ENJOYING OLDER VINTAGE WINE
Arguably an acquired taste

 

The ability of fine vintage wine to improve and develop character and complexity with age even after bottling separates it from the rest of the field of alcoholic beverages. However not all wines improve with age. Time is not a cure for faults in wine. An ordinary wine doesn’t become great simply because of age. However a good wine needs many years in the bottle to slowly develop and evolve before all its virtues surfaces to be appreciated. Drinking wine that is too young deprives you of enjoying it at its best.

When buying older vintages please be mindful of these matters:

  • The wine might have thrown considerable amount of sediments which are disturbed when the bottles travel from shop to its next destination. Give it some time for the sediments to settle back into the bottom before opening it for consumption. The best way is to let the bottle stand vertical for a day or two and then lay it down on its belly with a slight inclination after that.
  • Although it is true for all wine that sunlight and excessively high temperatures can cause irreparable damages, older vintage wines are much more sensitive and its defense much weaker than young bottles.
  • There is nothing wrong with storing your wines in an area of your home refrigerator that is least cold for a few days or even a few weeks while the bottles rest and recover from a journey.

 

Knowing what to look for is quintessential to the appreciation of all finer things life has to offer. Here are some tips on how wine lovers appreciate their older vintage wine:

  • The “primary” flavors and aromas of a wine when young are usually characterized with food and herb analogies. With age, wine sheds those features and replaces them with tertiary flavors that are far more complex and less easy to describe. That’s why the term “bouquet” is used instead of aromas when describing the smell of older wines.
  • Two components tend to stand out in old wines – oak and acid. These features are not created by age. They’ve always been there since the beginning. They were just masked by the wine’s abundant fruitiness and tannic astringency in youth. In general, the older the wines, the lower should be their serving temperatures. For example, serving a 1970 red wine from Burgundy or Bordeaux at 10-12C is perfectly reasonable.
  • The power and robust personalities of young wine appeal to us in a way that is very different from how elegance, harmony of balance and serenity of older vintage wines mesmerize all our senses.

 

Indeed, the older is a bottle of wine, the higher the risk of it being either over-the-hill or its quality compromised. No one can guarantee the quality of wine inside a sealed bottle or accurately predict exactly when a bottle reaches its optimal prime. Some find this uncertainty a charming aspect of wine that other alcoholic beverages such as beer and hard liquor, reliable and consistently predictable as they certain are, do not offer.

The appreciation of old wines is certainly an acquired taste. But be forewarned that after you have developed a palate for them, you and your wine collection might never be same again.

We at www.YatsWineCellars.com hope that these words serve their purposes of helping you obtain more pleasures from older vintage wines whether you purchased them on us or from other outlets. If you have any questions or comments, please email them to Wine@Yats-International.com.

 
 

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