A decade ago, I was given a bottle of Chateau Cos d'Estournel 1985. It comes from the Saint Estephe appellation, which is on the left bank of the Gironde river, running into Bordeaux.
I knew 1985 to be a good vintage and it spurred me on to find out more. I had just subscribed to Robert Parker's website and was keen to use the knowledge of, what I thought at the time to be, the best wine palette in the world. Chateau Cos is a 2nd Cru Classe, a classification awarded in 1855,that it still deserves today.
My research at the time told me that it was expensive, Uvinum website has it now at £189.00 a bottle.
The quandary come as to when you should open a bottle like this? You can't guarantee that the wine will be good, twenty six years has gone under the bridge. A lot can happen in a bottle, in that time.
I remember advising a friend, who had/has a bottle of Lafite 1945, to have a big party with very small glasses and so share the love of a bottle that is worth over £4000.
Listening to this voice I decided that, with good friends coming to dinner this week, the time was right. I brought the wine out of the cellar in the morning and stood it upright, allowing any sediment to settle to the bottom. In the afternoon, I uncorked the wine and decanted it into claret decanters.
The cork smelt fine and the sediment had crystallised at the bottom. The wine was allowed plenty of time to breathe, particularly as it had been locked up for so long.
My wife cooked duck confit and the wine went very well with it. The wine was a similar colour to the red on it's label. There was an earthy nose, melded with leather and light black pepper.
The wine was smooth and rich with dark chocolate, black cherries and plums.
With four of us drinking, the decanter was sadly empty all too soon. Why? Cos.