a basement discovery

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markjchambers
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a basement discovery

#1 Post by markjchambers » June 10th, 2019, 6:49 am

This case was found in a friend of a friend's unfinished basement. No idea about when and where it was purchased though import labels have been added so in the US. There are 11 bottles of Bouchard sparkling[img]
vintage 1934 and one Vueuve Cliquot yellow label. The fill is at the bottom of the capsule. Any thoughts?
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Bdklein
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Re: a basement discovery

#2 Post by Bdklein » June 10th, 2019, 7:16 am

Have a great freakin party!!!
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John Morris
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Re: a basement discovery

#3 Post by John Morris » June 10th, 2019, 7:17 am

I can't find any reference to Geeting & Fromm (retailer? distributor?) or Pickerline Importers, so this must have been brought into the US a very long time ago.
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Matthew Brown
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Re: a basement discovery

#4 Post by Matthew Brown » June 10th, 2019, 7:19 am

Doubt there would be be much resale or auction value because of the provenance and low fills. I would plan to taste them for fun, picking maybe 3-4 bottles at a time and opening them together. I'm sure others will chime in, but I have had surprisingly random experiences with the exact same wine stored together for decades, so expect variability. try to pick 1-2 higher fills and 1-2 lower fills at a time to maybe help with a balance of success. Keep your expectations low, perhaps have a couple newer bottles on hand in case they all are dead, but also don't give up on a wine just because it seems off immediately. Plan to play with them over an hour or two at least; I've had an older Burgundy with a much worse full have about a 30 minute window of fascinating deliciousness sandwiched by absolutely nothing, so you never know. Stand them up for at least a day if not longer to let all the sediment settle and decant off to keep the grit as minimal as possible. Since these are found wines and you have no $ in them, have fun with them!
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John Morris
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Re: a basement discovery

#5 Post by John Morris » June 10th, 2019, 8:15 am

Though Champagne has a reputation for being delicate and in need of careful shipping, if these bottles have retained their sparkle, the CO2 would tend to reduce oxidation. I've had a few surprising (in a good way) experiences with older sparkling wines that had not been treated well. It should be fun to try them. As Matthew says, there's probably no secondary market value.
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Chris Seiber
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Re: a basement discovery

#6 Post by Chris Seiber » June 10th, 2019, 8:31 am

The way to create secondary market value is to claim they came from the basement of a very famous person. Maybe FDR or Douglas MacArthur lived in that house and was rumored to love Champagne? :)

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Re: a basement discovery

#7 Post by Eric Egan » June 10th, 2019, 8:54 am

I did actually come across a few bottles of the Bouchard recently. Not the '34 but an old NV probably released in the early '50s or so. It was surprisingly good. These won't be worth a lot but they should be a lot of fun to drink!
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Re: a basement discovery

#8 Post by Victor Hong » June 10th, 2019, 8:55 am

Chris Seiber wrote:
June 10th, 2019, 8:31 am
The way to create secondary market value is to claim they came from the basement of a very famous person. Maybe FDR or Douglas MacArthur lived in that house and was rumored to love Champagne? :)


And hire a famous wine critic, to generate tasting notes.
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Re: a basement discovery

#9 Post by Hao Lu » June 10th, 2019, 9:32 am

Nice find!

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Re: a basement discovery

#10 Post by Todd Hamina » June 10th, 2019, 2:42 pm

Well, if you go to any wine pick ups at your favorite producers take one. People love old wine even when it tastes bad.
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Re: a basement discovery

#11 Post by Mel Knox » June 10th, 2019, 2:50 pm

There were lots of Fromms in the wine biz,mostly notably Alfred Fromm of Fromm and Sichel.
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Re: a basement discovery

#12 Post by alan weinberg » June 10th, 2019, 3:14 pm

Chris Seiber wrote:
June 10th, 2019, 8:31 am
The way to create secondary market value is to claim they came from the basement of a very famous person. Maybe FDR or Douglas MacArthur lived in that house and was rumored to love Champagne? :)
and put them in a 55 degree wine cellar so you can say, “removed from a wine cellar at 55 degrees.”

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Re: a basement discovery

#13 Post by Mattstolz » June 10th, 2019, 3:27 pm

Chris Seiber wrote:
June 10th, 2019, 8:31 am
The way to create secondary market value is to claim they came from the basement of a very famous person. Maybe FDR or Douglas MacArthur lived in that house and was rumored to love Champagne? :)
just etch "Churchill" in the side of them and should be all set.

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Re: a basement discovery

#14 Post by markjchambers » June 10th, 2019, 5:11 pm

Thanks for the feedback.

