Too old may not be everything,
But too young is certainly wrong…..
Some time ago, I already shared my written response to the, in my opinion, unfair, short-sighted point of view of someone who wants us to drink wine (too) young.
Here are the results of an event with old wines during a fantastic evening in restaurant ‘de Opera’ in Den Bosch, where chef Harrie Hendriks en hostess Anne Engel created the perfect ambiance for (most) wines to excel. It turned out to be an educational evening with wines that surprised and commanded respect.
With special thanks to Ron Andes MV who provided for the majority of the wines, Jan Ronald Boering who brought three fine additions, Matthijs Vranken who provided for the only white wine of the evening, Natascha Sonnemans who ‘sacrificed’ ‘her’ 1972 Il Poggio from Castello di Monsanto and Nitiya who has been shooting quite some pretty pictures again.
Arnold Brösch, St. Margarethener Rust Spätlese,1977
Dark yellow in color, in the nicely developed scent a lot of dried flowers and fruits, including raisins, mild oxidative tone; full of flavor, subdued sweet, impressions of orange and lime, good balance, long finish with fresh acidity, fine wine with interesting play between fruit, acidity, sweet and developed aromas. Thanks to Matthijs Vranken.
Lindner, Eppaner Justiner Auslese, 1966
Dark brown color, laurel and other herbs in the nose and aromas that remind of a dry oloroso, volatile acidity, tight and dry in taste, too much evolution.
Second bottle; comparable color and scent, but dryer.
Rubini, Refosco, 1983
Striking bright red color, lots of fruits as rosehip in addition to the smell of dried petals, nicely concentrated, lively acidity, good balance and still full of life, expression and aftertaste somewhat limited in length, certainly not over its top.
Az. Agr. Simocelli Armando, Marzemino, 1982
Brown color; Too much development in scent as well as in taste. Unfortunately.
Tenuta Maseria Florio, Tazzelenghe, Ronchi di Buttrio, 1976
Hardly any color left, very developed in color, as well as in scent and taste; high acidity, variety of volatile tones; past its best.
Elvio Cogno, Boschi di Berri (Dolcetto), 1979
Ripe Dolcetto, light oxidation, some wood influence, plenty of impressions of sour cherry and kirsch, structure is fine, acidity correct, fruit is still present, not a very long finish, but clean and fruity; very good. Compliment to the grape, its terroir and its winemaker!
Went great with the snails….
Elvio Cogno, Nassone (Dolcetto), 1973
Scent similar to the Boschi di Berri, but much further developed; predominated by autumn impressions, dried meat and dried fruit; developed and well matured, but enjoyable, and it remains to be very special, a drinkable nearly 40 years old Dolcetto.
Cantina Sociale Riunite, Vino Riserva Oltrepo Antico Piedmont (Bonarda?), 1958
Intensely fragrant with caramel, lots of laurel, in the mouth sherry-like tones, testable but not great, drying tones and high, old acidity gives the wine a weary character, not surprising for a simple wine after over 50 years ….
Cantine Ercole Giovara, Cerasuolo, Piedmont, 1964
Rose of Cerasuolo from Piedmont of almost 50 years old! Could it be more extreme? Beautiful dark pink color, some evolution, but still has fruit that melted together with soft autumnal tones; impressions of dried red fruit stand upright and centrally in taste and smell; nice and dry, balanced and even juicy with hints of candied strawberries; good and very surprising
Cantine Sabea, Vino Etna Rosso “Ciclopi” Riserva Duca di Mr Bianco, 1965
Coffee and cocoa in the nose with oxidative tones, taste is thin and withered. Unfortunately.
Caparra & Siciliani, Ciro Riserva, 1963
The fragrance is developed, but rich; dry taste, fresher, better than the smell and more than correct, subtle and fragile, still alive. Deserves, as a very simple wine of the mostly unknown Gaglioppo grape from this underappreciated region, a moment of reflection and respect. It doesn’t have to be all famous and expensive to be enjoyed.
Marchesi Frescobaldi, Mormoreto, 1985
Smell comes across as oxidated, not quite fresh anymore, lots of wood and herbs, taste is better with still some dark fruit and juice, impressions of dried herbs and the necessary tannins, fruit is not in optimum condition, but still testable.
