Every so often, I have a rummage around the cellar and discover something or other that is probably past its “drink-by” date, but which turns out to be surprisingly good. An oversight probably, but I thought it might be fun to share a few experiences of cheaper bottles that have surprised or delighted us in this way, but please, no imperiales of Ch. Cheval Blanc 1947. I’ll kick off with a couple.
1999 Macon La Roche Vineuse, Vieilles Vignes, Olivier Merlin
Still has its price tag, cheapskate that I am. I wasn’t really expecting much if anything beyond oxidative hell from this, but I was wrong. It was still very much alive, and showing all that a mature white burgundy of this age should save for the ethereal topnotes that a Cote d’Or white should (but probably doesn’t since the arrival of prem-ox). Just a pleasant, serviceable Maconnais white for a weekday dinner in the garden.
1993 Savigny-les-Beaune, L’Heritier Guyot
I bought a case of this at an auction - nobody wanted it so I got it for £40 as I recall. Even with buyer’s commission, that works out at around £4 a bottle, so I award myself the Society’s “Bargain Hunter of the Decade” badge. Of course, that could have been £46 down the drain, but it wasn’t.
L’Heritier Guyot is probably better known as a producer of Creme de Cassis liqueur, but they used to have a negociant operation. This is a straightforward village wine, but 1993 was a good year, and all bottles opened so far have been fine. In fact the first I opened after buying the case a couple of years back was only just starting to open up. Not a complex wine, but mature red burgundy is hard to source at affordable prices these days. I always think that mature burgs are not about fruit but aromaticity, and this would be a good example of that.