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Lifelong wine adventure

A lifelong friend of mine from college and I decided we needed to invest in something to make sure that we will always stay in touch, wherever life may take us. So we came up with the idea of purchasing a case of wine, and then every 5 years we would travel back to home, uncork a bottle of wine and catch up.

The problem is, within doing the research, they simply do not make wine to last this long. Most wine is meant to only last at most a few years, let alone a lifetime. Also, even if we find an ideal wine, we have run into other maintenance problems of keeping the wine at a constant temperature and rotating often to avoid buildup.

I've been doing research for awhile now and I am simply looking for some guidance towards a wine. We had hoped for a medium to deep red wine, however we would be open to a port wine if it works out. We understand it may be a bit spendy, so we have put some money aside for this investment. Are there any suggestions for a low-maintenance, long lasting wine that would could invest in?

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  1. to keep wine that long it is imperative that you have a constant 55 degree cellar to store it in. 50 degrees would be even better.

    vintage port is your best bet. classified bordeaux is your second best.

    opened a bottle of 1963 Grahams (great, great vintage - good producer but not the best) last week. i had purchased it on release. it was absolutely stunning.

    if you do port i suggest getting a few bottles from older vintages for your first get togethers. get a 1983, 1985, and 1992 and two1994s . get the balance of the case from the same producer but a current vintage. they should be ready bu the time you finish the first ones.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jock

      ps.

      vintage port looses weight and develops elegance and complexity over time.

      1. Though it's true that many wines do not stand the test of time - and even if they endure, they do not really transform - there are plenty of age-worthy wines. But a lifetime's worth, say 50-plus years? Perhaps only Sauternes, Porto, etc. But the following wines can last 20, 30, even 40 years, transforming in interesting ways even in decline, so long as they are cellared poperly:

        Red Burgundy - 2005 is a great vintage for Burgundy, and 2009 is shaping up to be a fine one, too.

        Barolo/Barbaresco - those made in the more traditional style, of course (and plenty to choose from); some more modern barolos/barbs are vinified to be drunk young, but even these should benefit from aging (assuming in balance, no extreme oak regimens, etc.). Look for 2004. Also, Brunellos and Chiantis from good producers can be very long-lived (20-30years).

        Bordeaux - see barolo/barbaresco (and bring money). I'd recommend 10 of the above wines before a single bottle from those money-grubbing, Disney-fying Bordelais, but you know... have to mention the classics. 2005 very good.

        1. If longevity under suboptimal cellar conditions are your prime criteria, I'll cast a vote for Pedro Ximenez Sherries. These sweet wines are already oxidized and are virtually immortal. We had a 1959 earlier this year, and it lasted several days after pulling the cork. I suppose it would have lasted weeks or months had the bottle not run out.

          Maybe you should get a variety of wines. Some for the near term, some for the long haul.

          1. Madeira is immortal and can be stored without temperature control.

            1. Anything fortified will work, sherries, ports, madeiras, even some moscatels from Spain, and the vin jaunes from France's Jura region.

              1. Thanks for all the wonderful information so far, I've really been in the dark going into this. A few more questions to your comments:

                Would there be any wines that are not fortified that would survive under not-so-cellar-like conditions?

                Could anyone provide some more specific information on your recommendations? (name of company, year, type, etc.)

                Thank you all and I really do appreciate your replies!

                1 Reply
                1. re: shaggyman

                  "under not-so-cellar-like conditions" no non-fortified wine would last more than 10 years and frankly, i doubt that even port would last that long. i wouldn't even try to keep madiera for 20 years under those conditions. you could buy a 20 or 30 bottle free standing unit for less than $200 and you would probably have to replace it a few times.

                  why not just plan to bring the best bottle you can find each time you get together?

                2. shaggyman:

                  By my arithmetic, you figure you have 60 years left (I hope it's more).

                  Might I suggest that you up your intake a bit, and buy a case now, another at 20 years, and another at 40, *ad infinitum*? It would give you more to talk and plan over (and drink) each year, rather than the grimness of "The Last Man Standing" and doubtful wine longevity.

                  Just an idea.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: kaleokahu

                    Sounds like an interesting plan, but without ideal cellar conditions it would be a little hard to pull off. Why not try to find older bottles from retailers that have proper storage from years that are significant to both of you? Like, this is the year we graduated from College wine, first road trip, etc.
                    That way you not only have a great wine, but you can relive the experiences associated with that particular year. Could be lots of fun : )

                    1. re: BigWoodenSpoon

                      Hi, BWS:

                      Good point about the cellaring. A case at a time of good wine for 20 years (x3) calls for an small, inexpensive cellar unit--with a lock. Small investment considering the OP's grand plan...

                      Kaleo