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50th birthday wine recommendations

A friend of mine is planning his 50th birthday celebrations next spring.

He’s looking to source some wines around the £50pb mark - both red and white. This is somewhat out of my usual price bracket. Does anyone have anything they’d particularly recommend?

With food or easy drinking?

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Out of mine too! TBH the first question in my mind is what sort of event is planned. If it involves a lot of drinking I’d suggest lowering the budget considerably.

If it’s a nice meal with selected friends that’s a bit different and needs more careful consideration. For instance what menu?

Sorry this may not be very helpful, but £50 a bottle seems too much to me for casual consumption, even on a 50th birthday.


The “event” is actually several days away in the Lakes so there will be opportunities both for pairing with food and drinking without. However, he and I would likely be planning to pair these wines with food, but the menu would be dictated by the wines rather than the other way around. Sorry for not being more specific, I realise it’s a very broad brief!

For ease, here is a link to wines from £45-55:


On that first page id be excited by ch batailly, mersault charmes, rioja 904, boxler riesling…

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For my significant birthdays I have adopted a tradition of hosting a dinner at home and serving wines from a vintage that ends in the same number as my birth year ie 2. For my 40th we had ‘62s and my 50th ‘82s. I have a case of ‘12 Beaucastel earmarked for my 70th.

If your friend followed that pattern there would undoubtedly be some great 2010 options. There are some very good red wines around the £50 mark in the list including Burgundy and Rioja. Plus Rieussec at £29 per half.


Just a thought but does it have to be £50 per bottle if he is looking for multiple bottles?

If looking for several could go for a range of prices and build up to a show stopper on the final night?

Assuming one bottle per night, could start with a £30, then a £40 and end with an £80, or all manner of prices inbetween.

If willing to give a total budget and number of bottles looking for I am sure there would be a wealth of suggestions. Are there any foods you would want to avoid?

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Would he be interested in birth year wines for the celebration?

I appreciate that it’s a bit of a gamble at the best of times but for example there are some clarets here within budget:



Looking at what is in stock at TWS at around that budget, I like the look of:

  • Flacianello 2014 (have had, sensational)
  • Carillon Puligny 2014 (haven’t had, respected producer, great vintage)
  • Mortet Gevrey 2010 (haven’t had this wine, have enjoyed his wines, great vintage)
  • various Sauternes

A lot of the wines that will be great in time just aren’t mature enough yet (Barolo, CNDP, Alsace) unfortunately. I’d look at somewhere like Ancient and Modern Wines, which has various fully mature Bordeaux in the £40-60 range (indeed I bought a 1979 from them for my recent birthday…).


If you can find Giscours ‘70 anywhere I can confirm that is still drinking well. We opened the penultimate magnum from a case last year.

As said above, a lot of wines in this price range won’t be ready to drink yet, or at least far from their full potential. It might be worth contacting customer services to explain exactly what you want, and how much of it you need. They may well have small numbers of mature wines that are not listed but might be ideal for you.


what about £50 per magnum…


Or if you HAVE to stay close to £50 per (750ml) bottle:

Magnums are such fun, especially for large groups.


Great suggestion!

I would put in a shout for this if you are after a decent port:


Had a 1970 Claon Segur at the weekend…shot to b*ggery!

in my opinion, Its a really big risk to get wines of that age - unless either i) you have had them for a long time and know their ‘recent’ cellaring or ii) you are buying them exbond of a reputable vintner


I think if you are going to buy something for an occasion at that sort of price point then you have to play it safe to an extent and go for something that will please most people. In my view the safest way to please the crowd at that price point is going for a Bordeaux classified growth for the red (if you can find something with enough age at £50) and a white Burgundy .

TWS list is a bit thin for Bordeaux at that price point although there is this option which is worth considering.

I’d have thought that it’s probably had just enough bottle age at this point to start drinking it.

I bought 3 bottles of La Lagune 2009 from TWS at £50 per bottle a couple of years ago which would have been perfect but looks like it’s all gone as I can’t see it online any more.

If you are close enough to Stevenage then it’s worth visiting the showroom. There is a fine wine section there and they have a number of bottles (I think maybe bin ends/low quantity stock) that you wont find online.

There is a decent choice of white Burgundy online, these two look like they would work

Good luck!


oh no, the 2009 Batailley finally oos! Hopefully @Jcmwooldridge snapped up the last of them in time. There’s a 2008 magnum for £80 too on the list…

Had Coche-Bizouard yesterday, albeit Auxey-Duresses, and that was wonderful so bet the Meursault even more so.


Thanks for all the great suggestions everyone.

Will almost certainly be going for the Batailley (possibly upgrading to a magnum @tom) and also the Meursault Charmes.

Others under consideration are:

We like the idea of a 1970 vintage, but will probably try to search out a port in the hope that might be slightly less at risk of being undrinkable.


I would plump for a port too…Recent auction I went to, the ports were making more than £50/btl (as individual bottles)

Delaforce - £65 +21% fee (3 bottle lot at £140)
Warres Tercentenary £50 + fee (6 bottle to at £260)
12 btl case Gonzalez bass £500 + fee