Birth year wines
It’s great to celebrate a birthday, wedding anniversary, christening or any other special event with a bottle of wine bearing the equivalent vintage. It’s a lot easier and probably cheaper than you might think. Simply go to the world’s largest wine website www.wine-searcher.com (founded, owned and run by Kiwis), set the search engine to “all countries” (you could try “New Zealand” if the vintage is likely to be available locally) and type the special year into the vintage space. Ask for the answer in NZ$ (if that’s your favoured currency). You’ll be surprised at how much choice you have if you shop worldwide.
For example, I chose 1994 for a 21st birthday celebration. If it was a very special person and my credit card could handle it I could pay $19,777 for a DRC Romanee-Conti, but 1994 wasn’t such a great year and I’m not that fussed on the 21 year-old, so I’d opt instead to spend $9 on a bottle of Marqueres de Caceres 1994 Crianza Rioja. Yes, I agree, it could be dodgy but it’s the thought that counts. To buy the wine simply click on it and you’ll go straight to a vendor website. You’ll need to pay more than $9 for freight.
A 50th birthday is a pretty special event. I typed in “1965” and came up with DRC Romanee-Conti for $15,469. People don’t seem to drink DRC Romanee-Conti, they buy it, hang onto it and sell it at an indecent profit. If I didn’t want to shell out for a bottle that’s worth more than a decent Jap import, I could always take the economy option and buy a bottle of Vezza 1965 Barolo Riserva for a humble $44. That could really be worth the money although I’d want to know the bottle’s fill level.
Want something really ancient? You can buy a 1985 Lafite for $29,231 and really impress all your wine drinking friends. With so many faked bottles it might be safer to buy a bottle of D’Oliveiras Reserva Madeira for $982. There is every chance that this might be a very good bottle of wine. Good Madeira is virtually indestructible.
Have a bit of fun, go back even further. I tried 1795 and found a Terantez Madeira from that year for $6,303. That should be a pretty good bottle of wine. I bought exactly the same wine in 1991 for $500 and shared it with some fellow wine enthusiasts. Worth the money? It certainly was. I still have the bottle and the memory.
*Declaration of interest: I am a director of Wine Searcher