My husband has just reached the glorious age of 49 and instead of wishing him “Happy Birthday” with a cheery smile, his friends said… ‘Last year before the Big Five O, and we all know the O stands for “OLD”.
This got me thinking ‘What is OLD?’
The dictionary states that it is having lived a relatively long time. So surely it is only a comparison i.e. next to my daughter, my mother is old (although I wouldn’t dare say it to her face.)
In a wine, OLD can mean anything too. I did find a bottle of Lafite Rothschild 1789 for sale for a mere £130,000 PER BOTTLE! Now that is old. (I may ask Uncle Henry for a dozen or two when he asks me what I would like for my birthday). Some wines would be considered old after only a few years if they were not made to age, others will still taste wonderful after many years. This said, I would not expect to get much money for any old bottles found in Aunt Maud’s Attic, as wines without a providence will certainly not be welcome in an auction house and without proper storage facilities will not taste very good either.
An OLD Vine could be only 20 years old as there is no legal or even agreed upon definition of OLD. In the Barossa Valley in Australia, Langmeil Winery still produce a Shiraz from a vine planted in 1843 and the oldest grape producing vine is in Slovenia and dates back over 400 years. Sadly the older a vine gets the less grapes it produces, however the grapes are usually far better than the grapes produced by a young and immature vine. A wine maker will have to decide between quality and quantity and often it is the old vine that is ripped out in favour of younger, more productive vines.
So as my old man has been stored fairly well, is still quite productive and relatively speaking is only a little older than me, I have decided not to trade him in for a younger one just yet.
If you would like to chat with a (still quite young) merchant some time about wines old or young – give me a call or visit the web site of Bat and Bottle, or even drop me an e-mail. You can also follow me on Facebook if you so desire.