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40 Year Old Birthday Wine

Thursday, 20 October 2016 - 10:15am

This last week heralded the auspicious anniversary of my creation, and what better way to add to the festivities than a wine from my birth year!  This bottle of Vouvray has been the oldest wine in my cellar for a number of years, and we have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to tuck into it. At 40 winters, would it survive the rigours of time better or worse than it's owner?  Was it still alive, was it corked??  

So perhaps before we try the wine, a quick word on its provenance. "Vouvray" is a coveted appellation in the Loire Valley of France, next to the city of Tours. This is Chenin Blanc territory through and through, one of the greatest white grape varieties and one of the longest lived of all grapes (reds included!).  A labour of love to produce, it buds early, ripens late, and ripens unevenly - requiring rigorous cropping in the vineyard and multiple harvests over a course of weeks taking only the fully ripened fruit. The result, when treated with respect is nothing short of glorious.  It can be bone dry, or super sweet, and even makes respectable sparkling wines. Good examples can happily age 10+ years and much longer for great ones.  Name another grape with more versatility?? 

 

So back to our bottle - no small amount of trepidation approaching the top - the wax on top of the bottle was undamaged, and the cork gingerly eased from the bottle.  While the cork was wet right through to the end it did not seem overly soft and no hint of mould... first whiff of the cork & top of the bottle yielded no noxious fumes.... so good so far... 

The ultimate test was the first pour to the glass - a vibrant and deep green-gold colour with no hint of brown notes (a telltale sign of a wine past its best).  A quick swirl and waves of intoxicating aromas erupt from the glass.  Beeswax candle, dandelion, ripe pear and peach, and lanolin... with faint musky notes.  Fantastic! The first sip confirms the nose, an immediate burst of sweetness - clearly in the 'demi-sec' end of the spectrum. Remarkably fresh up front on the palate, with baked pears, wax, honey, irises, lime zest, lavender, each sip revealing a different character.  Comforted with the fact that the wine has lived up to expectations I can now relax with the rest of the meal and the occasion can be enjoyed.

This is a wine that has clearly stood up to the test of time, at or near its peak and looking spritely and full of vigour after 40 years.  Now... comparisons to whether the owner has held up as well... hmm..... 

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