“Hi Karen, About 10 years ago I purchased three bottles of 1971 Beaulieu Cabernet Sauvignon for my wife’s 50th birthday celebration. Hoping against hope that a 50-year Napa Cab might still have some goodness. I’m sure she’ll recognize that it’s the thought that counts, but do you, in your professional opinion, think they may still have a little something left? I bought them from the winery in Rutherford and have stored them appropriately.”—Scotty V. (Papillion NE)
Hi Scotty, It’s great that you bought three bottles. Napa Valley cabernets DO generally age well; I’ve had some fantastic Napa cabernets from the mid-1970s. Additionally, back in the 1970s, Beaulieu was making very fine wine. But your wine is now 50 years old and it would be an achievement for any wine to age beautifully that long. My advice is to set your expectations correctly. The wine is probably a bit frail and it has of course lost all of its primary fruit. Open one bottle carefully (don’t decant it) and try it right away before it gets a lot of air, then watch it open up over the next thirty minutes to an hour. It might collapse after that. If the first bottle is over the hill, you’ve got a second and third chance at something exquisite. Good luck!!!