Buying Vintage Wine
Looking for a great vintage wine for a birthday or anniversary? We specialise in vintage wines from significant years. With a focus on birthday gift wines and anniversary gift wines, we source wines from all over the UK and Europe from personal collections, private cellars and sometimes, even the winery where the wine was made. Vintage gifts are one of the most personal gestures you can make and, for a wine lover, a vintage wine from their year of birth is the ultimate present. Whilst many people never open the bottle, preferring to keep it for posterity, our view is that the wine was made to drink and share with friends. What better way to share a 40th birthday or 25th wedding anniversary!
Unlike younger wines, the value of a vintage wine from a significant vintage is not just the wine itself, but also the bottle (with empty bottles of fine and rare vintage wines having a value even when empty). This presents us with one of our biggest challenges when seeking out these wines since labels can deteriorate in damp cellars. Where a label is damaged, we will always include this in the description. However, By far the most important factor with a vintage wine is the level of the wine within the bottle or the ‘ullage’ as it is known. For very old wines, it is quite common for the ullage to reduce over the years. This is not always a bad sign – one of the greatest wines we ever tried was a half-bottle of 1970 Chateau Mouton Rothschild with the ullage at mid-shoulder. We will always include details of the ullage in the description and would advise ordering wines with the best possible ullages. For younger vintage wines, this would be ‘into neck’ or ‘at the base of the neck’. For older wines ‘top shoulder’ or ‘very top shoulder’ is a good sign.
Sadly, many vintage wines are in very limited supply and we are often only able to secure a case or even just a few bottles of a rare vintage wine. For this reason, we sometimes suggest adding a bottle of the same wine as the vintage wine you’re looking for. Imagine the pleasure of the recipient(s) being able to enjoy two vintages, which will be very different (very old vintage wines tend to be lighter with less tannins), or perhaps opening the younger vintage and saving the rare bottle from their birth year or anniversary for another occasion.