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Saturday, 18 May 2019

Rousseau de Sipian 2005

A mature Medoc from Cambridge Wine Merchants

Mature red Bordeaux is something special; age does something to a wine that nothing else quite achieves.

Maturing wines can become an expensive business if you put them in storage or even buy your own wine fridge. It is not for the buy-open-drink crowd.

I inadvertently carried out not just one, but several aging experiments with this wine bought on special offer for under a tenner at Cambridge Wine Merchants in 2010.

The first was to buy two cases and drink them over the following decade; youthful and grippy even at five years, it has - like all of us - softened and mellowed with time.

The second was to store both cases under the stairs, but with one in the rack and the other in the box on the floor. The last couple of bottles of "rack" wines were faded and somewhat disappointing. By contrast, the "box" bottles have proven extremely well-preserved and show no signs of deterioration.

So it is possible to age wines at home without expensive equipment; you just need to make really sure they stay cool.

It is also both possible and desirable to age relatively inexpensive wines for a significant period of time; bear in mind 2005 conforms to Jancis Robinson's Bordeaux "rule of five", so look for 2010s or 2015s if you want to lay something down now.

Finally, the wine also picked up a nod from Tim Atkin, as well as a couple of gongs.

So, if you want to try aging wines, pick a style that is intended for aging, buy enough to be able to try one every six months or so and see how it develops over time, keep it really cool and look for critical recommendations.

This one still has plenty of life left in it and as I'm now down to my last two bottles, I'll leave it at least a year or so before I try it again.

Age and scarcity increase the value of a wine and therefore heighten the emotional context of drinking it - as two diners at Hawksmoor Manchester recently found out.

Rousseau de Sipian 2005 still in incredible shape; lovely fruit, sous bois, vanilla spice and leather with integrated tannins.


Match with plain roast red meat, especially darker game or tuna.

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