Recently on Facebook I posted pictures of a number of wines that are not supposed to age. They were all Dolcetto and all from the 1970’s.
There were many comments: “You must like geriatric wines,” “prove to me they are not corked,” and “you’re adventurous.” Some expressed complete disbelief and a few actually agreed with me. Here are the wines with my comments.
Dolcetto D’Alba 1971 Bruno Giacosa This was amazing — a Dolcetto almost 50 years old. It was in very good condition with subtle hints of red and black fruit. I had this wine for Thanksgiving-2019 and these comments were from my blog post.
Dolcetto Cru Nassone La Morra 1971 made from 100% Dolcetto Marcarini/ Cogno I do not believe this label is used anymore. Back in 1971 the wine would have been aged in concrete or large oak barrels (botte). They did not have stainless steel tanks or barriques back then. For me this was a delightful surprise. The wine had hints of red fruit and black cherry with a touch of violets and almonds. It was showing no signs of age. Fantastic! From a blog dated September, 30 2019.
Dolcetto delle Langhe “Vigneto Sinaglio” 1979 Ceretto- This I had between Christmas and New Years and It was showing very well.
Dlocetto d’Alba 1970 Riccardo Ceretto – light pink in color, it had fallen apart and was undrinkable and tasted like vinegar.
The most common problem with old wines is that they are oxidized, damaged by heat (maderized), cooked or fall apart and taste like vinegar. These problems are often caused by poor storage. A corked wine is corked from the time the cork is put into the bottle at the winery so if that is the case age does not matter.
Even wines made from grapes that are supposed to age well have this problem of storage. The conditions under which a wine is stored is very important. Old wines being held longer in storage and sometimes moved from place to place and even from owner to owner have a much better change of of spoilage.
When you buy old wines even from grapes that are supposed to age well, you are taking a chance. Make sure when buying older wines that your retailer has a return or exchange policy if the wines are bad. It’s worth taking a chance, however, and I had an opportunity to drink three wonderful wines, one twice.