I’ve looked after this bottle for more than thirty years since my Father gave it to me, unceremoniously saying “Keep this a little while, it’ll improve with age”. His gift wasn’t linked to anything specific but I now realise that buying a number of these bottles had been his own way of marking his sixtieth birthday.
The cork largely held together, it’s always tricky performing the extraction on these old bottles. The wine was good, a fine old claret, neither gone tawny and changed its balance overall nor gone thin. Just a rounded, clear, strong and delicately fine claret. The nose now subtle but terrific and distinctive, the main impression in the mouth was sophistication rather than all-out strength and a lingering after-taste as the ancient vintage receded in to memory.
1984, the mythic year of George Orwell’s dystopian novel, had been a good year for me. I’d moved in to this house a year or so previously. I was consolidating my friends, acquaintances and lovers now I was no longer motorbike riding in from Berkshire but closer in for work on LWT television outside broadcasts. A motorbike holiday to the Swiss Alps and then on to meet with London biker friends in a gîte we had hired in the Dordogne. And also a short holiday to Los Angeles and Kauai.
So cheers to my Father’s gift, we enjoyed it along with a side of beef which I roasted to the long-standing methods of Delia, just I would have done in back in 1984.
And the reason to drink it now? It felt the right time, and yes, it was.