# 1840 Tokaji and # 1770 Madeira created one of the best ever emotions

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François Audouze
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# 1840 Tokaji and # 1770 Madeira created one of the best ever emotions

#1 Post by François Audouze » October 30th, 2019, 6:50 am

Let's face it, this is probably the biggest day of my life when wine is concerned. It goes back a long way. Joël, a madman of all that is antique, had sold me about fifteen years ago a bottle of a boat that had sunk in 1739. The bottle of onion shape was marked by marine erosion and Joel had me said that I should not expect wonders. He then sold me the oldest bottle I drank, whose year was estimated at 1690, which we drank together on a memorable day. Joel is a passionate for antiques and recently he tells me he would like us to share a Tokaji that Christie's had estimated in the 1860s but had revised around 1840. Joel wants to drink it with me and I suggested that we drink it in my cellar, and that we choose together in my cellar the wine that would allow me to honor his bottle.

I have in my cellar a very important number of bottles of the 19th century of which a good number without readable label which I grouped in boxes. And among them, there is one, without the slightest label, totally opaque, which is the only one that can claim to be of the 18th century. I have other 18th century bottles with labels or markers. This one does not have one. This bottle could be a star of one of my dinners, but I want to share it with Joel because I love the passion that drives him.
There is a wild strike at the SNCF (railway system) for the High Speed Trains (TGV) of the west of France and our program could fall into the water but Joel who lives in Rennes finds a TGV and joins the train station closest to my cellar. I'm going to get him and we're going together to buy an apple pie that may be suitable for the planned tasting. Sushi will be delivered at mealtime.

We visit my cellar and Joel is much more interested in very old bottles. The 1928 or 1947 do not enter the radar screen of his interests. We visit and I show him the bottle of the 18th century by saying that it is one I imagined for our meeting. He answers me: "I noticed it right away, and it was the one I was hoping for".
For the aperitif, I open a Champagne Krug Private Cuvée years 50ies. The perimeter of the muzzle is dirty and when I want to remove the cork it comes without any resistance and without the slightest pschitt. The cylinder of the cork bears traces of mold, but the bottom surface of the cap is extremely clean and healthy. I pour the champagne which has a beautiful color of a mahogany gold. The champagne is of an absolute coherence. It is pure, intact, sparkling present but discreet, with evocations of dry Sauternes. Because it elegantly combines the dry and the sweet. What is fascinating is its balance and its unquenchable final. It's a huge champagne. I had ordered with the sushis edamame which are not as good as those of the restaurant Pages because it lacks the added salt, but they marry divinely with the Krug which is part of the best that I could drink. Such a balance is unique.

I open the bottle of Tokaji # 1840 whose neck was covered with two layers of recent waxes. When removed, the top of the cork very small and very clean gives the impression of being original. When I pull it, doubt is not allowed, a cork of this quality can only be original. The cap is fine, soaked on a third, and everything looks healthy. The nose is so fresh and so precise, felt at the bottleneck, that I wonder if this wine is real, as it is so young. By pouring the wine into the glasses, the very clear and so wonderful gold is unequivocal, it is not possible to copy such a color.

The nose of Tokaji has discreet alcohol and hints of autumn leaves. On the palate there are beautiful yellow fruits and chestnuts, and a great freshness in the finish. It is an airy Tokay. It even has a floral finish. It is elegant and it is very close to sauternes rather dry, like the previous champagne, but with more amplitude and sun. At the first contact of the first sip, I felt the woof of a Tokaji, and at the tasting that follows, it is the Sauternes that is more suggested. On tuna sashimi, the deal is as good as salmon sushi, which showcases the tangy side of sweet wine.

I did not want to read Christie's expert's tasting note in advance to not be influenced, but here it is: '' short friable cap, amber-colored pure gold and oily consistency. The aromas are sweet with a hint of orange and apricot. The wine is resinous and slightly nutty. Honey with a rose hip fragrance. Touch of balsamic character with a rich and persistent aftertaste ''. This is very consistent with what we taste, but I felt more freshness and less balsamic.