Thanks to Jan Ronald Boering
Marchesi Frescobaldi, Montesodi, Chianti Rùfina Riserva, 1983
The Montesodi is a vineyard at about 400 meters, planted with Sangiovese. In 1974, for the first time, a single-vineyard wine was made.
Elegant color; in the nose cedar, wood and still fruit, the taste is remarkably juicy and lively, good structure and ripe, natural tannins, nice sweet fruit and a nice balance; well-balanced noble wine, beautifully developed while maintaining length; proves the class of Montesodi.
Thanks to Jan Ronald Boering
Fattoria Selvapiana, Vigna Bucerchiale, Chianti Rùfina Riserva, 1979
Beautiful color and fragrance, fused red fruit, fine and lively, mineral notes, many cherries and berries, beautiful acidity, tannin gives structure, nice balance and tension, still clearly with length, persuasive elegance, proves that Rufina has a beautiful terroir and Sangiovese can excel here.
Antinori, Tignanello, Vino da Tavola, 1981
The first time a wine was named Tignanello, it was still some kind of new style super-chianti. The 1971 Tignanello was basically a Chianti Classico, but aged in barriques, from 100% Sangiovese and so, particularly, without the mandatory addition of white grapes. Then, Piero Antinori decided to make it a very different wine to distinguish himself even more, and to state clearly what his vision was on the development of vineyards in Tuscany. In consultation with master oenologist Giacomo Tachis he opted for a blend of about 80 (later 85%) sangiovese with 20% (later 15%), cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc. The first year that this wine could be made, happened to be 1975 and a phenomenon was born.
The 1981 has a modest scent and turns out to be a Tignanello at age; matured, but in excellent condition with a nice balance, juice, some tannin and wood, but especially beautiful fruit, a pleasant filling and tension; elegant with persuasion;, the cabernet is present and fills the finesse of sangiovese with vigor and accents of dark fruit; fine wine with sufficient potential to age further. Presented itself as one of the youngest wines of the evening.
Thanks to Jan Ronald Boering
Antinori, Tignanello, Vino da Tavola, 1980
Personal comment from Piero Antinori: 1980 was a very good vintage, maybe the best of the eighties. It was a long growing season with slightly cooler weatherconditions and that gave the wine more elegance than power. This is also reflected in the 1980 Tignanello. Good evolution of color with some brown on a red base; in the nose a little tobacco, licorice and dried plums, velvety tannin structure, mineral accents and acidity that gives the wine elegance and refinement. Excellent example of a Tignanello from an elegant year.
More development than the 1981, more autumn, truffle and mushrooms with dried flowers, also some herbs and tobacco. In the mouth the right balance, tannins and drying are not dominant, subtle fruit tones, everything fragile and very light. Delicate wine that shows how enjoyable 1980 was in Tuscany and how excellent Tignanello is. A prima ballerina.
Antinori, Tignanello,Vino da Tavola, 1975
The first Tignanello in its present form.
Personal comment from Piero Antinori: 1975 was one of the best vintages ever for Tignanello, a fantastic season that gave the wine a lot structure and intensity. The wine is still very much alive, with a beautiful color, intense with a touch of brown; tannins are velvety and give the length and sweetness.
We’ve tasted the wine and a discussion arose about it. The level in the bottle was ‘mid-shoulder’ and opinions about the scent varied from ‘impure’ to ‘old’ to ‘too old’. Taste is better than scent, but everything stays very fragile and the aromas from the wine resolve in the glass. Doubts about the condition of this particular bottle dominate.
Tenuta San Guido, Sassicaia, Vino da Tavola, 1974
The smell is not pronounced, it is however developed with some tired tones and accents of cheese; the taste is better, full and clearly cabernet with black fruit and correct use of wood, nice acidity and good structure; aftertaste is rich in tannins, good body with fruit and juice, medium finish, nice surprise, lives up to its name and fame, although 1974 is not a great year.
