40 year old wine is always a journey, sometimes into dissapointment, always into variability, and occassionally into greatness. While this 1978 Pichon-Lalande was not at the apex of aged Bordeaux, it was in perfect condition, absolutely delicious, and among the finest examples of old super-second Bordeaux that I’ve ever personally had.
A vintage 2000 Gaston-Chiquet Special Club champagne was perfect champagne (from a favourite grower-producer) in peak form.
A 2007 Forge de Tarte was only mediocre by my standards for the price point and reputation, consistent with a bottle I had about half a year ago.
A corked 2006 Chassagne didn’t add to the conversation.
Why do we chase after old wine? Despite the auction market, I think true wine lovers seek old wine because somehow it seems less commodified and more a magical art-object. It is harder to see this quality in the world of Bordeaux, which has become surrogate for wine-as-wealth and power. But these remain great wines that speak of a style, time, and climate that no longer exists. And that may be the bittersweet truth aged wine gives us: not nostalgia but recollection of another time in which climate-disaster was not upon us – wines that could never be made in today’s conditions. Perhaps this adds to the aesthetic merit of these wines, consumed rather than traded.