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Birth Year Wines

Birth Year Wines are wonderful gifts. You can give Birth Year Wines as a gift for a young child so the wine can be consumed at a date far into the future (such as the 21st birthday). You can also purchase aged wines as a gift for an individual who is having a significant birthday soon. When looking for very old wines, your best bet may be to check with one of the auction houses. Be careful about the provenance of the wine.

Because most of the wines that age the longest are usually not released until two years after the vintage date, a Birth Year Wine is not going to be available at the time of birth. The earliest you can safely expect to find birth year wines is about 2 1/2 years after the birth/vintage year.

Which wines age best and are most likely to last until the special celebration of a 21st, 30th or 50th birthday? The most likely candidates are dessert wines of some form including Vintage Ports (Portugal), Sauternes (France) and Trockenbeerenauslese wines (Germany). In the dry wine category, big red wines like the best Chateaux of Bordeaux or possibly some of the California Cabernet Sauvignons could work. Almost all white wines, most sparkling wines and most of the world's red wines are not suitable and will go bad long before the special celebration.

Even after you get the perfect wine, the storage conditions will determine whether the wine will survive the decades of storage. If you cannot provide proper storage conditions, do not bother finding the wine.

Since Vintages can vary greatly, the ability of wines from different years can also vary. A great Bordeaux from a great vintage may improve for decades while the same chateau in a lesser year may produce wines that have less than 1/2 the lifespan.

The table below will give you the best candidates from each year.

20052004
2012  
2011  
2010  
2009  
2008  
2007  
2006  
2005  
2004  
2003
2002
2001

Excellent year for Sauternes and Barsac. Very good year for the top California Cabernets. Excellent year for German Sweet Wines.

2000

Excellent year for Vintage Port and for Bordeaux.

1999

Look to Sauternes and Barsac.

1998

Saint Emilion and Pomerol produced excellent wines.

1997

Excellent year for Vintage Port and the top California Cabernets

1996

Very good year for the top California Cabernets

1995

Very good year for the top California Cabernets

1994

Excellent year for Vintage Port

1993

Very good year for the top California Cabernets

1992

Excellent year for Vintage Port

1991

Excellent year for Vintage Port. Very good year for the top California Cabernets

1990

Excellent year for Sauternes and Barsac. Excellent year for German Sweet Wines.

1989

Very good year for top Bordeaux. Excellent year for German Sweet Wines as well as Sauternes and Barsac.

1988

Excellent year for Sauternes and Barsac.

1987

Look at the best California Cabernets.

1986

Excellent year for Sauternes, Barsac and Bordeaux

1985

Excellent year for Vintage Port. Very good year for the top California Cabernets

1984
1983

Excellent year for Vintage Port. Excellent year for German Sweet Wines as well as Sauternes and Barsac.

1982

Great year for the top Bordeaux

1981

Look to the top Rioja wines of Spain.

1980
1979

Look for a SWEET Vouvray from an excellent producer. Be careful because Vouvray comes in many styles.

1978

Very good year for Rhone wines from France. Hermitage or Chateauneuf du Pape from the best producers are showing well.

1977

Excellent year for Vintage Port

1976

Very good year for the top California Cabernets. Excellent year for German Sweet Wines.

1975

Excellent year for Sauternes and Barsac. Excellent year for German Sweet Wines.

1974

Wines from the Piedmont region of Italy may be the best place to look.

1973

Seek out wines from Germany.

1972

Red wines from the Rhone River valley in France are your best bet.

1971

Look at the top German wines.

1970

Excellent year for Vintage Port. Very good year for the top California Cabernets

1969
1968
1967
1966

Excellent year for Vintage Port

1965

Very difficult year. Look at the best of Spain or Australia.

1964
1963

Excellent year for Vintage Port

1962

Great year for the top Bordeaux

1961

Great year for the top Bordeaux

1960
1959

Great year for the top Bordeaux

1958
1957
Look at some of the top Bordeaux wines or Tokaj Aszu, the classic dessert wine from Hungary.
1956
1955

Excellent year for Vintage Port

1954
1953

Great year for the top Bordeaux

1952
1951
1950