It began to play on my mind a few weeks ago that I had a forty year old bottle of wine sat under the stairs (or as like to call in the wine cellar) and that I would like to open it and drink it to celebrate both of the things I started this blog for…the birth of Reagan Grace and me turning forty! The days and weeks straight after both events were manic and because of breastfeeding commitments Jamie didn’t really drink anyway so the occasion never arose.
So I decided that last night was the occasion and began to prepare on Wednesday by standing the bottle upright which the instructions said to do to allow the natural sediment of vintage wine to drop to the bottom of the bottle. We planned to accompany such a special bottle of wine with a smorgasbord of special cheeses crusty bread and crackers from Godfrey C Williams in Sandbach.
The first job of the night was to get Reagan off to bed but before we did we needed to open the bottle decant the wine into glasses and allow it to breathe for an hour so as 20:00 (Reagan’s bedtime) approached I actually felt nervous about just opening the bottle.
I first cut the foil using the knife supplied in the box and removed it to expose the top of the cork, then took a deep breath and began to screw the corkscrew threw the cork until it was completely in and then gave it a tug realising straight away that it was going nowhere but Jamie reminded me how to actually use the corkscrew and the cork began to come out. As it came out of the bottle the bottom of the cork came away luckily in on piece and I quickly picked it out of the neck and the bottle was breathing for the first time in forty years.
We both sniffed the cork and were both surprised how rich the smell was, almost sherry like in my opinion. Now the bottle was open I needed to pour it and the instructions warned of the sediment and how to slowly so that it stays in the bottle and that the wine will be best poured into a decanter and left to breath but we chose to pour it into two glasses. Nervously I began to pour the first glass and slowly the wine came into view and after pouring a good glass poured the as slowly as the first and sat them both on the table. We both sniffed the wine then but didn’t taste the smell was not as strong as the cork but was very rich and woody with maybe a fruity tinge (my best attempt at descriptive wine appreciation) We then left to put Reagan to bed.
Over an hour had passed when we sat at the table and looked at each other then the wine and said “shall we taste, then” We both tried to do what we had learned about wine appreciation and looked at the colour which in my opinion was lighter than I usually like but beautiful rich red when held up to a candle. Swirling it around then in the glass I then sniffed the wine and the smell had completely changed from an hour ago now still only a hint of fruitiness but a now earthier woody nose was there (yes I used the word nose, ooo get me lol)
THE TASTE: We both took a sip and let it wash over our tongues and let it linger in our mouths for a few seconds making sure to cover every bit in the wine before swallowing. While the wine was in my mouth I aware how light bodied it was and that there was more fruit in the taste than the smell but after it left my mouth it was different again with an almost ‘metallic’ taste followed by the woodiness I had smelled earlier. First the sides of my tongue lit up after swallowing having a slight tingle from the back to near the tip the best and most rich flavour was on the middle of my tongue and there was a warmth to in my throat. Next we drew air threw our next sip and was treated to the fruitiness of the wine more but I will say you had to go looking for the fruit around the woody flavours.
The formalities over we toasted Reagan Grace and sat back to enjoy our first bottle of proper vintage wine taking leisurely relaxed sips trying savour every drop before we embarked on our cheese ‘fest of Tradition Farmhouse Cheddar, Danish Blue, Redwood Smoked, St Paulin soft and creamy and a cheddar with chilli chive and lime and possibly ruin our wine palette.
Pouring our second glasses as slowly as the first we saw the sediment arrive and stopped before the glasses were ruined and were both surprised how much there was. The second glass was equally as stunning as the first and I am very impressed how much more ‘complex’ a vintage wine is from the Hardy’s Bin 53 I usually drink and thank my wife for giving me the opportunity to experience it. As we got to the bottom of the second glass we both started taking smaller sips trying to prolong the experience but as took our last sips together we both said it was a SUPERB wine and only wish we could do this all the time!
It took an hour and half to drink two glasses of wine (and anyone that knows me at all knows that has NEVER happened before lol) but it was a wine to savour and savour it we did. After that we opened a bottle of my favourite Hardy’s Bin 53 and I was shocked how revolting it tasted after such a special wine. and I struggled to drink a glass of it before we went to bed….I managed though 😉
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