The year in which you are born is thought by many to have a lasting effect on your life. The Chinese, for example, deem those born in the Year of the Dog as typically independent, sincere, loyal and valiant.
Now I’m not going to quibble with millennia of received Chinese zodiac wisdom, but one thing I can say is that those born in 1970 – a year of the dog – can get to enjoy some amazing wine gifts.
Unlike last year, where anniversary vintages ranged from the extraordinarily good (and pricey!) 1959 Bordeaux, 1969 Burgundy and still-youthful 1989s for youthful wine lovers, 2020s crop of anniversary wines offers a wide range of affordable gifts.
1960 Vintage Ports, 1970 red Bordeaux, fine and rare 1970 Italian wines, 1980 Vintage Ports and 1990 red Burgundies all offer wonderful offerings that would make any wine lover’s special day. If anything, those born with in a vintage ending in zero have too much to choose from…
So, to make getting the right anniversary wine gift in 2020 easy, here’s MWH Wines – the home of affordable fine wines – guide to 2020 wine gifts. In it you’ll find a broad selection of recommendations to suit all palates and budgets. Of course, if you have something specific in mind - or would like some personalised help, then please give us a call on 0118 984 4654 or email MWH Wines here and we’ll be happy to help.
Croft 1960 Vintage Port
Vintage Port isn’t made every year. As we noted in our vintage Port guide producers can only make a proportion of their wines into vintage and so they only tend to be declared in truly exceptional years. 1960 was such a year. Baking hot – even by the Douro’s high standards – the wines are well-flavoured and rich with good balancing acidity. The Croft 1960 is one of the best and, given its age and scarcity, is very well-priced. At its drinking peak now, this is a fine way to mark a 60th birthday or anniversary.
Dolcetto Luigi Einaudi 1960
Dolcetto – which translates as ‘little sweet one’ is planted all over Piedmont and the north west of Italy, producing cherry and plum-driven wines that have a cheerful, approachable nature. It’s pretty rare to find an old example and this one offers subtlety and style with flavoursome notes of smoked red cherries, raspberries and almonds. At this price the Dolcetto Luigi Einaudi 1960 is likely to sell out early…
Taylor 1970 Vintage Port
I’ve been fortunate enough to drink an embarrassing amount of Taylor’s 1970 Vintage Port. I first tried it in 1994 and it has never been anything other than hugely impressive and fit to rank with the very best. At 50 it is now mature yet retains much of the power, concentration, sweetness and weight that so characterised the very best wines of this lovely year. A wine to drink or keep for another decade or so, any Port lover would be thrilled to receive this.
Barolo Calissano 1970
Barolo famously needs plenty of time to reach its peak – especially when it’s the product of a lovely hot year like 1970. The Barolo Calissano 1970 (after a little time open) offers the classic Nebbiolo note of roses, black truffles and prunes with a savoury raspberry acidity and a long, complex finish. It’s amazing that half-century after being made that wines like this can still be an elegant delight.
Château Cissac 1970
I could not write a blog on 50th anniversary wines and not mention Bordeaux. 1970 has long been one of my favourite Bordeaux vintages and having been lucky enough to try everything from Mouton Rothschild and Calon Segur to Gazin, I can say that it’s one of those years where both sides of the river shone.
Now it’s easy to spend several hundred pounds on bottles from this year but quite another to find something affordable and good. This is why the Château Cissac 1970 is such a joy. One of our favourite Cru Bourgeois, the Cissac ’70 retains some of its youthful ripeness but these days its dominated by notes of dried blackberries and raspberries with an undertow of brambles and wood smoke.
1980 was a mixed vintage globally speaking. Bordeaux was dreary, Burgundy mixed and while California and Australia had great harvests, finding anything from them is hard and/or expensive. There are, however, good wines to be had if you know where to look and which producers to look for:
Taylor’s 1980 Vintage Port
1980 was a very good vintage, yet not all shippers declared it. Noval, Martinez and Cockburn all refrained from doing so – possibly as they thought their wines lacked the tannic structure (it was a softer year than the rock hard 1977 or the firm 1983) or that they were already eyeing a declaration in 1982. Whatever the case, it’s always been unfairly underrated and the wines remain relative bargains. The Taylor’s 1980 Vintage Port is arguably the wine of the vintage and offers up plenty of dried red berries, nutty notes and touch of caramel.
Barolo Marchesi di Barolo 1980
Barolo had a tricky 1980 but the best producers – such as Marchesi di Barolo - did well. Always a fickle, sensitive grape, the Nebbiolo seemed to appreciate the late harvest – and extra hang time – more than the other classic Italian regions. The Barolo Marchesi di Barolo 1980 is now fully mature, high-toned and savoury with more than a passing resemblance to a fine old Burgundy in as much as its pale complexion and rustic, ‘farm yard’ nose bely a subtle, complex charm.
I’ll leave you with a wine from 1990. We’ve noticed over the past few years how more and more younger wine lovers (30 is decidedly young to us!) are receiving anniversary wine gifts. That being the case we felt it worth highlighting one wine in particular...
Château Leoville Barton 1990
Leoville Barton is one of the very best Saint Julien’s - one of the best of all Bordeaux, in fact - and Anthony Barton has taken this already illustrious property to new heights. 1990 was the culmination of one of those rare trios of glorious vintages and to our palates it was the best of the three.
Leoville Barton 1990 is wonderfully complete, the balance is absolutely glorious with layer upon layer of cooked blackcurrants, brambles and vanilla melding with balancing notes of fresh acidity, rounded tannins, vanilla smoke and graphite. Bordeaux at its finest and a splendid wine that will keep providing immense pleasure for years to come.
Like Some Vintage Wine Gift Help?
We hope this guide to vintage wine gifts has provided you with some inspiration. If you have something specific in mind - or would like some personalised help – please give us a call on 0118 984 4654 or email MWH Wines here and we’ll be happy to help.