I haven't drunk red wine in a long time. Sadly it was one of the first casualties of old age creeping up on me. Something about the sulfates, I think. Frankly if I drink the stuff in the evening I can guarantee an early morning call about 2 a.m. and that's it for the rest of the night. So it had to go.
Sad really, but I have happy memories of the drink, and particularly some to do with a hotel in Spain.
I used to stay regularly at the Wellington Hotel in Madrid in the mid-seventies and one evening dining alone, I looked more closely at the wine menu than usual. I noticed that they had a Rioja dated some time in the 1890's. I asked the wine waiter if this was correct as the price didn't seem too much.
He explained that it was a fact, but he couldn't guarantee the quality of the wine and also that it was in half bottles. Such small quantities had gone out of style, or the capacity of the average Spaniard had increased during Franco's time perhaps. Well, he pulled the cork and tried it himself; no good, he tried another; still no good, but the third as they say was a charm.
I have to confess that there is not a single bottle of red wine available in the Wellington Hotel in Madrid older than 1950. I drank the lot! I couldn't pass up the opportunity to work my way through such a collection over the following six months. The staff quite enjoyed my performance too, I think. Happy memories!