Strangely disconcerting

We have a fairly special dinner tomorrow night; the first feet of a procession of guests over the coming week. We were thinking about wine, that it was the sort of occasion where we get a nice bottle or two out of the cellar rather than the usual rough & ready rioja. ‘Have we still got that Chateau Lynch-Bages?’ I said. The bottle in question came my way in 1992, when there was a conference on Ireland and Aquitaine in Bordeaux, which was bankrolled by les grands vignerons de Bordeaux, in particular, Lynch-Bages, which of course, enshrines in its name a fortunate Irish Wild Goose of the 18th century. There was an end of conference party which was supposed to be a tasting session, at which the wild Irish got absolutely plastered on some of the finest wines in the world, a depressing spectacle. Anyway, we were given, with some ceremony, a leaving present of a bottle of Chateau Lynch-Bages 1990, with stern instructions to keep it for twenty years. ‘It is very rough’, we were told earnestly, ‘but it will be one of our great wines’. Said bottle has gone about with us through our various moves for all this time, and is approaching its use by date. We looked it up on Google, and discovered that it is currently worth £300. What does one do with a bottle of wine worth £300? What, strictly speaking, is worth in this context? You can’t swop it for a fuel bill or anything. I must say, the idea of drinking it worries me a bit, not quite dissolving orient pearls &c, but it still seems like too much. But if you don’t drink it, what do you do with it?

9 Responses to “Strangely disconcerting”

  1. William Says:

    Have a large lunch, admire the label and have a pennichella…

  2. Jane Says:

    I think you have the rights of it. Perhaps I move in the wrong circles, but I can’t think of a party of which I was part which a £300 bottle of wine would not, on the whole, depress.

  3. The Man From Maryport Says:

    My rule of thumb is to never ever think about what a bottle would cost on the market - you’re right, its utterly depressing.
    1990 is allegedly one of very many ‘vintages of the century’ and I’m told it won’t be getting any better than it has been for the last few years and still will be for a few more, so if you’re ever going to drink it you may as well now. Consider this a pleasant piece of good fortune (if you can), enjoy the aroma and the taste, and reflect upon having performed a small act of thrift and good taste in not allowing the contents to decay into acidic decrepitude . . .

  4. Jane Says:

    As you well know, my tastes in wine are not exalted … I can’t help feeling that for someone like me who really likes simple wine that tastes of grapes, drinking it is like lighting a cigarette with a £50 note.

  5. The Man From Maryport Says:

    Well, perhaps more like smoking a plutocratic Habana when your tastes run to menthol cigarettes . . (tobacco is a vice entirely unknown to me so I’m uncertain of the justness of this comparison). Nothing wrong with wine that tastes of grapes, indeed I firmly believe that it should do exactly what it says on the bottle, as it were. But bear in mind the stuff will (very slowly, but inevitably) spoil if you leave it forever, and that’s surely a far worse thing than letting a bottle of vino collapso go off after 12 months.

  6. Jane Says:

    We have come up with the perfect solution. I will drink it with Peter’s Spanish cousin, the Master, or rather Mistress, of Wine, who has the palate for this sort of thing, the next time she is in the Deep North.

  7. The Man From Maryport Says:

    That sounds like the ideal drinkership for it. BTW, if it is of any comfort, a quick trawl around google-related win merchants suggest that Lynch-Bages ‘90 sells at something nearer a piffling £120 a bottle at present. Cases all round . . .

  8. The Man From Maryport Says:

    Errmm, ‘wine merchants’, obviously . . .

  9. Will Says:

    Enjoy it with friends. That’s what it’s made for…:)

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