Will modern wines age as old wines ?samedi, 18 mars 2006

Here is what I have written in a discussion on the forum of Robert Parker on this subject. It concerned Montrose 1970  and went to this question. Mark Squires who manages the forum is violently against old wines.
The question that is put in this discussion is like the sex of the angels, there will never be any answer.

I do not know if old wines are good, but the joy that I have by freeing a wine of 1861, and checking how immense it is, is one of the greatest moments of my life

I have attended the tasting of the 38 years of Montrose with 9 wines of the 19th century. And for me, the optimum of taste is reached for the decade 20ies.
The 21, 26, 28, 29 represent a form of Montrose which is the greatest to my palate.
Of course the 1959 represents a magnificent wine. But my pleasure is at its top with the decade 20ies.

If Mark Squires does not like old wines, this can be understood. He drinks so many wines that he has formed his palate, and his palate excludes old wines. This is a point.

But as some wine lovers find their pleasure with old wines, it would be rude to say that they are nuts or that they understand nothing.

I have the chance to love old and young wine.
And when I say that I love La Tache 1990, it is my emotion
And when I say that I love a Chambertin Coron 1899, it is my emotion equally.

I have adored the Latour 1990 shared with the Belgian friends in Antwerpen, but I have adored the Latour 1870 that I have drunk too.

Wine has not been made with the same techniques. So we drink a wine of 1899 made with the techniques of 1899 and we drink a wine of 2002 made with the techniques of 2002.
I let experts say what is better.
I have drunk with Alain Vauthier Ausone 2002 and Ausone 1949 at the same dinner. The 02 is a bomb of fragrances. Impressive. But for me, this has nothing to do with the historical image of Ausone. It is a great wine, but different. And Alain told me that he thinks that it will age wonderfully.
This taste is enjoyed by many people. I say OK.
But for me, I do not see the connection with the historical line of Ausone.
But then I do not blame anyone.

If you take books of the 18th century, there are no photographs in them. The books were made differently, but have their charm.

I do not want to give any theory. I just want to drink wines which exist and try to explain to wine lovers how to approach them. This is my motivation.
And I thought of my action :
– do I make wines live longer ?
– do I shorten their lives ?

And it is clear that the answer is the second one. Old wines exist. When I drink them, when I share them, I make their life shorter as wines have been made to be drunk.
So, by sharing old wines, I make their life shorter.
And I do not suggest that someone keeps a wine for more than 50 years. There is today no sense for that.
But as old wines exist for various reasons, I am happy to give them the best possible destination : my palate and the palate of my friends or guests.

The question of ageing of actual wines has not a great interest as they will be consumed early.
The question for me is : what do we do with the existing bottles that change of owner every ten years and are never drunk ?
I try to explain how to open them, how to approach them to make no mistake of an inappropriate judgement.

As I love both young and old wines, I can say, and hopefully be understood :
the greatest emotions of my life come from great old wines, with pleasures that can never be found with young wines. The Montrachet Bouchard 1864 is my greatest ever dry white, and I was not under hypnosis when I had this sensation. The Richebourg DRC 1929 is my best ever red, and I was not under hypnosis when I had this sensation.
And I fall in love with La Mouline Guigal 1990, as I find an immense charm in it too.

And what is sure is that there is no competition between old and young wines.
The wines were made differently. Let us drink them with the same pleasure :
– one for old wines
– one for young wines
And I let the wine makers believe in what they do.
If they think that they have invented the truth, it is their belief.
I will see what is in my glass.
And generally in my glass, I find a true pleasure.