Birth year wines

If you’ve got a “significant” birthday looming it’s fun to celebrate the occasion with a bottle of wine that was made from grapes picked in your birth year. It’s easier and cheaper than you might think. Simply log on to the website, type your year of birth in “vintage”, set the search area to “all countries” (you could try searching New Zealand and Australia before doing a global search), choose NZ Dollar as your currency of choice and press the search button.

I tested this clever New Zealand-based website by looking for a bottle from 1960. Nothing available in this country although I did find a bottle of Graham’s 1960 vintage port at the Ultimo Wine Centre in Sydney for $665, a 1960 Chateau Latour for $891 at Victoria Cellars in Sydney, and a choice of two brands of 1960 cognac for $778 each at the Oak Barrel in Sydney. While Cognac is a safe bet I’d pick the port which has a sporting chance of being pretty good.

Scouring the world for a bottle from 1960 gave me a choice of 153 different wines. The best buy was 1960 Chateau Meyney, a reliable red Bordeaux which could be in pretty good shape if the wine level is reasonable (when buying old bottles always ask for an indication of “fill level” and avoid wines with levels in the shoulder of the bottle). Unfortunately the seller, Farr Vintners in London require a minimum purchase of 500 pounds. My second choice is the red Bordeaux, 1960 Chateau Loudenne, available from Ancient and Modern Wines in the UK for the reasonable price of $99.45 plus delivery charges.

You can’t send the wine back if its dodgy but you can console yourself with the thought that while you and the bottle are the same age you are in better shape.

First published in KiaOra Magazine – Sep 2010.

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