In 1994, I was 17 and it was a very good year.
The Reds won the Super 10. The Maroons won the Origin.
The world’s best band, Oasis, arrived with a bang. Kurt Cobain, sadly, departed with one.
My hair was fair. I was thin. And I started to properly enjoy drinking beer (even if it was Hahn Ice).
But, as of this week, I’ve turned a positively ancient 34 years of age.
And while, happily, the Reds and the Maroons are again #1, so too, sadly, is Katy Perry.
My hair is also turning silver (ok, grey), I’m carrying a couple of extra kegs, and the only upside to my drinking is that I now enjoy far more wine than beer.
So, to make myself feel a bit better, I decided to take a tasty 17-year old out to dinner. The missus come along as well. You know what they say: two might be company, but three is a result.
The 17-year old in question was a ripping Penfolds 1994 Bin 707 Cab Sauv.
It was one of the first good bottles of wine I ever bought to lay down. She’s followed me for almost 15 years, living under the stairs and waiting patiently for her day to come.
And did she what.
In the glass, she was as red as a Greek balance sheet, and far brighter than I expected. She smelt sweetly like a fistful of raspberries packed into your grandfather’s pipe.
She was a cracker when she was bottled, and she is simply astounding now. I tell you what; if you have the stamina to keep wine for this long, the reward is well worth it.
The length and structure remains, but all the tannin has long gone; suffocated and softened by a decade and a half without oxygen.
And with the pucker gone, the deliciousness explodes from the tip of your tongue all the way down to your big toe.
For me, cabernet always goes best with a steak, and this old girl was no exception. She wrapped her legs around a ball of beef and danced like she was being paid.
Of course, at almost $200 a bottle (these days), it’s a drink-your-cheque-at-the-bar kind of wine for most people.
But what are birthdays for, if not for being spent with old friends and getting drunk on fine wine.
She made a happy man feel very old. And I loved it.
Drink with: Grace
Price: $190 these days (although I think I paid around $100 in about ‘96/’97)