We visited Lopez de Heredia (also among others) and found that they age their whites the same way as reds, at least 6 years in barrels and at least two years in bottle before releasing.  Definitely needs a bit of air before drinking as the initial aromas were a somewhat off-putting.  

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Reply by dmcker, Dec 2, 2014.

VV, gotta love the motto on Da Silva's bottling:

"vino, dinero, amor".

In any particular order, or contexts, I wonder?

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Reply by EMark, Dec 2, 2014.

Manny, your experience with a 20-year old wine sounds fantastic.  A few years ago a friend, who is very wine knowldegeable,  offered me a Spanish white wine that had about 12 years on it.  He was saying how this was his new favorite wine, but most people did not like it because they thought it was oxidized.  I tried it and, yuck, it was totally oxidized--nothing "nutty" about it.  I told Bob, that I would not be competing with him for the rest of the bottle.

v v, that port bottle is very cool.  I hadn't noticed the motto that DM pointed out.  (I guess y eyes are aging faster than I might have thought.)  That only makes it better.

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Reply by vin0vin0, Dec 2, 2014.

Duncan, we had consumed enough while we were visiting, plus it was time for us to hit the road for our 3 hour drive home.  I do believe that the bottle now has my name on it so I'm sure we'll be tasting it some time in the future.

Do you think the Portuguese loved Elvis or did Elvis love Port?

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Reply by JonDerry, Dec 2, 2014.

That's one heck of a bottle, VV

Love that it was bottled more recently....hopefully (even if a longshot) you'll be around when it's opened.

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Dec 5, 2014.

My conflict at this point is that I am starting to really like vastly different flavors, aromas, and mouth feel you get from an aged cab but I still love the youthful and vibrant young Cabernet traits. Therein lies the rub.  You can only drink a wine once.

Au contraire.  You buy a few bottles of that wine, and while each time it is different, it's still the same wine.  (I could say something about intimate partners, but I think you could guess the gist.)

I don't usually buy and hold cases of one wine, except things I am drinking young or having for a party.  I don't have the space, I like variety, there's an opportunity cost in terms of wines I won't be able to buy and the tied-up money. Things might be different if I had room for 600+ bottles and more money; if wishes were horses, beggars would ride, right?

But any wine I am interested in at all seriously, I buy two, and sometimes more.  Why?  I drink the first bottle towards the beginning or middle of the drinking window and decide if I think it's going to be interesting and drinkable if it sits a lot longer.  If I really loved it "young"-- I'm drinking virtually no serious reds that are less than 4 years old--I will oftentimes try to find more of it, so I can still save the second bottle but enjoy more of it until it gets older and more interesting.  It can be frustrating since the wine is almost never the current vintage anymore when it hits the drinking window.  (Exception and praise for Spanish wines, esp Rioja) Some folks buy cases and drink one per year or whatever during the drinking window, but since I drink a serious wine only once or twice a week (that is, a wine over $25 or a Rioja that's Reserva or GR but might be under that), I think I would have to cut back on my variety quite a bit if I did that.  But if I buy a Barolo, good Syrah (from N. Cal or N. Rhone), PN, Cab, etc., I almost always buy in pairs.  Just so that I can drink the same wine twice. 

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Reply by vin0vin0, Dec 5, 2014.
Manny, it's only been 3 days since your post about Spain and visiting Heredia. So what happens to me today? I hop into one of my fav wine stores and they have a bottle of Heredia on the tasting. So I tasted and bought a bottle of 2002 López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia.
 
As I'm enjoying the tasting, the wine store proprietor brings out this bottle of white (López de Heredia Rioja Blanco Gran Reserva Viña Tondonia) that he says is the only bottle making it to the customers since the employees bought up all the others. Well, it was a bit pricey but I just couldn't resist. Quite the coincidence.
 
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Reply by Richard Foxall, Dec 5, 2014.

VV, that's a huge score.  I think Tondonia's white just won some major acclaim in WS or some such, but the bigger point is those are really interesting bottles with some age on them already.  I bet that 1991 just blows your mind with nutty flavors, interesting oily or waxy textures, and probably some unexpected fruit on the palate--not the usual descriptors but hard to place things.  (Good reason to eat uncommon produce when you travel, like mangosteens and durian and non-Cavendish bananas.)  Please do report back on both!

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Reply by GregT, Dec 6, 2014.

Manny - a few years ago I was at the winery and spent the day with Mercedes and one of the bottles we drank was that 2002. It was considered a very poor vintage but the wine was so good I bought a few bottles to take back with me, partly to show the people who disparaged the vintage. You got a good bottle of wine my friend!

 

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Reply by vin0vin0, Dec 6, 2014.
Fox, the wine store manager also described the white as having an oily lemon wax flavor, hopefully I didn't just purchase a bottle of lemon pledge.
 
GregT, nice to know about the '02, the red was on the wine stores tasting machine, so I had an opportunity to try it before hand. It had a slight brickish color but the it was definitely still fresh and vibrant.
 
Here are the drinking windows from CT for the Heredia's, looks like I don't need to worry for quite a while:
'91 Blanco Gran Reserva 2012-2025
'02 Reserva 2013-2020
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Reply by GregT, Dec 6, 2014.

I don't know where people get those descriptions VV! Don't worry, you didn't purchase lemon pledge. The white is mostly Viura with a little bit of Malvasia, typical of a Rioja white. Viura tends to have a slightly bitter finish, not offensive, but distinctive, and Malvasia of course, is one of the world's most aromatic grapes, very floral and on the order of Muscat, Viognier, and Torrontes, which it is often confused with. Depending on the producer, there can be a citrusy quality to the Viura, and the contribution of the Malvasia lends a slightly floral note, but it's hard to distinguish and when combined with the oxidized notes of the wine, perhaps gives it a beeswax note. I don't usually get it on that particular wine but maybe that's where the guy was getting it. Don't know.

The most distingushing qualities of that wine are the acidity and oxidation that's always apparent. But that wine will be stable for many years. I wouldn't put too much stock into the CT predictions because I don't think most of those good folks have any particular expertise regarding the wines - they drink a bottle here and there kind of randomly and post their impressions, but I can tell you you don't have to worry about losing that wine anytime soon. That wine was good to drink before release, on release, and will be good for many more years.

Ditto the 2002 reserva. I don't know why someone said you shouldn't open the first one until 2012 or the Reserva until 2013 - that's pretty random. I guess the person wanted to feel all professional and shit. Since you've tasted it, no need to tell you much about it, but that bricking is characteristic of the wine and it will look pretty much the same for a long time to come.

The issue there is the vintage. Don't forget, they have Atlantic influences in Rioja and Bordeaux and the Loire were rained out that year. The Tondonia vineyard is protected by the mountains, but the region was still affected. 2001 was a great year but the lack of rain put the vines at a disadvantage the next year. then it was pretty cold in the spring, they had a couple frosts, and then it rained during harvest. The wines from that year are very producer-dependent. Because of the mountains, some vineyards escaped the rain while others got hail. In addition, those who picked before or between rain still had to do a serious sort because of rot. If I remember, that picking season was really long too. There are some producers who made excellent wine, and the Tondonia typically is a higher-acid wine anyway so its profile would be less affected by the weather than some other wines, but it will be interesting to watch. I was just impressed because I thought it was a very good wine for a 2002. I don't think it will be anything like the wines from 94-96, but it's a solid wine. Drink it now or any time over the rest of your life.

 

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