Monday, 16 March 2009

Does Languedoc wine age well?

When we bought our house 2 years ago, we inherited a collection of about 100 dusty bottles in various shapes and sizes. Most are label-less and contain a liquid of an indeterminate mid brown colour, together with a fair quantity of muddy deposit. There are a few labels remaining which provide clues as to the contents.`1954 Maccabeu``1964 Carthagene`Èau de Vie`.

Over the last few days I've been opening a few bottles each day in an effort to free up some space. And, yes, not surprisingly the wines are pretty disgusting and completely past it. With a burnt, madeira like smell too which comes from the estufa conditions in our attic - 40°C in summer and 2°C in winter.

But it got me thinking about how well Languedoc wines age. Obviously not the ones in my attic but in the 1950s there were hardly any serious wines coming out of the Languedoc. It wasn't until the late 70s, early 80s that more producers, old and newly established, started bottling wines that had the stuffing to age. I've tasted some excellent 1998s recently which still taste youthful and have at least 5 years more life in them. And the 1982 Mas de Daumas Gassac is, by all accounts, still very sprightly. I'd be interested to hear of any good, old bottles that readers have come across.


  1. I've been treated to Mas Jullien 1994 and 1996 in magnum in the past year, both still on their plateau of maturity. Restaurant Le Mimosa still lists 1998 and 1999 Prieure St Jean de Bébian, but then an air conditioned cellar helps.

  2. Hi Graham, I should think that the 94 and 96 St Jullien were drinking beautifully now. Particularly in magnums which they say is the 'ideal' bottle size for slow bottle maturation. Talking of treats, I will be tasting several vintages of Mas de Daumas Gassac next week. Courtesy of a friend who was the first to import it into the UK. I will report on it in this Blog.

  3. I love good old wines, but I'm also quite open to testing new flavours. I purchased quite a few spanish ones after the holiday, so I'll let you know how the tasting goes.