One of the nice things about working for someone who loves wine is that occasionally we get to try wines that we might not otherwise have access to. Some time ago, Alan was cleaning out his wine cellar up at the house and he gave us an assortment of older bottles that he felt needed to be drunk relatively quickly. All of them were over twenty years old and their condition ranged from clearly over the hill to still relatively vibrant and drinking well. Cleaning out our wine closet today we came across what must be the last of these bottles, one we didn’t realize that we still had. It is the 1978 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé, Musigny, Cuvée Vielles Vignes and we decided to open it this evening. The wine is approximately 27 years old and has been in our back hallway for well over a year so we didn’t get our hopes up. The foil cover came away from the cork grudgingly and the cork itself was black with age, sediment and mold.
We wiped the cork and carefully eased it out of the bottle. A quick sniff reassured me that it wasn’t corked and we slowly decanted the wine. About two thirds of the way into the bottle the sediment swirled into view and we chose to work with what we had decanted and the leave the rest in the bottle. The wine itself was surprisingly vibrant, it’s color that of only slightly faded red roses, slightly translucent but still with good extraction. There was some fading from the core to the clear rim but it did not have the light orange hues that I was expecting. The nose was earthy and ethereal with a hint of barnyards and roses. The wine itself was surprisingly acidic with a strong backbone holding up it’s delicate flavors. The tannins were soft but definitely still present and the flavors displayed roses, raspberries, newly turned earth and the faintest whiff of cigar smoke. The finish lingered with the dusty flavors of brambles and dried rose potpourri. The wine itself was surprising in both its structure and its flavors, an unexpected boon for a chilly autumn evening.