I had searched for the importer and found nothing so I'm not surprised no one else knows anything. The bottles were actually packed in strange with individual draw sleeves. Lost in a corner of an old basement and left undisturbed the storage was probably decent.

I'll probably take the suggestion of having a party and opening up several, though not too many since if they are drinkable, they will probably fade quickly.

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Re: a basement discovery

#15 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » June 10th, 2019, 5:24 pm

It’s funny how often things these actually occur, but the occurrence now just seems to nefarious.

I had a law partner bring me last year a bottle of 1961 Chateau La Mission Haut Brion that he “re-found” in a closet as he was packing his house for a move. Evidently he and his wife got that bottle as a gift in the 1970s, stuck it in a dark closet, and then forgot about it. He didn’t know what to do with it then or even now, as neither drink wine. I told him to pop it with family or close friends and see whether it still had any magic left. I doubted it, as I know for a fact that the house - it’s in my neighborhood - just since the 1990s, has had multiple weeks in sweltering hot summer with no AC, a hurricane having kicked out power. It’s how some of my wine spoiled, in 2004 we had 3 hurricanes in 4 weeks, knocking out power for about 20 days in high-90s weather. The house was a sauna.

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Re: a basement discovery

#16 Post by Marcus Dean » June 10th, 2019, 6:27 pm

1934 was a good vintage, tasting note will be really interesting.

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Re: a basement discovery

#17 Post by mmarcellus » June 10th, 2019, 6:39 pm

https://frommfoundation.fas.harvard.edu ... paul-fromm

"[Paul] Fromm first hoped to become a patron of music in Germany; he was planning the establishment of a music foundation in his native land when he was forced to flee the Nazi pogroms in 1938. Settling in Chicago, he went into business as a wine importer, co-founding the Geeting and Fromm Corporation in 1939, founding the Great Lakes Wine Company in 1943."
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Re: a basement discovery

#18 Post by Michael Martin » June 10th, 2019, 6:48 pm

Too bad Maureen can’t chime in.

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Re: a basement discovery

#19 Post by GregT » June 10th, 2019, 7:38 pm

mmarcellus wrote:
June 10th, 2019, 6:39 pm
https://frommfoundation.fas.harvard.edu ... paul-fromm

"[Paul] Fromm first hoped to become a patron of music in Germany; he was planning the establishment of a music foundation in his native land when he was forced to flee the Nazi pogroms in 1938. Settling in Chicago, he went into business as a wine importer, co-founding the Geeting and Fromm Corporation in 1939, founding the Great Lakes Wine Company in 1943."
Good sleuthing! [cheers.gif]
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Re: a basement discovery

#20 Post by markjchambers » June 11th, 2019, 7:58 am

Thanks for the find on the importer. Further probing has yielded that the case was purchased 20-25 years ago. Undisturbed from that time and stored in good conditions. Still trying to find where it was purchased. The labels and capsules are generally in good condition and some bottles have a good fill. But, there's about 60 years of missing history. No idea about that. Probably open one or two at a gathering next week.

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Re: a basement discovery

#21 Post by markjchambers » July 5th, 2019, 8:05 am

OK. Finally got around to opening a bottle. Found a little more history. The wine came from the Mather Estate in Rossford, Ohio (outside of Toledo). The assumption is that it was purchased from the distributer and stored in the estate's passive wine cellar until my friend bought it at the estate sale 25 years ago and he stored it in his passive wine cellar (unfinished basement). The condition of the wine seems to indicate that storage was OK.

1934 Bouchard Sparking Burgundy (Beaune Cote D'Or). The label condition is excellent. The fill is just at the bottom of the foil. The cork disintegrated so into the decanter. Bubbles long gone. Cloudy brown with green edges. Not shy at all. Strong nose of plums. Bright flavors of plum with chocolate notes. Drinks like a light port. At about two hours, sour cherries took over then a slow fade.

I have no experience with wine this old, but I was surprised by the intensity and concentration of the flavors.
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Re: a basement discovery

#22 Post by Jay Miller » July 5th, 2019, 8:27 am

Fascinating story and excellent sleuthing by Mark.
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Re: a basement discovery

#23 Post by John Morris » July 5th, 2019, 8:43 am

Great to get the report, Mark!

Back in the 80s, I picked up a few bottles of what turned out to be sparkling Vouvray from the same era (it may even have been '34) as part of a mixed lot. The fills were terrible, and some corks had disintegrated, but one with a better fill was potable and even had some freshness -- not all cooked plums. So you never know.
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"The Internet has resulted in an exponential increase in the number of instances in which humor must be explained." - me, 2019

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