As a keen oenophile I like nothing more than stashing bottles away with the thought of revisiting them at some, as yet undecided, future date. While many wines will age gracefully and actively improve with bottle age some, inevitably, outstay their welcome and slumber on well beyond their 'best before' date. Here are ten wines in my cave personelle that I just haven't found occasion to broach and still aren't tempting me. I'm sure they won't be undrinkable, there might even be some pleasant surprises, but I fear most of these have missed their moment to shine.
1. Alsace 'Sylvaner' 2006: Charles Schléret
No sooner had Jancis Robinson given this wine the rave review below that veteran vigneron Charles Schléret elected to grub up his Sylvaner vines and cease production. But when to drink this – the last ever bottle?
"Amazing to come across such a mature Sylvaner! Almost painty and very different. Round and soft but chock full of tertiary aromas. Masses of fun. A great blind-wine conundrum. Grapefruit peel. Like a crunchy explosive fruit. Quite remarkable." 11/11/14, 17/20.
2. Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes: 'Monty's French Red' 2007
Monty himself has advised me to drink up this 10 year-old Carignan / Syrah blend but it is my last bottle of his first wine so I just can't bring myself to pull the cork.
3. Crozes-Hermitage Blanc 1998: Alain Graillot
The only conceivable reason why I have kept this is that it is in one of my sons' birth years and that 'feuille morte' bottle colour must have fooled me into thinking it was red. It predates the now favoured screwcaps and is in great condition so you never know...
4. Petaluma 'Picadilly Valley' Chardonnay 1998
This was part of a charity raffle prize generously donated by The Times wine critic Jane MacQuitty that I won at least 10 years ago. Brian Croser is a great wine-maker but even so 19 years is a big ask for an Adelaide Hills Chardonnay...
5. Saint-Joseph Rouge 1971: Ernest Trollat
Like many weird finds in my cellar this was a gift from my Dad. The level isn't great but '71 was an excellent Northern Rhône vintage and you have to love that beautifully illuminated label.
6. Bandol 'Mas de la Rouvière' 1978
This half-bottle was already long in the tooth when I acquired it but Mourvèdre relishes bottle age and 1978 was a great vintage so there may be hope yet.
7. 'Le Cigare Volant': Californian Red Table Wine 1987
Made by 'the original 'Rhône Ranger' Randall Graham this Mourvèdre, Syrah and Grenache blend must be in its dotage at 30 years of age but where would you find another bottle? And that flying-saucer label is a work of art in its own right.
8. Château Simone Blanc 1988
A great vintage for a great wine, from an iconic estate but even so this Clairette and Grenache based blend must be fading at the end of its third decade.
9. Sancerre 'Les Perriers' 1971: Jean Vatan
A better than average year, and this is in great condition, but this 46 year-old Sauvignon Blanc is surely over the hill.
10. Muscat de Beaumes de Venise 1997: Domaine de Durban
20 year-old Muscat anybody? Anybody??