We finally got together (along with a few friends), and made an evening out of it. We all brought some wine..."just in case".
I had brought all my old vintage charts, and my Bordeaux Chateau book, to look up tasting notes on the wines. We knew that there were some bad vintages in the bunch, but held out hope for the Chateau Latour (which was still wrapped in its' original tissue paper). It's always that age old question of Drink or Hold.
We opened the two whites first. The Riesling was past its' prime, but you could taste what it used to be. The petrol aromas were pretty evident, but any notes of sweetness were long gone.The remaining bottles may be better, but I doubt it. The white Burgundy (Chardonnay) was all yeast, and was golden in color...but nothing drinkable.
To try and save the evening, we opened up a 1987 Heitz Martha's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. For the first five minutes, the wine was still there. You could taste a bit of remaining fruit, but the tobacco and leather notes were soon overtaken by an oxidised brown flavor. For five minutes, we were loosely transported back to 1987.
We spent a total of five hours going through the cellar, eating dinner and appetizers, and tasting the wines we hoped had survived. In the end, the Brunello and Petite Verdot we had for dinner, proved to be the best wines of the evening. But the chance to try these wines was something to remember, and a true testament to properly storing your wines. Now might be a good time to review proper storage techniques, and save those valuable wines!