Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Wine >
Jul 22, 2012 07:11 PM

Older DP and Cab -- still good?

I have 13 bottles left of DP 1997 left and 8 bottles of Louis Martini 1969 Cab left. I haven't opened either for years, they've been stored in a basement room for the last 24 years and 40 years on their side. I'm wondering if they're still good...?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Check Assuming humidity and temperature were in good ranges in that basement, the DP will definitely be fine (different from in its youth but fine). Louis Martini less clear - 40 years is too long a time for most cabs, but there's unique ones that will have held up.

    5 Replies
    1. re: goldangl95

      Thanks for the reply. The DP has been sitting in a 60-70 degree fairly dim basement in original boxes and laying horizontal.

      I bought the cab in 1975 and have had it the same way, rotating about once a year.
      I hope it's still good. Crossing fingers.


      1. re: thepilot

        To add my own 2¢ . . .

        re: Moët & Chandon 1979 Cuvée Dom Pérignon

        Old Champagne tastes VERY different that young Champagne. It can be quite good -- excellent, in fact -- but some people love it. Wine ages faster at warmer temperatures. A storage temperature of 60°-70° is a bit high for comfort (55°-58° F would be much better!), so you may wish to have a "backup bottle" of something in the wings.

        re: 1969 Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon.

        First off, 1969 was an EXCELLENT vintage in Napa and Sonoma (back then, Martini Cabernets were made from grapes grown in both counties, and carried the "California" appellation." Furthermore, Martini's reds are known for their ability to age beautifully. I've had numerous bottles of Martini's Cabernets, Zinfandels, and Barberas at 25, 30, and 40 years of age that matured far better than their contemporaries from more famous Napa Valley vintners. (Indeed, a friend of mind had a 1969 Martini Zinfandel last week and said it was outstanding.) That said, storing the bottles in the 60°-70° F range is, again, somewhat worrisome.

        Secondly, Martini sold three different Cabernets from the 1969 vintage: the "regular," the "Private Reserve," and their "Special Selection." Which bottling(s) do you have?

        Finally, why would you rotate the bottles?

        1. re: zin1953

          Zin, I am one of those aged Champagne lovers. I just drank a 1982 Salon (Blanc de Blancs) yesterday for brunch. I served it with a french style omelette and bacon. For me, well aged Champs is much more subtle, smooth and "nutty" so it pairs well with just about anything. It is creamy enough to complement a subtle soft egg dish- yet acid enough to cut through bacon. The bubbles are not as assertive in an older champagne so IMO they don't "get in the way" of more delicate food as some younger champagne can. It seems that some people really like big bubbles though, so I understand why some might be disappointed in the differences. However, I can't think of a more perfect beverage :)

          To the OP: Martini can certainly age well, but the higher temp is risky and can make the cork very dry. I would expect to wrestle with it, have it break- and likely end up straining with a mesh strainer. Don't get discouraged- it's all good! Old CA cab corks are shorter than FR and are a bit of work at that age. Let us know how they turn out!

          1. re: sedimental

            I *love* old Champagne . . . and I've been very fortunate, too. For example, I was lucky enough to have a 1959 Dom Pérignon in 1984 that was phenomenal; a 1961 Bollinger R.D. in the late-1970s that could have used a few more years, as well as the same wine from magnum at 30 years of age that was stunning; and several half-bottles of 1966 Pol Roger through the late-1980s and early-1990s -- all but one of the bottles were excellent.

          2. re: zin1953


            That pretty much goes for one's appreciation of almost any wine, from Champagne, to Port. Some "like it young," and some (if cellared properly), appreciate it with age. It all depends on the wine, and on the taster's palate.

            I do agree on the rotation of the bottles - just stand for a couple of days, prior to opening, and maybe decanting, but there is NOTHING to be gained by rotating the bottles.