I want to sample older vintages

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Craig e
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I want to sample older vintages

#1 Post by Craig e » August 12th, 2020, 11:02 pm

I just started with wine as a hobby. I am trying a lot of different wines to figure out what I like, to start developing my tasting ability, and mostly out of curiosity.

I want to try some older vintages, just to see what a twenty year old (or so) bottle of wine tastes like versus the more recent vintages I am mostly sampling.

I am in my 50s and don't want to wait 20 years to age my own.

Question, should I try a 20 year old Napa Cab, a Bordeaux, a Burgundy, a white Burgundy? Any suggestions.

I figured I would spend about 200 to 300 per bottle.

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Re: I want to sample older vintages

#2 Post by andrewkao » August 13th, 2020, 9:06 am

It's less about the type (Napa vs Bord vs Burg) and more about making sure you get a producer with aging potential and a bottle that has been stored properly. With those two components in place, you're going to get a incredible experience no matter Napa / Bord / Burg - that question is more of a personal choice IMO. I'd suggest Cellar Tracker as a good start to see how an older wine is holding up (see if there are recent reviews on the particular wine). Finally, I'd get an Ah-So wine opener like this one https://www.amazon.com/Monopol-Westmark ... B0002WZR4K. I learned from my mistakes after 1 too many broken corks...

I love burgundian-styled wines myself, and one producer who rightfully gets a ton of love on this forum is Joe Davis / Arcadian wines. His wines have tremendous aging potential and you can buy 20 year old wines directly from him still, ensuring provenance. His website has gone dark (there's a forum talking about it which you can search for) but I've been communicating with him via email and believe he still has some older wines available for sale. Lmk if you want his email.
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Craig e
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Re: I want to sample older vintages

#3 Post by Craig e » August 13th, 2020, 4:33 pm

Thanks for the advice

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Andrew K.
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Re: I want to sample older vintages

#4 Post by Andrew K. » August 13th, 2020, 6:14 pm

To be honest I would read here every day for the next couple of months. You'll learn so much that you'll be in a better place to figure out where to best put your $200-300 per bottle.
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Patrick T a y l o r
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Re: I want to sample older vintages

#5 Post by Patrick T a y l o r » August 13th, 2020, 9:07 pm

Storage and provenance are very important. Doing some sleuthing on Cellartracker is helpful. And there are lots of knowledgeable people on this board who are familiar with your price range.

But I would also suggest finding a really good local wine shop. They probably won't have any 20 year old bottles, but the owner can tell you what producers and vintages to look for, and perhaps more importantly, what producers and vintages to skip.
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Re: I want to sample older vintages

#6 Post by andrewkao » August 13th, 2020, 10:02 pm

In an effort not to overwhelm too much, perhaps these practical steps may help:

1. Find a trusted wine store that sells older vintages. If you don't have one near you, I'd suggest K&L, which ships nationally, has a very nice website with updated inventory, and has older vintages (but not so many such that it's overload). Just search "1999" for example and you'll see what they have from that vintage.

2. Do research on specific wines that may be interesting to you - style, producer reputation, etc.

3. Cross-reference with cellartracker to see if there are any recent tasting notes
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Sh@n A
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Re: I want to sample older vintages

#7 Post by Sh@n A » August 13th, 2020, 10:13 pm

I think you can find out what you like for less than $200-300/bottle, and get more variety to check out and see what resonates. E.G., you could get a more savory and a more fruit forward bordeaux (2x$150 versus 1x 300). or two of the same wine, with one being 2000/prior and one being much older to see how you like the savory characteristics over time. You could get a pre-bubblegum era and post-bubble gum era napa cab vs. a single bottle of cab. Or one napa cab and one california syrah. Maybe one strong burgundy since they can be more expensive, although you can pick up a 2005 Drouhin Mouche for $125 that I think will be pretty informative for whether you like burgundy vs the other wines you will be trying. Ditto for italians, split your budget and get one brunello and one barolo for $150 each.. many options out there and you don't need to go to the 1990s to scratch that itch.

Now, if you want to see what the quality pick up is at $300/bottle, that's a different question. But to see what you like, I think can be achieved for much less per bottle, with very high quality wines and a higher probability of success for finding what you like. There is an ocean of wine out there.. this is easy to do.

One thing I would suggest is to taste these wines with someone who knows who to describe them in wine speak. So you can find the descriptors that match the style of wine you like, and with those descriptors you can start to find more of those wines.
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Re: I want to sample older vintages

#8 Post by K N Haque » August 14th, 2020, 1:42 pm

Benchmark Wine has many older bottles and has a provenance guarantee (though what exactly it entails is a little hazy). I have never used them, but I might if I were looking for the kind of bottle you are. Provenance and storage will be crucial. Cellarraiders is another site that specializes in older bottles. I am sure there are more.
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Tomás Costa
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Re: I want to sample older vintages

#9 Post by Tomás Costa » August 15th, 2020, 2:45 pm

I agree you should probably start with Bordeaux/Napa/Piemont as these are heralded regions and you can approach them with your budget, but I should add that - assuming you can find them in the US - all the Caves São João wines from the 1980s and 1990s are extremely age worthy and much cheaper than the budget you've set for yourself.
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K N Haque
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Re: I want to sample older vintages

#10 Post by K N Haque » August 15th, 2020, 7:22 pm

SommSelect currently has a 1966 Volnay ex cellar under "Daily Offers." It is right at the upper edge of your price range and the provenance is perfect, seeing at how it will come direct from the cellar. If you are interested, I would appreciate if you buy through my referral link. It gets both you and I $20 off:

https://sommselect.com/invite/0d628b75cb5e08e8c546/
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Re: I want to sample older vintages

