Posts Tagged ‘aged wine’

Drinking mature wine…

Monday, December 6th, 2010

I had one of my most enjoyable tastings a few days ago.  I got to taste about 20 wines ranging in age from 7-11 years old, all stored in optimal conditions.  I knew which wines I would be tasting ahead of time and was concerned that many would be past their prime and possibly even dead.  Lo & behold, the wines were all alive and quite spectacular.

It is said that 95% (or thereabout) of wine in consumed within 24 hours of its being purchased.  Which leads me to believe that most people have not had the extreme pleasure of drinking a wine that has had time to mature in the bottle, a bottle aged wine.

From “The Billionaire’s Vinegar”: “Crudely, the molecular changes known to unfold in a sealed wine bottle that has been laid down for years involve the gradual interaction of oxygen and wine.  Simple chemical compounds break down and recombine into more and more complex forms called polymeric phenols.  Acidity and alcohol soften.  The largest compounds – the harsh, astringent tannins – drift down into a carpet of sediment, taking with them the saturated, inky pigments.  They leave behind a mellowed, unfathomably subtle flavor and a brick-red hue.  Everything knits together, resolving into an ever finer complexity expressed fragrantly in the wine’s bouquet.”

The chapter gets into more detail about mature wine (while discussing Bordeaux purported to be from Thomas Jefferson’s cache dating back to the late 1700’s, and declares that “a wine is considered mature when it has maximized its flavor possibilities but has not yet begun to deteriorate”.

I still believe that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  Some people prefer the primary aromas and flavors of a young wine, while others prefer the tertiary characteristics.  Of the wines I tried at the tasting I was shocked to discover that not only were most of the wines alive, but they were still displaying youthful fruit.  Their color was almost across the board still ruby, not showing very much (if any) of the brick color that is indicative of an aged wine (as it goes from purple to ruby to brick and ultimately towards brown as it reaches the end of its life).

I tried 5 Bordeaux, 3 Spanish wines, 2 wines from California and 9 wines from Israel.

The Bordeaux was all quite nice and I wish I had time with each bottle to enjoy it as it evolved.  Sadly this was a bit of a speed tasting for me as my job on this evening was simply to verify that the wines were still alive.  They were alive yet I couldn’t help but think they all seemed a bit lite.  They were definitely light in body.  I wonder what types of characteristics would have been revealed had I had more time with these wines.

Next were the Spanish wines from Capcanes; A 2000, 2001 & 2003.  These were probably my (more…)

Resilient wine

Monday, June 21st, 2010

I’ve been suffering a bit of writers block of late.  Couple that with a busy work schedule, the NBA finals, and a desire for some serious changes to the site (blog) and you get almost 2 weeks of inactivity.  SORRY….

But I was inspired by something I read before the weekend.  I was reading Robin Garr’s 30 second Wine Advisor & his most recent piece about aged wines; “Older of Better“.

The piece talks a bit about how wines change as they age, with some improving (though I think that is subjective).  He also mentioned that most wines are meant to be consumed young.  And I would tend to agree, that most wine is in fact made with the intention that it be consumed within a few years of release.

I know people who prefer young wine to old wine.  Young wines have firm tannins and big fruit.  Whereas older wines can be more acidic and absent of fruit.

Prior to writing tonight’s post, I tasted two older wines over the weekend. Neither were of the 20+ years old category, generally reserved for top wines.  But both were from the 2000 vintage and neither was a reserve wine of sorts – so safe to assume it was not meant for long term aging.

The first, a Merlot from Israel, showed a remarkably youthful color.  Sadly it was corked – no pleasure to be derived here.

The second was a simple Bourgogne.  Whereas 1er Cru or Grand Cru Burgundy can age for MANY years, the more simple Bourgogne is one of those “intended for early consumption” wines.  So the 2000 being alive was in my mind a long shot.  Popped the cork for Dad and others this afternoon and sure enough it was BROWN – a sure sign that the wine is dead…right?  Well, it had some oxidative qualities, but a remarkably fresh acidity and some secondary characteristics of dried fruit, leather & mushrooms.  What can I say, I loved it!

This wine might  not be for everyone.  But the funky secondary characteristics are one of the most exciting things about aged wines.  Drinking a young wine is like checking out the babies in a maternity ward.  Sure they all look a bit different, but when it comes down to it, unless it is your baby they are just a bunch of diapered newborns.  Give that newborn 5, 10 even 20 years to age and now you’ve got character.

The “how to properly age wine” conversation is a completely different topic (which I think I’ve previously covered), but if you have an open mind to wines that are not fruit forward, and you have the opportunity to try an aged wine, or at least put one away for several years, try it.  You may have an aged wine epiphany!

Happy aged wine tasting!


Young wine VS. Old wine

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

What is better, an old wine or a young wine?

aged to perfection

The truth is, there is no RIGHT answer to this question. For starters, some wines are made to be aged (some French Bordeaux) while others are meant to be drunk young (fresh, crisp whites such as a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc). Furthermore, even red wines that CAN be aged, don’t necessarily HAVE to be. Some people prefer a young wine, while others may prefer an aged wine. (more…)