The stopper of the 18th century is of a very sparse cork, as one finds for the very old wines of Cyprus. It is glued to the glass and I have to curette it by removing crumbs by crumbs. His powerful perfume exhales well before I finish the operation. Before putting my nose on the neck I think of an alcohol as the emanation is strong and when I bring my nose, there is no doubt that it is a Madeira. The nose is rich, intense and muscaté. Given the bottle I would say it is a Madeira # 1770. A knowledgeable amateur on Instagram told me that the bottle is from 1720 to 1730. Would the wine be older? In any case it is eternal.

Joel had asked me in the course of discussion which wines have impressed me the most and I told him that these extreme wines are always accompanied by a physical reaction, such as shock or chills. Coincidentally, the first contact with the wine of # 1770 makes me take my head in my hands, as if I had just received a punch. It's a shock and I'm putting myself in a silent bubble. My God, what a shock. In the mouth, the wine is opulent, incisive, sharp. It has classic markers like pepper and liquorice, but a trace of salt is a trail of powder that ignites the pleasure. This wine is a bomb of power and salt transcends it. I immediately think about the Cyprus wines of 1845 which are for me the most complex wines that I have drunk, but here I think we are even higher, with this damn salt that radiates all the other directions that take this wine. There is a lot of sun fruit and this wine with infinite length leaves a heavy trace in the mouth and fresh at the same time. I am groggy.

We are obliged to notice that this wine is very much above the Tokaji 1840, even if this wine is itself fabulous. We reach an unreal peak. And circumstances lend themselves to the seventh heaven, because Joel bought this wine to drink with me and I chose this unique bottle to honor Joel, and everything was perfect. Apple pie is ideal for both wines.

I accompanied Joel to his train. He made me the gift of leaving me his bottle that I will finish with family and that will enlarge my collection of relics. A day like this is the highest reward of my passion.
Kind regards

François Audouze

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François Audouze
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Re: # 1840 Tokaji and # 1770 Madeira created one of the best ever emotions

#2 Post by François Audouze » October 30th, 2019, 6:56 am

the two bottles :

Image

The label indicates 1860 but Christie's wrote a note to my friend saying that 1860 is the date of the input in cellar of the original owner, and says that the wines could be as old as 1820 / 1830. I decided to name it in the middle of the dates.

Image

Don't blame me for the glasses, it was done on Instagram. But I said that for so powerful wines, more sophisticated glasses would make the smells more aggressive.
And in my cellar, I have not a big collection of glasses.
Kind regards

François Audouze

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Re: # 1840 Tokaji and # 1770 Madeira created one of the best ever emotions

#3 Post by robkim » October 30th, 2019, 8:02 am

Amazing words and shared experience, many thanks.

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Gabe Berk
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Re: # 1840 Tokaji and # 1770 Madeira created one of the best ever emotions

#4 Post by Gabe Berk » October 30th, 2019, 9:15 am

Unreal that fermented juice from hundreds of years ago coupled with a cork closure could hold up so well over that time frame. Thanks for sharing such a unique opportunity virtually no could experience.

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Re: # 1840 Tokaji and # 1770 Madeira created one of the best ever emotions

#5 Post by C Chen » October 30th, 2019, 9:16 am

Gabe Berk wrote:
October 30th, 2019, 9:15 am
Unreal that fermented juice from hundreds of years ago coupled with a cork closure could hold up so well over that time frame. Thanks for sharing such a unique opportunity virtually no could experience.
Quite unreal ;)
curt1S ch3N
CT: C Chen

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François Audouze
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Re: # 1840 Tokaji and # 1770 Madeira created one of the best ever emotions

#6 Post by François Audouze » October 30th, 2019, 10:53 am

it is the mystery of wine which has a resistance above what is usually believed.
It is easier for sweet wines made near the sea or near an ocean.
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François Audouze

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Re: # 1840 Tokaji and # 1770 Madeira created one of the best ever emotions

#7 Post by John Danza » October 30th, 2019, 11:24 am

Francois, can you post photos of the bottles? It would be great to see them.

