When to drink a wine….. The dilemma presented to anyone with some semblance of a cellar. If you have it, you want to drink it. Who wants to hold on to something for god-knows how long before enjoying it? Well, if you do it right and get the timing correct, you will be rewarded greatly, with “interest” I like to say.
Most wine bought in shops is consumed within hours of purchase, what’s the rush people? If you only could realize the potential of the nectar if it had a chance to age for a while, but we are impatient and don’t like to save- anything. In Spain, they kinda force you to respect the grape. “the requirements vary between regions, but typically, when used on a label “Reserva” means that the wine was aged for at least three years in the cask and bottle, at least one of which must have been in the cask. Those that have been aged for five years (two in cask, three in bottle) or more are labelled “Gran Reserva”. Gran Reservas are intended to be made only in exceptional vintages, but this is up to the producer.” (Courtesy of wikipedia) See, they actually cannot sell you the good stuff until it is at least somewhat ready to drink correctly. On the other hand, the French sell a portion of their fine wines before they are even in the bottle, it’s called En Primeur and basically lets them get cash up front and you get a discount on wine that’s not ready yet. Speaking of Bordeaux, I once bought 7 cases of the good stuff and the young lady helping me to the car asked if I was having a big party. I responded, “yes, in about ten years”. I think that confused her totally as she was just a cashier and not really into wine. I have been steadily tasting these ’01’s and can say that I have been rewarded for my patience.
A famous wine critic recently wrote that he thought all wine would be better with 10 years of age, Disagree Mr. K. Some wines don’t have the tannin (backbone) to last, nor where they made to last. Winemakers can steer a wine into many different styles and the level of tannins can be controlled to some degree. Nature is, of course, the final arbiter of the outcome. Most wine is made to be drunk right away, because that is what we want in the 21st century. We want our information, e-mail, stock quotes and wine right here, right now. So, why make an ageworthy wine that people don’t want when you can use the same grapes and have an instant success?
May I advise you to buy some decent wine that the critics say has a potential to age. Taste a bottle every year until you run out and you will become a convert. Try searching out some older wine for sale, either at your local store or on the internet. There are many gems to be found as most ignorant consumers don’t realize what they are passing up.