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Really old Dom Perignon... ok to drink?

My neighbor just gave me a bottle of 1978 Dom Perignon which has been sitting in his house all that time. He said the only time they drank it was in 1985... one bottle out of a whole case. Since last summer the case has been stored in storage facility while his home was undergoing renovations, so I would think there were some major temperature changes. Will it be ok to drink? I should be able to tell by smell, right? Assuming it's ok to drink, what should we expect? I ask because although we like wine I've only ever had anything of recent vintage. Thanks!

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  1. Should be superb. But even if it's not, no known human pathogen can live in wine, so taste it! The worst case scenario is that you won't like it.

    Aged Champange will be more golden in hue, and less effervescent. But what the wine loses in freshness, it gains in depth and complexity.


    1 Reply
    1. re: zin1953

      Oh, I agree. It should be superb. Aged champagne has golden beauty about it. The flavors have far more heft than in younger Champagne, and so they can take on more power in food: roast veal and roast fowl.

    2. If it smells like vinegar, make salad dressing. Otherwise, it may remind you of your maiden aunt, the one who spent some time in Paris back in the day: a bit faded, but who still has a little sparkle.

      2 Replies
      1. re: whs


        Well stated. I really like the analogy!


        1. re: Bill Hunt

          Thanks to all! Now I'm very excited to open this bottle. I was going to wait for a special occasion, but I'm thinking the sooner the better! I'll let you know, in my very amateur way, how it was.

      2. Send the bottle to me and after i'm done testing it i'll send it back.My results might be that it somehow transformed into a wine tasting like Thunderbird or MD 20/20.

        1. Nothing like beautiful old champagne.. Sounds like heaven.

          1. Seriously, the worst that is likely to happen is that you have some really really excellent wine vinegar.

            I'd bet that you have something really special however. Enjoy!

            I was at Antoines one night when someone ordered a bottle of wine that had been from Napoleon's time (not guaranteed by the restaurant, over 100 years old). It was in fact, vinegar. It was carefully recorked and taken home to be used for cooking. The new owner of the bottle said "wow, think of the marinades...".

            1 Reply
            1. re: fussycouple

              I drank a bottle of 1975 Pol Roger 'Winston Churchill' about a year ago and found it superb and still not tiring. 'Dom' being in the same 'league' should be the same. Enjoy!!

            2. Not champagne, but a bit of a lesson. Some friends of mine and I had a dinner party in December, which I termed the slaughter of the aged. We all had some older bottles, and over the years, they had received some rather indifferent treatment (i.e., improper storage), so we approached this with a what-the-hell attitude. We had a 1983 Malartic Lagraviere, a 1963 La Tour, and a 1970 Domaine de Chevalier with main (a roasted beef tenderloin wrapped in pancetta, potato galette, and asperagus) and a 1990 Leo Baring Cabernet Sauvignon with the chocolate terrine with pistacios and creme anglaise. All were excellent. Here's the lesson: I think, so long a wine has not been traumatised, that if it is built to age, like a '78 Dom Perignon, you will be fine. Enjoy, and when you do, relish our envy. Cin cin!

              1 Reply
              1. re: hungry_pangolin

                "Slaughter of the aged!" Love it. Gotta' do it! What a wonderful idea. I have many candidates, plus a cellar full of "backups." Over the years, I have been surprised with wines, that I just *knew* were over-the-hill, only to have a great bottle, that still had tons to offer. The WSJ Weekend wine writers espouse a day for opening those bottles, that have been held for that one "special occasion." I have too many, so your idea is a great one. If I do it, I'll attribute it to you, least my wino friends think that I am more clever, than I am.


              2. Drank my last bottle of '90 DP late last year after my wife & I tied the knot. It was a revelation in terms of how smooth, yet nuanced, the flavors were. Had more than a few twinges of regret about the bottles I'd drunk or given out as gifts in the past several years.

                Here's an article from the San Francisco Chronicle that perfectly sums up the consensus here:


                4 Replies
                1. re: Eugene Park

                  Just checked, and I still have 2 btls. of '85 in the cellar. Maybe I should look into popping those corks soon. Will post the good/bad, when I do.


                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                    Mmmmm, '85 drank nicely upon release IMO. Please do report back. I'm sure it will be lip-smacking good.

                    1. re: Eugene Park

                      Let us hope so, as I still have 2 btls. I think that I will give myself a belated b'day present and invite a few winos over, who might do justice to it. Too bad that I'll be in the air for the next few weeks. Maybe, upon my return. Do not worry, as I will do a TN post, warts and all.


                    2. re: Bill Hunt

                      85 was a great long-lived year.
                      The Billecart Salmon is still drinking very well - down to my last bottle now.

                  2. What's funny about this is that the wine could have easily sold for 30k. I think if your neighbor knrw that, he wouldn't have given it away. If you had known that would you have sold it or given it back?

                    4 Replies
                      1. re: kips4

                        >>> What's funny about this is that the wine could have easily sold for 30k. <<<

                        30k WHAT? Burmese kyat?

                        1. re: kips4

                          FYI, the bottle retails for only US $300 in wine stores!!
                          For $30K, it will have to be like a 1928 Krug!!

                          1. re: kips4

                            I have a bottle of 83 DP for sale lol

                          2. I have a 83 DP that I acquired in 86 and was wondering the same thing. I was saving it for a special occasion however it just hasn't materialized yet.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Informed01

                              Every day is a special occasion. You get no enjoyment out of seeing it sit there on the shelf.

                              Drink it and enjoy!