I was lucky enough to taste a brilliantly on-form bottle of mature Bordeaux last week in the form of Château Gruaud Larose 1982, which got me thinking about old wines in general.
There is something really appealing (to me at least) about tasting an old wine. Not only does it take a long time for the best wines to reach their peak, but by the time they have got there many bottles will have already been consumed. So at its most desirable stage, there are far fewer available... supply and demand, anyone?
There is a warm glow that you get - and I don't mean the alcohol - from drinking an old bottle of wine that has hit its stride. The complexity and softness are often what differentiates an old wine from its younger self. The rarity factor can also make you feel special, but bear in mind that not all old wines are rare, just rarer than when they were bottled! The occasion, the wow factor of pulling out an old wine and attempting to remove a crumbling cork while friends gaze on in horror/admiration, these are what makes an old wine so much more than the sum of its parts.
But the single greatest satisfaction for me as a self-confessed history geek comes from the connection with the past. What were you doing in 1982? Or even 2000 for that matter? Now imagine the lives that interacted with this wine throughout the growing season and the production of the wine.
Mature wine makes a great gift, but surely you would prefer to treat yourself to something so special… so I have compiled a small collection of mature Bordeaux for drinking or gifting this year. As we swiftly head towards Autumn these will be perfect alongside the last barbecue of the year or the first hearty stew of the season.