This time the wine is a 1974 Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon. It was one of the big four Cab producers in those days (Beaulieu, Charles Krug and Inglenook are the other three). The first thing I noticed with this bottle was the mid-shoulder fill, which might have otherwise deterred me from purchasing it had the cost not been as low as it was. The second observation was that there was no foil capsule; instead, covering the cork there was a plastic closure with a place for you to tear it off, sort of like a plastic bottle of juice. Interesting...apparently low to mid-end wines used this type of closure back then.
So I poured a taste of this 33 year old Cab into my glass and noticed that the color looked surprisingly healthy, a mature, opaque brick color, with no noticeable browning at the edges. On the nose, there was lots of iron and beef blood at first. The palate showed very mature, but simple red fruit flavors, without a ton of complexity or length. As the wine opened up after 20 or so minutes, aromas became more complex, showing roasted coffee, green peppercorn, and some darker fruits. Similarly, the palate showed a greater depth of flavor, with dark fruits beginning to emerge and more complexity, greater weight and more concentration. By 40 minutes the wine was fading to what it was at first, and I imagine that had I drunk more another 20 minutes later the wine would have been going, going, gone.
Nevertheless, the '74 Louis Martini was no deadbeat cab, it proved to have just a little life in it yet.
Drink old wine. It's fun, and always an education.