MICHAEL FRIDJHON: Some wines are ready to drink only after your death
The trick is to find a happy balance as most wine is consumed within 24 hours of purchase and won’t necessarily last long
Old wine is not to everyone’s taste. A whole generation of winemakers have grown up assuming that the primary flavours of youthful wine is what the market wants. The result has been a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you don’t know or understand the taste of old wine, it’s unlikely you will care to make wine which will be at its peak years after you’ve entered the great production cellar in the sky.
In the early 2000s I spent time at Chateau Margaux with the late Paul Pontallier, selecting wines for his presentation at the annual Wine Experience I used to host. After tasting several vintages spanning five decades we settled on the 1959 as the final wine in the line-up. Paul had already been directeur of the chateau for 20 years, during which time he had produced several legendary vintages of the great Bordeaux. However, as we tasted the 1959, he remarked: “I hope to make one wine in my lifetime which will give pleasure like this many years after I’ve died.”