Sommelier Ferdinand answers “What’s the point of drinking wine from a hundred years ago?”.

by Aug 25, 2021Eccentric Somelier0 comments


I’ve heard what you’ve all had to say, and I’ve decided to reach out to Jerry, once again, to bury the hatchet. Who’s to say if he would be open to making amends… but I made the effort, on behalf of all you insightful readers! I’ll keep you all updated on this diplomatic mission, should anything come from it. In the meantime, another write-in:

Sommelier Ferdinand,

I see a lot of old wines on Alti Wine Exchange, and it makes me wonder. What’s the point of drinking wine from a hundred years ago? Doesn’t it taste bad? -Quinta

That’s a great question, Quinta! Would you mind telling your mommy and daddy to keep you away from the computer—you shouldn’t be browsing wines at your age!

Just joking—it really is an understandable question (you’re lucky I’m a sensitive person!). See, wine is about a lot of things; you could say it’s taste, ambiance, history—I’ll spare you the gross exaggeration. What wine does, however, is transport you somewhere else entirely.

See, wine isn’t like Kool Aid, in which you mix water with a pouch of flavored powder. And it’s not like soft drinks, manufactured in a factory or dispensed at a large fountain in shopping malls. No: wine is about taking the taste, directly captured from carefully harvested grapes, and preserving it for as long as you’d fancy. This way, you retain the uniqueness of the grapes, of their rightful time and place—and hold onto those nuances for years to come. Sometimes, those years will be in the tens; sometimes, they’ll be in the hundreds.

How aged you prefer your wine, technically, is a personal decision. Those with finer tastes (I won’t say who, but take a guess)— sometimes prefer a bottle with some character. And character comes from experience, time spent on this Earth. The market surely prefers an experienced bottle; just check out Alti Wine’s IBOs to see how a bottle of properly aged wine becomes more valuable over time. I mean, you’re welcome to drink the wine—but if you go this route, maybe you’ll make some money in the meantime. Just my two cents!

And before I forget, Quinta—No… aged wine doesn’t taste bad. Wine isn’t a slab of fresh meat, and it’s not made of dairy. It’s a snapshot of a moment of time, that just so happens to get you tipsy!

-Sommelier Ferdinand. 11.8.21

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