Letters: Is my '85 Bourgogne Pinot worth anything?

Dear William:

I was wondering if you could tell me a little about the following wine that I have had laying around for some time. All the information on the bottle is as follows:

1985 Produit de France
Bourgogne Pinot
Appellation Bourgogne Pinot Controlee
Mis en bouteille par
Picard Pere & Fils
Chagny (s.-&-l.)

As you can see it is a little old. What do you think? Is it worth holding on to, or is it worth nothing? Any advice greatly received. Many thanks.

-- Adam Sutton

Dear Adam:

Your question sent me on a merry chase. Tracking down much information on a 22-year-old wine is spotty at best, given the explosion in available wines over the past two decades and how fast wine merchants shuffle their stock and get on to the Next Great Thing.

I can tell you unequivocally that Picard Pere & Fils is a respected Burgundian wine house, and the Bourgogne Pinots of this century have been generally of good quality. But I have my doubts about anything that has been around this long unless it was stored in perfect conditions as far as temperature and light are concerned.

Why? Well, the pinot noir grape is genetically unstable and susceptible to just about every vine disease that comes along. That sometimes affects its storability even if the wine is OK when young. Color retention is a problem as well.

You may very well have a gem on your hands, but the only way to really know is to open it and try it. Then, of course, you are left with an open bottle of wine and no particular value except for the taste of the moment. If you want to learn more about the fussy grape, I suggest checking in here with the Professional Friends of Wine.

To Dowd's Spirits Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Wine Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Brews Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Non-Alcohol Drinks Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Tasting Notes latest entry.
Back to Dowd On Drinks home page.

No comments: