1979 Petrus

So, I work for a restaurant that has a temperature controlled wine cellar. Once a year we have a "Spring Cleaning" sale and offer a selection of our wines at a dollar above wholesale. It's all wine that we think is in its prime, ready to drink...to make space and clear up some funds for buying for the summer. It's a great event. But we have one bottle of 1979 Petrus that's going on the list this year, and I feel a little conflicted about offering it. From what I've read, Right Bank Bordeaux from 1979 is in decline, and the bottle is leaking. Should we go ahead and sell it anyway?

  • Yes, you should sell it. Either it's good and and a guest will enjoy it, or it's bad and you don't want it anyway.

    If it's bad, don't charge them for it.

    If it's good - and, if stored properly, I suspect it is - you will make someone's day. Best bet is to audouze. Or decant.
  • the bottle is leaking?

    If the wine can get out the oxygen can get in.
    I would say there is a high chance of the bottle being oxidized at this point.
  • I'm guessing you would offer that bottle of wine for a great price. I would list it, if someone is interested in it, then mention the condition. You have the opportunity to make someone's night incredibly memorable with this bottle. Plus it's almost more about the name than the wine when it comes to Petrus.
    Or make it a staff training. Don't wait too long though, I had a Vieux Chateau Certan from 1979 recently with high ullage and it was still good, on it's last leg, but still good.

    And I tasted a 78 Petrus last night that was very good.

  • If the ullage is good, it should be fine.  Mid shoulder would be more typical, but top shoulder would be ideal.  I haven't opened a Petrus, but I have opened a lot of old bottles and it's not uncommon for seepage to happen - some producers are notorious for this (I'm looking at you, Leroy).  In the end, you've got a lovely gamble here ... either it's good, and your customer just got a great treat, or it's not good, and alas, you open up another bottle of wine and toast our fallen friend.

  • In reply to Martin Beally:

    When is this sale happening, and how early do you expect one would have to get in line for it?

  • Its still Petrus. I had the '79 in Paris 2 years ago and it was fantastic! Makes some friends with it. If they are not happy with it, don't charge them.
  • In reply to Martin Beally:

    I concur with the seepage happening. And I never thought I would type that sentence. Heh. Make someone's day with it- or maybe Jeremy and I will come and drink it!
  • Sell that bad boy. What you should do is tell everyone in the industry in your area that you're going to pour it off BTG, no one stays for just one glass, if it is already sold off they're still going to drink at your spot. You'll definitely make the cost back, plus people putting it all over social media. It's a win win