A Taste of the Past

Oakmont CellarsMy mom has a bad habit of keeping wine around for far too long. There is definitely something to be said for aging wine, but then again, there’s a lot to be said for drinking it.
On my last trip to visit, I finally talked her in to opening on of the bottles, since due to how she has it cellared (in a corner of her kitchen) there was a good chance it may have just been vinegar. While she wouldn’t let me touch any of the BV that were sitting there, I finally talked her in to opening a Oakmont Cellars Gamay Beaujolais, 1979. Apparently this was a label that Beringer dumped their excess wines under at the time. This was [is?] something of a common practice so that they can keep the stock of their name brand wines down while not losing any money by selling it at a discount. Of course, when word of a wine bottled this way gets out, it sells out in an instant. This bottle happened to be about $2.50 at the time. That’d be somewhere around $10 now and otherwise known as a quite good level of wine at Trader Joe’s.
So, we opened it. At first we thought it had turned. It was not terribly good, but given time and breathing some air from the 21st century, it opened up a lot. It got the nose of a typical California Napa heavy red with dark earthy tones to it and the flavor was much the same. It never quite got the density of a Cab Sauv you could buy today, but at the same time, it was good. Notice that I said good. It wasn’t amazing. I would maybe pay upwards of $30 a bottle for it in comparable terms today.
It goes to show that while aging can be good, why bother? There are wines that are great today and ready to drink now and that’s what it’s really all about when you get down to it. So while everyone else is paying $300, $1000, $5000 or whatever for some 50 years old French wine, I’ll be happily downing some $10 or $15 thing I picked up yesterday and loving every drop of it just as much.