Saint-Emilion - Message in a bottle

Château Franc-Pourret, 1981
News programmes these days seem to be full of claim and counter-claim about the budget deficit and the effect of cuts in public spending.  Old certainties such as buying property seem no longer to apply as house prices fall, leaving some in the position of negative equity.  Canny investors suggest putting money into art purchases and others into buying and cellaring fine wine.
Back in 2000, I invested in some wine. It was more of an emotional decision than a financial one because I only bought one bottle.  Not any old bottle mind you! It was a Saint-Emilion Grand Cru from the Château Franc-Pourret, belonging to the Ouzoulias family. Its vintage is 1981.
Now 1981 is special because it was the year in which we got married.
The wine was already 19 years old when we visited the lovely medieval town of Saint-Emilion. We had family lunch in the square and still had some hours to spend before continuing our homeward journey.  I had visited the town before in the 1970s, when access to the monolithic church was much freer than now.  I distinctly recall remaining inside at the end of a short tour and feeling very much at ease in the place. There was no visit to the church on this occasion but we did pay our respects to one of the many shops selling high-end wine from the appellation. The merchant, intent on selling the bottle, assured us that it was excellent value and would continue improving with age. He even offered to buy it back at some future date provided that we had kept it properly. I wonder how he would know. Well, we bought it.
I said it was an emotional investment and we felt confident that we could keep it until 2006 when it and our marriage would be twenty-five years old.  It would, we thought, provide an appropriate focal point for an anniversary dinner.
We didn't drink it and it is still there lying on its soft carton inlay in its stout wooden box. Somehow, it has managed to survive those stressful evenings when there was nothing else to pour into a relaxing glass.
Apparently it is still going strong. I looked it up on the internet and it scores16 out of 20.  I don't know its current value as I would have to write to the château for a price but I figure I made a good investment.
Here's the funny thing, I have never tasted the wine! But by not opening it, I risk denying it its potential. It was made for drinking so we will just have to fix another date and keep to it next time.  I have uncorked a plan!
Surfing for details of the wine has revealed an interesting association. Catherine Ouzoulias provides luxury accommodation at the Château-Franc Pourret and offers tastings.  It looks a very grand and elegant place and from the 5-star reviews she gets, sounds like a great place to stay.  I wonder would she mind us bringing the wine back to its birthplace and letting us drink it there!  We might just need a second bottle.

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