Friends in Wine Places

Several weeks ago I was at my friends Anna’s and Martha’s place for dinner and Martha had told us that, due to some recent slowing down in the wine consumption department, she had a number of older bottles in her cellar that she feared might be past their prime. Instead of doing what I would do (which is to open them anyway and call it a lesson in wine tasting) Martha gave me and another guest each a bottle on our way out. I can’t say enough about Anna’s and Martha’s generosity, and this is was just another example.


Case in point – a 1999 Bordeaux!




A Cotes de Castillion, to be exact. An 80%/20% blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, harvested in 1999 and bottled in 2001.


I am a lucky wino.


Last Thursday I decided to open it. I had gotten some bad news the day before, had the next day off, and was feeling suitably Christmas-y – all good reasons to open a good bottle in my books.





Deep and dark and surprisingly still ruby-coloured. I expected to see more of a garnet or rusty red colour but only saw a hint of it on the edges.



Pretty generous amounts of gorgeous red fruit (strawberries, raspberries, currant and plum) along with some leather (probable sign of age) along with some vanilla, cinnamon and clove (signs of oak).



  • Holy tannins! This wine was still surprisingly grippy for it’s age, which makes me wonder what kind of smack in the face it doled out in its younger days.
  • That being said, the fact that I didn’t find it highly tannic is probably a sign that it’s had time to calm down a bit (wines are like people, they mellow as they age).
  • Acidity is still pretty strong too. The wine was bright and juicy for sure. It faded as the wine opened up, and started tasting a little flat as soon as the second glass, but I was still impressed with how much acidity was still there.
  • There wasn’t much fruit left on the palate (mostly tannin, acid and leather) which is probably the truest sign of age my novice palate noticed.



This wine was really nice. Did it have age? Yes. Would I argue if someone thought it was a little past its prime? No. It might not have had the oomph it once did, but it was still thoroughly enjoyable. On reflection, and considering how close it is to the holidays, I probably should have saved it to share with my family (sorry, parents!) but this bottle had been tempting me for weeks, I couldn’t resist it any longer.


Thank you thank you thank you to my friend Martha for giving me this bottle. I have no idea whether it would have been up to snuff for you but it certainly brightened my week.  


Have you had any stand-out wines lately?


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  • Reply Wino December 15, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    Yes, it would have been nice to share with your parents, but they probably don’t have any old bottles they share with you. I wonder who is getting coal in their stocking this year.

    • Reply megshannon December 15, 2016 at 8:33 pm

      No, clearly there are no old bottles to be had in that house. Maybe I can avoid getting coal if I bring home a nice bottle of bubbly?

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