Castello di Monsanto, Il Poggio, Chianti Classico Riserva, 1972
An exceptional wine from a year that most producers would like to forget. Rain dominated the harvest and resulted in many sad wines. The hill Il Poggio was affected by botrytis, but the grapes appeared otherwise healthy. Fabrizio Bianchi decided to make a wine anyway and a unique creation arose. The botrytis resulted in loss of color and fragrance and flavor components that he found in no other Poggio. An intriguing wine; which he often described as an aphrodisiac. Smells like a white wine, impressions of apricots, nuts, mint and cream; the taste is good, quirky with intriguing sweetness against fresh acidity, very special but in a good sense of the word; average structure with obstinate character, and all except too old.
Thanks to Natascha Sonnemans.
Fattoria di Nozzole, Nozzole, Chianti Classico,1969
Light, transparent color and a soft, elegant fragrance; beautiful, typical old Chianti, much more potential than is known to most people (and producers); subtle, delicately, but will keep up, dried fruit, floral and well balanced, somewhat dry, medium finish; noble wine
Paolo Cordero di Montezemolo, Barolo, 1969
Changing ratings. Some found the wine too old, others enjoyed the traditional color, scent and flavor of ripened Nebbiolo with impressions of tar, roses, high acidity for tension and still very present. A bit drying.
Travaglini Giancarlo, Gattinara, Selezione Numerata, 1968
Developed aromas but considerably fresher than the Barolo from 1969; minerals and lots of fruits, dried red fruits, roses, licorice, hint of tar, typical Nebbiolo; very pure and elegant, sweet diaphragm, dried red fruit, some white pepper, tannins present but dosed and supported by fruit, very nice in all respects.
Scarzello Giorgio F.lli, Barolo, 1965
Pink color, very light and stale scent with accents of roses, soft taste and very drinkable with rinse acidity, but very well developed, aftertaste is short and dominated by bitters, wine will be in balancefor a while, but falls apart when open longer; not great and after over 45 years (!) passed its peak, but still certainly enjoyable.
F.lli Cavallotto, Barolo Riserva, 1964
Fraaie afgeronde geur, opvallend fris en levendig, beduidend jeugdiger dan de Scarzello uit 1965; mooie delicate wijn met tonen van specerijen, herfst en rood fruit; prima balans en voldoende grip en smaak; klein bittertje in de afdronk waarin ook florale tonen (gedroogde rozen) naar voren komen; aangename, zachte, ontwikkelde wijn; zeer goed.
Gaja, Barbaresco, 1962
Clearly evolved, but the smell is still standing, still the typicity of Nebbiolo with sufficient red fruit, some tar, leather and floral tones; the taste is as elegant as it is full, a lot of evolution, but still in good condition, tannin and warm glow of alcohol in the aftertaste; nice.
Luigi Ferrardo, Carema, 1970
Beautiful red color, scent even includes youthful tones, taste is full of lovely sweet ripe fruit and floral accents, a nice balance, fresh and exciting with great concentration, the long aftertaste is promising, very complete wine with more future, presents itself as a charmer; very nice.
Luigi Ferrardo, Carema, 1957
Developed in color and scent; light red with a brown tinge, but with good intensity; in the nose at first reluctant, needs air and than gives a nice scent palette of roses, nuts, spices as laurel and bay leaves and cloves with peppery accents; in the mouth the wine is soft and full, with sweet fruit, soft tannins and acidity that comes across as relatively youthful, the wine grows in the glass and shows, only after fiffteen minutes, its full power, complexity and finesse; subtle tones of roses, delicate, sweet spices , fresh and dried fruit against a mineral background, great wine
It is a fact that most wines are made for immediate consumption. I am the last person who wants to claim that you should keep wines until the end of time. But the fact is that this tasting conclusively demonstrates that there are many wines with an unknown, veiled aging potential. It’s been proven that they have the ability at 30, 40 and even 50 years, to surprise people with beautiful, intriguing flavors that only few know. The youngest wine of this evening was over 25 years old, the oldest wine almost 55. The majority of them presented themself still drinkable, possessing great or even more potential, even wines that cost next to nothing. These wines showed that it’s pointless, stupid, sinfull and sad that older wines get so little respect.