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Aug 5, 2008 06:41 AM

Wines from 1978

My parents are celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary this year. I'd like to treat them to a bottle of wine from 1978, but I have no idea how to go about looking for one that's a) not past its prime and b) no more than $100. It may not exist, but I want to try!

They like reds better than whites, although they love champagne and other sparkling whites, with the exception of Prosecco.

Any direct suggestions or resources would be appreciated!

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  1. There are wine vintage charts on the internet. Here is one from Robert Parker the ones in the 1978 column with R behind the rating will be good. 1978 was not a vintage year for champagne and I can't imagine anyone would have laid down any other sparkling wine for 30 years. However, I doubt you'll get any of them for under $100. Also, unless you know your parents like the taste of very old wines you might want to save your money. The only very old wine under $100 I've ever liked are ports, so that would be my recommendation. 1978 was not a classic year but some quintas declared vintages. The ones that are available tend to have lower ratings and can be had for under $100 but are still quite good, you can find them by doing a search for "1978 vintage port".

    1 Reply
    1. re: hsk

      you will also have some good luck with madeira

    2. That is a TALL order given your under $100 price range. Most wine just doesn't age well for 30 years, and those that do, at the 30 year mark, generally are far more than $100... at least those that would have from 1978.

      That said, I have had some California Cabernets from '78 (Mayacamas, Montelena, Heitz Martha's) that may not be outrageously priced.

      1. 1978 will indeed be a hard year to find anything for under $100, but the Cali cabs that were suggested are great choices. The other I would suggest that whiner didn't list is the Phelps Insignia, but you won't find it for anything near there.

        If you want tosm past their prime Bordeaux, that might be a possibility. I picked my wife up a '78 Haut Brion for our anniversary, and we need to pop it. I know it is getting worse by the day, but who knows, we may be presently surprised. Also have a Ch√Ęteau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande from '78 as well. Those might both be good anniversay wines for us this year...we'll see! -mJ

        1. If you are someplace where you can buy from an online retailer, it is fairly easy to search most of them to look for wines from a particular year (I just plugged "1978" into the search box on a few, and they generally seemed to know what I meant).

          From a quick search of my usual online suspects, it does seem you'll be able to find some California Cab in about the right price range (whether or not they've got any life left in them is another story). Another possibility is Spanish Rioja - Lopez de Heredia is an old-school producer who often holds bottles for 10+ years before releasing. There's some 1978s on the market that are only a few hairs over $100. From what I saw in a very quick peek, K&L Wine Merchants seems to have the broadest selection. They also had several vintage-dated armagnacs from 1978.

          1. Barolo
            Price may be an obstacle, but the wines are singing