Hillary for president

1947 was a good vintage!

It’s official. Hillary Clinton is running. She is entering the fight as the champion of ‘everyday Americans’. She’s going to do it. She’s going for it! Hillary is going for the highest office in the country. She is famous and beloved, hated and mistrusted. No sooner had she announced than the first sounds of opposition were being heard. A great campaign team on one side and, right away, two anti-Hillary websites on the other side And the question on many people’s lips was: “isn’t she too old?”

On election day, Hillary (born 1947) will be 69 years old. And what if she wins? Then, she’ll be around for (another) four or eight years. Dutch politician and business-woman Neelie Kroes (born 1941) doesn’t even bat an eye at the thought. A lot of other people do, though. They are saying she’s not sharp enough. Or good enough. And what about her drive and passion at that age?

There are many similarities between wine and old age. There was a time when it was considered normal to buy wine and put it up at home. These days, such habits are the preserve of aficionados. Most wine is consumed on the day it’s purchased, a purchase that usually takes place in the supermarket. As a result, many people have forgotten – if they ever knew – that many wines age well. Wines from some regions are perfect for consumption after years of patient waiting. Crus from Bordeaux, Bourgogne, the noble sweet wines from Sauternes and elsewhere, and let’s not forget Ribera del Duero and Piemonte with Barolo and Barbaresco, and Brunello de Montalcino, for example.

I once had the privilege of being the guest of Franco Biondi Santi, the founder and most renowned wine maker from the small Brunello region. That kindly gentleman passed away in 2013, sadly. At a respectable age, it must be said. He was 91 at the time of his death. He told me that his wines could easily reach the age of 70 years old. The only potential problem would be the cork, which would have to be replaced – at no charge at the vineyard – after 30 years. You would have to make your own way with the wines in the carrying case, however.

If the wines are found to have been stored well – a tasting is conducted on the spot – they will then be topped off with Brunello wines from the same vintage and corked with a Biondi Santi cork. If the tasters are of the opinion that the wines have not been stored well, they will suffer the ignominious fate of being corked with a non-name cork. Unfortunate for those who, in ignorance, stored the wine improperly, but the house is implacable. At a tasting in 2007 under the su¬per¬vi¬sion of the still vivacious Franco – aged 85, at the time – a 30-year old Biondi Santi proved to still be in its infancy. Incredible, but true.

Those wines are good for decades precisely because they have the depth and the quality required to be able to age well. At the same 2007 tasting, a 50-year old wine was found to have only just come into its maturity. Imagine the potential such characteristics represents!

Why should the same not apply for Hillary? In the trade journals, people are often compared with grapes. As far as I’m concerned, Hillary has the aging potential and qualities of a riesling, brunello or cabernet sauvignon. Remember Ronald Reagan? He was 70 when he became president and nobody ever mentioned his age. In my opinion, Reagan was not a high-quality single variety. More of a well chosen, popular blend.

The show in America will be running for a while yet. They will be tense months and years for Hillary. I hope that her age is the last thing on her mind. I’m inclined to advise her to decant a bottle of Biondi Santi, vintage 1947, the year of her birth, and to enjoy it. Cheers!

Charlotte van Zummeren


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