May 06, 2012


When people ask what's the oldest wine I have, right now I'd say those nebbioli from  the 1960s that I got from Chambers Street last fall.

The real answer is this single bottle of 1943 Dom Perignon, one of the oldest wines of the most famous labels in the world, a Champagne grown and made in what must have been one of the darkest years of the second world war.

The year 1943 seems like a long time ago, and it is, though you're still in your 60s if that's your birth year. Not young by any means, but not old. Not quite yet.

It's an eternity for Champagne, especially this one.

I don't usually mention the Dom though. It's not wine you can have dinner with anymore. It's gone. The wine that once existed is now a memory, the bottle an urn on the shelf. Something I'll always keep because it makes me smile.

This bottle came with a few others from my great uncle, a gourmand in the old school sense who's long deceased. I house sat once and in the old wine cabinet were some legends, including a few of these. I opened one and it was dead then, maderized, cooked.

The others showed the same signs of seepage, usually from heat expanding the wine, forcing is out around the seal of the cork, ruining the wine. I kept one and have had it ever since, like a pipe from my grandfather, nothing I'll ever use but something from them both, something of them.

It's just not really wine anymore. It's become something different, its life unwound until it's a pile of thread on the table, an unraveled spool, sweeter still because it makes you smile anyway. Even if it can't come for dinner anymore.

1 comment:

wine blog said...

No doubt a wine you will remember forever! The bottle is a really cool relic to hold on to as well!