An old Bordeaux

We’re not wine experts, though we enjoy learning about wine and trying new wine. Our experiment today (as part of Thanksgiving festivities) was to see if a 16-year-old Bordeaux is still palatable.

The wine in question, a 1994 Les Fiefs de Lagrange, was purchased by my parents in Waterloo, Belgium, in 1997 or 1998. It survived a transatlantic crossing in a shipping container while it was still young, was stored improperly on its base and in a room that wasn’t temperature-controlled (though likely, since it was in a basement, was always below 70 degrees), and was, if memory serves, a fairly cheap bottle of wine to begin with. We’re not talking about a Chateau Lafite-Rothschild, anyway.

In other words, chances were 50-50 that we were uncorking foul vinegar.

Most books that I’ve read and websites that I frequent say a top-of-the-line Bordeaux ages nicely into its 15th year, and that’s under optimal conditions. With far-from-optimal conditions, I’m pleased to report that this Grand Vin de Bordeaux was pleasant on the nose, lightly fruity with subtle dryness and not nearly the acidity I expected.

We have several other bottles of mid-90s vintages, and next month may be uncorking a 1985 Margaux. I can’t wait to see if our experiments in old wines continue to be as fulfilling.

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About the Author

Owner of a graphic design firm specializing in magazine design and wannabe chef. Former resident of Belgium, the United Kingdom and...North Dakota.