I was seven years old in 1978. A few things that happened:
The Israelis won the Eurovision Song Contest.
Argentina hosted and won the World Cup (the English didn’t qualify).
Pope John Paul I died (this is the most interesting if you are killing time on Wikipedia).
And the bottle of Chasse-Spleen I drank a couple of weeks back was harvested.
In terms of provenance it was pretty much pristine. Shipped to the UK in 1980, unmoved since then. Bought for not much in the first place and bought by me for not much either on account that it was a bit of a chance: not a great chateau (though a perfectly good one), not a great vintage. A chance.
Bottles like this tend to sit in my cellar for a while on account of the chance aspect. Do I open something potentially special to go with the pizza? Do I open something potentially dead with a swanky Sunday lunch?
The meal was in between: rather good beef stew on a Monday night.
The wine was just perfect. I say “Bordeaux all tastes the same” or “tastes of cardboard” all too often. The real thing about Bordeaux is that it takes so long to actually get interesting. This bottle probably did taste of cardboard in 1983, and probably tasted very, very similar to its peers.
At 34 years old it was sublime. There is something about old wine, wine with character, that I find hard to describe. A winemaker once told me: “wine is like a person”. As it gets older it gets more fragile, a little tired maybe, but with that comes the benefits of age: character, complexity, etc. I appreciate “wisdom” might stretching it a little for a bottle of Moulis but I’m tempted. This wasn’t boy-racer fruitbomb, this wasn’t flashy. It was what it was: fully mature, decent claret. I loved it and, in the same way that the wine that I remember best from a pretty serious Lynch-Bages dinner a year or so back was the magnum of 1990 Ormes de Pez, this wine will stick in my mind. Aside from a particularly good punt on a horse in May, this was probably the best twenty quid I’ve spent this year.