Magazine article The Spectator

Spectator Mini-Bar Offer

Magazine article The Spectator

Spectator Mini-Bar Offer

Article excerpt

Here is an unusual offer, but a terrific treat for fans of vintage Bordeaux. The Colchester Wine Company has secured a large quantity of clarets, some nearly 40 years old.

They come from a firm in Switzerland which has been recently taken over by a Hong Kong company. The Far East, which these days is the driving force of the fine wine market, is largely interested only in the biggest - unaffordable - names, and customers want their bottles perfect and shiny. We, by contrast, rather like a stained label, a spot of dust, and a wrinkled capsule round the neck.

So Colchester got these for very reasonable prices, and are able to sell them for roughly what you would pay for the 2008 vintage of the same wines. In other words, you get those decades of cellaring for free.

A word of warning: the corks can be difficult, and you may have to use a screwdriver or something to get into the bottle, rather as you did at student parties when nobody had remembered a corkscrew.

And they should be decanted carefully to make sure no sediment lurks. And of course old wines are not to everyone's taste. The important thing is that along with the depth and maturity, the fruit should still stand out, and it does in all of these. …

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