The other night I had dinner with an old friend and we indulged in an old friend for dinner—the 1983 Guigal La Mouline…
The wine brought back lots of fond memories. I’ve been drinking it since the 1980s and enjoyed it perhaps a dozen times since then. Guigal is my friend’s favorite Rhône producer, and the '83 is his all-time favorite wine. When you have that kind of special relationship with a wine it makes it all that more meaningful.
Way back when I first began drinking the wine, it sold in the $20 range, if memory serves. One reason was the strength of the dollar versus the Franc; these days, of course, the Euro is pummeling the dollar, which is one reason why European wines are so expensive for us. A bottle of the '83 currently fetches $2,000!
Anyway, we caught the ’83 at a good time. The cork was fully soaked red. The wine unfolded slowly, taking a good 45 minutes to open, and when it did, it exhibited a medley of what I call scorched earth, fresh-cut herbs, dried cranberry and berry flavors, mineral and fresh earth, eventually adding a game meat nuance. It wasn’t young and it wasn’t old, but this particular bottle wasn’t going to improve. The cork was just about ready to give way.
These days it seems that with so much emphasis on what's new and the fact that so many wines are both expensive and hard to get, you don’t get chances to catch up with old friends quite as often.
I’m not sure when I’ll come across another ’83 La Mouline, but I’m hoping this is not the last encounter.