The old ones are always the best and so it turned out to be with this elegant bottle of 1984 Chateau de Rayne-Vigneau Sauternes that I could no longer resist opening. One Christmas, some fifteen years ago, my cousin, who is also partial to glass of something good, put this bottle into my safe keeping. As a wine guard I would not be a first choice or, some would say, not a choice. The label, which still hangs around the neck of the bottle, reads “Roger/ This is a NON Christmas present. It needs a good home and I’m sure it will find one with you. Cheers, David” ..which is comparable to entrusting the NHS Blood Bank to Count Dracula or the Bank of Scotland to whoever it was entrusted. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? As rhetorical a question as ever there was, being that the answer is invariably “No bugger, they do what they like”.
And so it will come as no surprise to you to learn that this guard, who is quite good at doing what he likes, decided that it was time to set the contents of this bottle free. On a sunny Sunday in France, not too far from its birth place, the cork that in 1984 sealed in the genie of maturation was gently pulled from the bottle allowing the golden miracle within to take it’s first breath of the poisonous air that will kill it …..unless we drink it. Which we will, if only out of kindness.