According to Frank Schoonmaker, writing in a 1957 edition of The Standard Bartender’s Guide, purchased last weekend at a garage sale.
- 1954 Red Bordeaux: “Barely passable, thin little wines. Will not last.”
- 1951 Red Bordeaux: “A year to forget.”
- 1956 White Bordeaux: “Mediocre. Many wines hard and rather green; several of the great vineyards refused to chateau-bottle.”
- 1954 White Bordeaux: “Poor. Wines light and often acid.”
- 1956 Red Burgandy: “Extremely poor in red wines; hardly any of the better growers estate-bottled their wine.”
- 1954 Red Burgundy: “Of no possible interest.”
- 1956 Champagne: “Very poor.”
- 1957 Loire Valley: “No wine at all was harvested.” [emphasis Schoonmaker’s]
- 1956 Rhine and Moselle: “Hardly any natural (i.e., unsugared) wines were produced. Poor.”
If you are brought any of these vintages in a fine dining establishment, refuse to drink them and cast aspersions on your sommelier’s taste.
Or, alternately, you may demand a 1954 Red Burgundy and struggle, against all odds, to find some possible interest in it. Maybe something has been overlooked. The wait staff will mill around nervously as the chairs are stacked and the kitchen closes and you sit, hunched over your glass of wine, slightly drunk and muttering to yourself “Goddammit, it must be here somewhere.” The ghost of Schoonmaker hovers over you, repeating the phrase “no possible interest” over and over and howling with laughter at your hubris.