As I approach my birthday (#81), I have been looking around the cellar for wines to help me celebrate the pleasures of advanced age. I have many worthy candidates, and this is one that didn't quite make the final cut. I just couldn't pass it by; and now I wonder if anything I can pour next week will even come close to measuring up.
The color is definitely not promising; a lot murkier than what I remember from my last bottle. One sniff from the bottle, though, tells me this bottle is special. Savory smells of cherries, tobacco, mint, sea salt and Provencal herbs. Flavors are even better: sweet red berry fruit with nuances coming in from all directions. Great acid; dances on the tongue and leaves a long impression. If year 81 is as good for me as #31 is for this wine, I am in for a very good time.
La Janasse Vieilles Vigne, of course, has never been a budget wine. About 40% of the vines were planted in 1920, most of the rest, in 1965. The estate considers it their top Chateauneuf. I usually don't spend top dollar for wine, but this wine became available for a ridiculously low price when Rhone Direct, a direct import company of the early 1990s, went bankrupt. I actually apologized to the owner when I placed my order. He said: "No problem, friend. Enjoy!" Enjoy, I did tonight.