Drinking really old wines can be so magical, and a learning experience as well. Thanks for your notes.
John Danza

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Re: # 1840 Tokaji and # 1770 Madeira created one of the best ever emotions

#8 Post by Sh@n A » October 30th, 2019, 11:45 am

Thank you
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Re: # 1840 Tokaji and # 1770 Madeira created one of the best ever emotions

#9 Post by Karl K » October 30th, 2019, 2:14 pm

Well done!
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Re: # 1840 Tokaji and # 1770 Madeira created one of the best ever emotions

#10 Post by Dave English » October 30th, 2019, 2:52 pm

John Danza wrote:
October 30th, 2019, 11:24 am
Francois, can you post photos of the bottles? It would be great to see them.

Drinking really old wines can be so magical, and a learning experience as well. Thanks for your notes.
He did but the forum might be taking issue with some ssl aspects of where the pictures are hosted. Can you see these ones?

20191029_160328.jpg
20191029_115454.jpg
20191029_160640.jpg
20191029_160640.jpg (35.24 KiB) Viewed 650 times
Last edited by Dave English on October 31st, 2019, 1:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: # 1840 Tokaji and # 1770 Madeira created one of the best ever emotions

#11 Post by Jason T » October 30th, 2019, 3:45 pm

I am an eternal optimist but realistically I’ll never be able to try anything like this. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience, François. The way in which you write gives me at least a glimpse of what it would be like to enjoy these; it certainly shines a light on your passion.
J@son Tr@ughber

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François Audouze
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Re: # 1840 Tokaji and # 1770 Madeira created one of the best ever emotions

#12 Post by François Audouze » October 30th, 2019, 5:34 pm

Jason,
Thank you for this message.
Such sweet wines improve for ever.
I am sure that the bottle of 1770 Madeira would be even better in 200 years as I am convinced that the corks have attained a state of development which will not be altered.

Here is the cork of the 1770 Madeira (the wax parts belong to the Tokaji)

Image

the cork went into small pieces. In 2219, two centuries from now, it would be the same. (it is what I Believe)
Kind regards

François Audouze

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Re: # 1840 Tokaji and # 1770 Madeira created one of the best ever emotions

#13 Post by Bob Watt » October 30th, 2019, 6:58 pm

Truly AMAZING! Thank you for sharing Francois.
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Re: # 1840 Tokaji and # 1770 Madeira created one of the best ever emotions

#14 Post by Robert M yers » October 30th, 2019, 7:31 pm

Francois,
Was there anything notable from The 1770 Madeira that would differentiate it from say only a 100 year old Madeira besides the “romance”? (Which is admittedly awesome)

Almost None of us will get to try a 250 yr old wine, the question is should we leave our Madeira for so many generations due to vinous merits?

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Re: # 1840 Tokaji and # 1770 Madeira created one of the best ever emotions

#15 Post by John Danza » October 31st, 2019, 2:42 pm

Dave English wrote:
October 30th, 2019, 2:52 pm
John Danza wrote:
October 30th, 2019, 11:24 am
Francois, can you post photos of the bottles? It would be great to see them.

Drinking really old wines can be so magical, and a learning experience as well. Thanks for your notes.
He did but the forum might be taking issue with some ssl aspects of where the pictures are hosted. Can you see these ones?


20191029_160328.jpg


20191029_115454.jpg


20191029_160640.jpg
Yes, thanks!!
John Danza

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Re: # 1840 Tokaji and # 1770 Madeira created one of the best ever emotions

#16 Post by J. Rock » October 31st, 2019, 4:30 pm

You've really piqued my interest in incredibly old wines. In your experience, about how often would you say that sweet or fortified wines from the 19th century are still good or enjoyable?
J o r d a n

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Re: # 1840 Tokaji and # 1770 Madeira created one of the best ever emotions

#17 Post by François Audouze » November 1st, 2019, 3:55 pm

I would like to answer to some questions.

Concerning the “romance”, I cannot say that there is none, but I have drunk 467 wines which had 100 years or more when I drank them and it helps me to say when I find bad a wine that I drink, and good when it is good for me.