#11 Post by K N Haque » August 15th, 2020, 7:24 pm

Tomás Costa wrote:
August 15th, 2020, 2:45 pm
I agree you should probably start with Bordeaux/Napa/Piemont as these are heralded regions and you can approach them with your budget, but I should add that - assuming you can find them in the US - all the Caves São João wines from the 1980s and 1990s are extremely age worthy and much cheaper than the budget you've set for yourself.
The Caves Sao Joao are available in the US. Wine.com has a selection (at least in my state, their selection varies by state) from the 1980s and 1990s, both red and white. As Tomas said, they are affordable considering their age. Even the 1983 red reserve is under $100.
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Ron L.
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Re: I want to sample older vintages

#12 Post by Ron L. » September 15th, 2020, 1:54 am

So here's a question that relates to the OP. Is there such a thing as a pay-to-taste tasting of fine wines? For example, 10-11 customers could pay $50-100 each to taste several different bottles of fine wine, perhaps with a theme?

As a novice who would like to start a small collection, I would sign up for something like that once a month or once a quarter. How else am I going to get to taste, for example, 5 different bottles of burgundy or whatever the theme is. It's not like I have a friend who is going to go down into his cellar and open up 5 expensive bottles for me.
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Re: I want to sample older vintages

#13 Post by Lonnie F. » September 15th, 2020, 5:40 am

Ron L. wrote:
September 15th, 2020, 1:54 am
So here's a question that relates to the OP. Is there such a thing as a pay-to-taste tasting of fine wines? For example, 10-11 customers could pay $50-100 each to taste several different bottles of fine wine, perhaps with a theme?

As a novice who would like to start a small collection, I would sign up for something like that once a month or once a quarter. How else am I going to get to taste, for example, 5 different bottles of burgundy or whatever the theme is. It's not like I have a friend who is going to go down into his cellar and open up 5 expensive bottles for me.
Hi Ron,

I tried that early on. It was put on by a local wine shop. We tasted wines from different regions that they had for sale. All were young though and there wasn't much knowledge sharing between the attendees. I went twice and then found a better way.

There are wine tasting groups all over the country. There's a thread that lists some people in different cities that are looking for offline events. viewtopic.php?f=8&t=108793&hilit=offline

It might help if you put your location in so it shows when you post a message.

I happened to see a message about a DC group that was getting back together and asked if I could attend. I was welcomed by a great group. You don't pay to attend, you just have to bring a wine that matches the theme of the tasting. Usually the group brings wines from a chosen region with a threshold age and price. I'd find a wine that matched on a local wine store's web site, usually in their offline storage and then review recent Cellar Tracker reviews to see how the wine was drinking. I didn't want to buy something that was way past it's prime or a wine that was too young. And I definitely didn't want to bring a burgundy that was in it's dumb phase. BTW, you will learn that burgundy is good young and better old, but seems to have a dumb phase in between. You will read messages stating that the wine has closed down or "is now a wall of acid". So you really want to review current tasting notes. I then pick up my purchase on my way to the tasting. I now have a few older bottles and have brought wine from my collection to the last few events.

This is a great way to learn about different regions, older wines and strong producers. I was overwhelmed at first and didn't take good enough notes. I still drank some incredible wine, learned from listening to people who knew much more than me and had a great time. I remember the cedar in Billy's 1995 Chateau Certan as I write this. Blew my mind.

I'm sure there will be a surge in wine group tastings when we get through Covid.

Lonnie
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Ron L.
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Re: I want to sample older vintages

#14 Post by Ron L. » September 15th, 2020, 5:19 pm

Lonnie F. wrote:
September 15th, 2020, 5:40 am
Ron L. wrote:
September 15th, 2020, 1:54 am
So here's a question that relates to the OP. Is there such a thing as a pay-to-taste tasting of fine wines? For example, 10-11 customers could pay $50-100 each to taste several different bottles of fine wine, perhaps with a theme?

As a novice who would like to start a small collection, I would sign up for something like that once a month or once a quarter. How else am I going to get to taste, for example, 5 different bottles of burgundy or whatever the theme is. It's not like I have a friend who is going to go down into his cellar and open up 5 expensive bottles for me.
Hi Ron,

I tried that early on. It was put on by a local wine shop. We tasted wines from different regions that they had for sale. All were young though and there wasn't much knowledge sharing between the attendees. I went twice and then found a better way.

There are wine tasting groups all over the country. There's a thread that lists some people in different cities that are looking for offline events. viewtopic.php?f=8&t=108793&hilit=offline

It might help if you put your location in so it shows when you post a message.

I happened to see a message about a DC group that was getting back together and asked if I could attend. I was welcomed by a great group. You don't pay to attend, you just have to bring a wine that matches the theme of the tasting. Usually the group brings wines from a chosen region with a threshold age and price. I'd find a wine that matched on a local wine store's web site, usually in their offline storage and then review recent Cellar Tracker reviews to see how the wine was drinking. I didn't want to buy something that was way past it's prime or a wine that was too young. And I definitely didn't want to bring a burgundy that was in it's dumb phase. BTW, you will learn that burgundy is good young and better old, but seems to have a dumb phase in between. You will read messages stating that the wine has closed down or "is now a wall of acid". So you really want to review current tasting notes. I then pick up my purchase on my way to the tasting. I now have a few older bottles and have brought wine from my collection to the last few events.

This is a great way to learn about different regions, older wines and strong producers. I was overwhelmed at first and didn't take good enough notes. I still drank some incredible wine, learned from listening to people who knew much more than me and had a great time. I remember the cedar in Billy's 1995 Chateau Certan as I write this. Blew my mind.

I'm sure there will be a surge in wine group tastings when we get through Covid.

Lonnie
Solid advice, thank you!
L e e

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