Searching the cellar for Christmas decorations a friend discovered a few bottles of wine, slightly grubby, but above the damp, and decided to share a 1995 Chateau Poyanne, a Cotes de Bourg Bordeaux which had originally come from Laithwaite’s.
At 11, it was probably five years too old for a ‘grand vin’, but we decanted it, leaving a thin layer of sediment behind.
It was clear and had a medium garnet colour, certainly not as tired looking as I’d expected. It took a while to develop a bouquet, but again, with a reasonable hit of black fruits it smelled promising. There was a smokiness and a touch of volatile acidity, but not enough to ruin the wine, and a good warm spiciness which felt just right at Christmas.
It tasted dry, with a balanced acidity and soft, rounded tannins. The blackberry fruit carried on to the palate and the spicy flavours of nutmeg and mace came to the fore. This was a surprisingly good bottle, which improved greatly from a couple of hours in the open air.
I wouldn’t choose to store wine for eight years in a broken chest of drawers, but having lain undisturbed until a frantic search for replacement bulbs, this made a lovely Christmas surprise.