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I am a new member, and I don't know much about wine, so I thought this might be the right place to post this. I need help!

I have three bottles of 1961 Fontanafredda Barolo (for an image of the bottle and label we have, see "" ). My father bought them years ago for some special future event or other, but they've never been opened. Now he is nearing the end of his life due to illness, and his whole family will be together for Christmas next week. We've decided that this will be the special event, so we want to give it a try!

I've seen some bottles advertised on the internet for upwards of $200 each, but we're not wine merchants. Anyway, I cannot vouch for how the wine was stored - it probably moved house a few times, and it's also likely the bottles were stored on their sides, in the dark, but probably in not as cool temperature as they should have been. One of the bottle's wax cap is broken and crumbling on one side. All three bottles seem to have quite a bit of sediment in them.

My question is, how should we deal with these? I assume they should be set upright at some point to let the sediment settle. Should they be opened and decanted for a specific length of time? Poured or served at a particular temperature? Enjoyed alone, or with some sort of food? Any advice would be appreciated!

~ Matt
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two years ago I opened 6 different Barolo's from the 61 vintage for Millie's birthday. They ranged from fresh and excellent to well past their prime. Overall though most bottle were good to very good.

I stood them up for a few days before opening. I only decanted for sediment and served right away. I remember two fading pretty fast in the decanter so I would not decant for long. I did need to bring out my best cork removal tools. Use a long corkscrew in combo with the butlers opener is the best route.

With food for sure.
Thank you both! Unfortunately, my father really isn't expected to last much longer, and we're torn between wanting to keep him here as long as possible and hoping he'll let go soon.

Osso Buco sounds wonderful, but I'm afraid it's not likely - we don't really have the wherewithal to pull that off. There will be 17 of us, and food will be plentiful, but meals will be simple.

If "with food" is recommended, is there something simple and appetizer-like that would suit?
+1 on what's been posted above. Beef braised in Barolo This or another recipe for beef braised in Barolo could work for your crowd. Load up the pot, and let it slow cook.

My recommendation would be to pick up a few bottles of a young Barolo as a back up. Here's to hoping you don't need the back-up bottles, that your father does exceed the doctor's expecations, and that you have a terrific family gathering with these old Barolo wines.
Another thought. If you haven't already, stand the bottles upright to allow sediment to settle in the bottom of the bottle. If you or someone you know is adept with a corkscrew (or more suitably for an old cork, and ah-so) it would be very helpful. Old corks can be fragile and finicky. It's possible that if you don't use an ah-so, that the cork may crumble or break apart. It might be prudent to have some cheesecloth and a strainer handy in the event you end up with cork pieces in the wine. Enjoy!

PH - re. mushroom risotto: *That* I can manage, at least Big Grin

And thanks for the advice about corkscrews - I'm no expert, but I know I've seen an ah-so (had to google it) in their house, so I hope we'll manage! Anyway, there's strainers and cheesecloth there, too, so we should be covered!

And, a week ago I did place the bottles upright in a cooler darker corner than where they were before, so hopefully that's covered, at least!

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