Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
My dad turns 60 in April, and I'd like to buy him a great bottle of wine, something red (probably a Cab or a Burg) from 1945 (his birth year). Under $200 is my preference. Can you recommend something fabulous?
—Kate Barnett, Newnan, Ga.
The good news is, the 1945 vintage is considered legendary. The bad news is, the 1945 vintage is considered legendary. The wines are few and far between, and they tend to command some of the highest prices at auction.
Fabulous 1945 wines include Burgundy's Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, which can fetch up to $20,000 a bottle, according to the Wine Spectator auction database. Bordeaux's Château Pétrus and Château Mouton-Rothschild, which usually garner $4,000 to $5,000 a bottle at auction, are also stellar. There were great vintage Ports and Champagnes from 1945 as well.
Now, assuming your pocketbook hasn't already snapped shut in horror, be careful when searching for these older bottles; you want to make sure you're getting one that has been stored correctly, and with a fill level (also known as "ullage") that is consistent with a wine of its age. Best of luck to you, and best wishes to your dad.
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