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Open That Bottle Night: 1983 Château Filhot

The capsule was intact, fill level good, firm cork, and there was no trouble opening the bottle. The cork initially smelled like ancient, wet wood, then dried out to echo the wine’s aromas. The wine poured like honey, caramel gold in the glass. At first it really had no aroma. It tasted of dates and prunes, with plenty of acidity. It was typically developed for a Sauterne, even a touch woody, almost maderized. An hour later, aromas were more prevalent and the wine was still rich, finishing with dried apricot flavors. With food—haricots verts with shallots—it matches like an older Riesling. It tasted sweeter against a fairly plain, sautéed shrimp dish. Still later, as flavors lightened toward the front palate, the finish lengthened. The next morning, I tasted the bit I preserved in the bottom of a glass, and the wine remained just as vibrant. Unfortunately (sigh!) a small swallow is all that’s left. Enough for breakfast, I guess.
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Open That Bottle Night Wine of the Week: 1975 Château Citran

One always wonders if a wine of this age has anything left to impart. This does. Good high neck fill on the bottle. Lively dark brick color but still nice hues. Leathery, snuff-box, and dried black cherries on the nose unfold in the nose. In the glass and on the palate, whispers of spice like turmeric and black cloves. The fruit is like an aging dowager of faded glory but still a residue of charm left. Finishes surprisingly long. Of some historic interest as it was made before the original family sold the property to a Japanese concern in 1987. In keeping with the wine itself, should be drunk while watching the fading twilight of the day.
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1999 Valley of the Moon Cuvée de la Luna

The cork was a little soft and I lost a couple centimeters of it to the bottle. This wine is definitely showing some age. Garnet in color with a brick rim. On the nose it has definite aromas of dried fruit—cherry, plum, raisins—lots of spice, some vanilla, dried flowers, earth, the slightest hint of bell pepper, and what I think is a little Brett. It’s dry and rich on the palate, medium intensity, medium-light acidity, super soft tannins. Lots of dried fruit and floral flavors come through on the palate as well. Black fruit: plums especially. And a little cola. Definitely some brighter cherry on the finish.
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1999 Heitz Cellars Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

Jeff Lefevere, of Good Grape, shared this with me on Open That Bottle Night, and it was wonderful, and still very young. The nose shows mocha, a touch of menthol and creamy nougat. Blackcurrant, unsweetened chocolate, fig, and eucalyptus all show, but flavors come in layers. It is still drinking young, terrifically balanced in an old-school way, with acids bright and lively. Hold another decade or more with confidence. Drink with a good friend and chops from local lamb. Very highly recommended.
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1975 Château Citran

One always wonders if a wine of this age has anything left to impart. This does. Good high neck fill on the bottle. Lively dark brick color but still nice hues. Leathery, snuff-box, and dried black cherries on the nose unfold in the nose. In the glass and on the palate, whispers of spice like turmeric and black cloves. The fruit is like an aging dowager of faded glory but still a residue of charm left. Finishes surprisingly long. Of some historic interest as it was made before the original family sold the property to a Japanese concern in 1987. In keeping with the wine itself, should be drunk while watching the fading twilight of the day.
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1976 Balbach Niersteiner Klostergarten Optima Trockenbeerenauslese

Age shows through the color, which is very dark, like a tawny port. On the nose it smells a little oxidized, a bit like port there, too. But on the palate, oh on the palate!, it was a whole other story. It was sweet, with honey and maple syrup running strongly under all the other flavors. Floating above the mouth-filling sweetness was a whole collection of flavors, from white flowers to toffee, all with a very light background of lemon, tart and acidic. The finish lasts absolutely forever, with all the flavors eventually fading but one, leaving a taste, even the sensation, of a patiently-sucked Werther's Origina Caramell. Drink it with me. Foie gras would work too, but I'd rather you drink it with me. Very highly recommended.