At just 12.5% alcohol, costing about $12 back then, and scoring a good 16+ Dionysian points, the 1974 Baxter Hills Pinot Noir Napa Valley, from Rutherford, was exceptional for 45 years old. California used to make wine that did age well.

It was clear, light cherry in color with an orange edge,and had some tobacco mixed with the still-lingering raspberry fruit on its nose.


It was from my son’s birth-year collection. We had it with a salmon and grilled chicken dinner. It was far better than I ever expected. Only had this last one.

Sonoma is the place for Pinot Noir now, and Oregon is even better, but to savor a soft, pleasant 45 year old wine, and think of the year it came from  made the birthday meal something really special. Age some wines for your kids or grandchildren. .. And, it gives you a reason to stay alive.  In Vino Veritas.