Among them, liquorish or sweet represent 272 wines. And I do not remember of a bad sweet wine because they are so solid that they stay in their form, and just evolve with age. And corks are models for keeping wines in a good shape. The quality of the corks is great because at that time they did let the trees grow their skin for a sufficient time.

I have many times heard that a cognac put in bottle does not evolve any more. This is wrong. Of course if you keep it for 5 years there will be no evolution. But on one century, there is a great evolution developing the complexities and the charm.

I can say definitely that one century more makes a huge difference, which is a positive difference. It is spectacular for Madeira, for Cyprus wines, for Tokaji, Malvoisia, Malaga, Sherry, Jerez, and so on. Instead of fading, they develop harmony and complexities. And the greatest wine of the 18th century, the Constantia of South Africa which is absolutely fantastic, will never be challenged by the actual Klein Contantia, (produced again in the 80ies of 20th century after one century of no production) until it gains one century or more of age.

Be sure of one thing, I report on my emotions on wines according to my sensibility. Having written on my blog 4575 articles with 31244 pictures, I would not be very proud if I did not describe my emotions with sincerity. And my work would have no interest.

I confirm that age has an enormous positive influence on sweet or liquorish wines. For red or white wines, the influence is the same, but the risk is largely higher. I have accepted the risk and the positive results are Worth the trip (of course if you accept the corresponding budgets).
Kind regards

François Audouze

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Re: # 1840 Tokaji and # 1770 Madeira created one of the best ever emotions

#18 Post by François Audouze » November 1st, 2019, 4:05 pm

I would like to show the votes of one of my dinners.
In my dinners participants vote for their 4 or 5 best. As the wines are all different, to say that a champagne is better than a liqurous or that a Bordeaux is better than a Burgundy white wine has no technical justification. It is a vote of pleasure.

In this dinner the wine voted first was the 1878 Lafite. And what is spectacular is that all the participants voted for this wine which was declared winner before 1891 Yquem, 1928 Mouton and 1945 Cheval Blanc.
If age did not bring something the 1878 Lafite would not have been in the votes of everyone.

Image

Age has a positive influence on wine when all other negative factors do not fight against the wine (illness of the cork, bad conservation, temperature badly controlled).
Kind regards

François Audouze

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Re: # 1840 Tokaji and # 1770 Madeira created one of the best ever emotions

#19 Post by David K o l i n » November 1st, 2019, 9:40 pm

Breathtaking as always, François. Thank you

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Re: # 1840 Tokaji and # 1770 Madeira created one of the best ever emotions

#20 Post by François Audouze » November 2nd, 2019, 2:00 pm

Thank you !
My friend has sent me pictures of bottles from 3 periods : 1700 - 1720 / 1720 - 1740 / 1740 - 1760.
And the most probable date for the bottle of Madeira is 1740. This is 30 years younger than my estimation and correspond to the French King Louis XV.
If you are interested the bottles can be seen at this address :

http://www.academiedesvinsanciens.org/j ... dere-1770/
Kind regards

François Audouze

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Re: # 1840 Tokaji and # 1770 Madeira created one of the best ever emotions

#21 Post by alan weinberg » November 2nd, 2019, 3:54 pm

François Audouze wrote:
November 2nd, 2019, 2:00 pm
Thank you !
My friend has sent me pictures of bottles from 3 periods : 1700 - 1720 / 1720 - 1740 / 1740 - 1760.
And the most probable date for the bottle of Madeira is 1740. This is 30 years younger than my estimation and correspond to the French King Louis XV.
If you are interested the bottles can be seen at this address :

http://www.academiedesvinsanciens.org/j ... dere-1770/
though back in the day, bottles were often reused.

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Re: # 1840 Tokaji and # 1770 Madeira created one of the best ever emotions

#22 Post by Eric Ifune » November 2nd, 2019, 5:00 pm

Interesting glass bottle for the Madeira. Given it appears quite old, that was close the period when fortification began to be done systematically. (About the turn of the 18th century) Both the 1715 JCA Terrentez and the 1720 Borges Pather are in newer bottles. (Bottled from demijohns) I've seen one tasting note for the Pather which wondered if it was originally Moscatel.

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