Saturday, 19 March 2011

Chateau Trotanoy 1961


A recent and more comprehensive investigation into the 15 or so old and dust-caked bottles at the bottom of my Grandmother's wine rack threw up a grand total of four vaguely drinkable looking results.

A centurion 1982 bottle of Muller-Thurgau, and two bottles of '76 Veuve will no doubt be good, interesting palette-educating, tipples.

As indeed was the last, a 1961 Chateau Trotanoy.

A quick consultation with google and a vintage chart, show this to be one of the finest wines produced in the type of vintage that attracts such adjectives as 'Legendary' and 'Mythical'. Retailing up to around $6,000.

80 plus years of life have made my Grandmother a very sensible woman. She declined both my offer to try to auction it for her, as well as the bottle of Gewürztraminer I had brought her ("Silly grape"), and decided the Trotanoy would be better suited paired with our supper of cold roast chicken, salad, sausage rolls and baked camembert.

The bottle was a mess, possibly as a result of having spent almost half a century in the utility room. The label was illegible under a thick layer of dirt, the cork almost saturated and the fill level below the neck; I didn't hold out much hope for it.

It decanted off not much sediment to a clear plum purple with a brickish rim. The nose confirms a miracle, it's not gone. A little dirty brett at the outset, opening into some damson or stewed fruit. The palate is subtle and seamless. There's red fruit and raisins, cherries, maybe a hint of cedar. Tannins are structured and integrated.

Maybe the fruit is a little muted - I don't know - like many people I've not got much frame of reference for this kind of thing, but it's complex stuff for sure, and pretty damn good.

At 50 this wine is exactly twice as old as me, and though direct comparison is difficult, I guess it was at least eight times better.

Great right bank wines of the 20th century: two down, one to go, shouldn't be a problem 'though: there's probably some '47 Cheval Blanc in the shed.


  1. Fanastic! Old wines are not always palatable, but they are always interesting. And how sensible is your grandmother? Gewurtz is a "silly grape".

  2. Eminently sensible. I'll back her to the hilt on this one... She's got enough handbags that smell of pot pourri without needing to drink the stuff.

  3. Helped harvest the stuff once, it was one of the most unpleasant experiences of my adult life...the clusters have very short, even no, peduncles. I was covered in dust, sugary juice, and wasps...have sworn off the wine ever since!!!!