Nosh Pit with Chris Macias

Chris Macias chops it up about local food and drink issues

Wine Buzz: Uncorking Beatles-era bottles at UC Davis

10/22/2013 4:00 PM

10/22/2013 11:12 AM

The wines were bottled around the time the Beatles rocked “The Ed Sullivan Show” and Lyndon Johnson was president. Now they’re about to be uncorked to reveal how they’ve evolved over the decades.

Will the wines show a profound complexity after 50 years in the bottle? Or have the fruit and tannins faded, leaving high-pedigree vinegar?

Those questions will be answered Tuesday with the first installment of “Vintage Wine Tasting” at the University of California, Davis. The series features a collaboration among UC Davis, Darrell Corti and wineCentric, a wine education company founded by sommelier Matthew Lewis.

The event offers a rare chance to taste some of the top names in Bordeaux from the early and mid-1960s: 1962 Chateau Pichon Longueville Baron; 1963-64 Chateau Latour; and 1964 and 1966 Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande. For a finale, 1970 Chateau Guiraud Sauternes will be poured as an example of Bordeaux’s sweet side.

“These are bucket list wines that most people won’t get to in their lifetime,” said Lewis. “This is also a last chance for people to experience wines made in this style. People aren’t making wines to last 50 years anymore, and that includes the French. These have been made in a classic style that gives great longevity.”

The tasting, limited to 24 participants, will include a discussion led by Corti. The event’s geared for serious wine collectors and sommeliers, with a $200 price tag. The tasting also includes a reception at Tuco’s Wine Market & Cafe in Davis, plus recent vintage wines from Amador County’s Andis.

Proceeds from the event will benefit UC Davis’ department of viticulture and enology.

The wines were donated to the university by the widow, who prefers to remain anonymous, of a wine collector . And there are enough bottles for future vintage tastings.

As for which will be the best bottle Tuesday, that’s a guessing game.

“Certainly, 1963 was not a banner vintage, but Darrell believes the 1963 Latour could be the best in show,” said Lewis. “He’s excited to show people what can be done in a so-called ‘bad vintage.’”

To reserve a seat at the tasting, call (970) 376-1222.

About This Blog

Chris Macias has served as The Sacramento Bee's food and wine writer since 2008. His writing adventures have ranged from the kitchen at French Laundry to helping pick 10 tons of zinfandel grapes with migrant farmworkers in Lodi. Chris judges regularly at food, wine and cocktail competitions around Northern California. Reach him at or 916-321-1253. Twitter: @chris_macias.


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