How do you know a wine will be good years in the future?

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How do you know a wine will be good years in the future?

Post #1  Postby Jan Jaeger (DBA) » October 11th 2016, 7:00pm

Some people have amazing cellars with hundreds and thousands of bottles. How do you figure out what will be good a decade or more down the road? It would be an aweful waste of money to buy a case of expensive wine only to dislike it when it comes of age. Are there ways to discern a young wine will have what you want in 10 years or more?

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Post #2  Postby Ralph George » October 13th 2016, 10:13am

This is a good question, and has kept me from buying much wine. The gamble just isn't worth it unless you have some inside information.
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Post #3  Postby Joe B » October 13th 2016, 10:15am

It's never a waste of money. In ten or twenty years if the wine is not to your taste, you will certainly be able to find a buyer who will find it pleasant to his taste.
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How do you know a wine will be good years in the future?

Post #4  Postby Jan Jaeger (DBA) » October 13th 2016, 8:40pm

Joe B wrote:It's never a waste of money. In ten or twenty years if the wine is not to your taste, you will certainly be able to find a buyer who will find it pleasant to his taste.


Thank you, but that's not exactly the answer to the question.
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Post #5  Postby Brian Tuite » October 14th 2016, 6:39am

Jan Jaeger wrote:
Joe B wrote:It's never a waste of money. In ten or twenty years if the wine is not to your taste, you will certainly be able to find a buyer who will find it pleasant to his taste.


Thank you, but that's not exactly the answer to the question.


The answer is you don't know although many producers have track records showing the ageability of their wines. It's a leap of faith based on past experience with similar wine. A big thing to consider when putting wines away for a while is what your palate preference is. Aged wine has different characteristics from young wine and may or may not be pleasing to your palate when those aromas and flavors are revealed. That's where Joes answer comes into play.

Personally I would rather not wait to find out I have to sell it on the secondary market. Anything beyond 10 years in my cellar is a stretch. Anything older I will source from another one bottle at a time to be safe. Problem there though is provenance. You just don't know the history of that bottle you buy at auction. Some times you win, sometimes you lose, just like cellaring. It's a crap shoot either way. Thing about cellaring is being able to follow the wine every year or two to see how it is progressing, or not. Knowing where the sweet spot is and enjoying then. Sometimes that is in the first few years, other times decades after. Adds to the mystique of wine collecting.
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Post #6  Postby Todd F r e n c h » October 14th 2016, 7:47am

Jan, it's a tough question to answer, frankly, as nobody KNOWS it for certain. It comes from experience, tasting wines that are young and at other times in your life tasting those same producers with some age, realizing what the wine is like later on compared to early on, and seeing what your preference is. For example, you might enjoy a Ridge Monte Bello 5 years after release, then you try one that's 25 years old and you LOVE it, as it's a different wine - that's the type of wine you 'know' ages well, based solely on your own experience and opinion, and that's all that matters in the end.

Also, you can tell, more simply, by a wine that seems really structured or ridiculously oaky - likely the winemaker is intending that wine to age. Many wines now - especially in CA - are made to drink soon, as that's where the majority of the market is. If you drink a Chardonnay that tastes super oaky and seems like it has no fruit, it's made to age. If you drink a Cab that is velvety, super bold fruit, and drinks very well, it's not made to age.
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Post #7  Postby Robert A » November 25th 2016, 8:08pm

I'm a 20 year novice in experimentation of aged wines. I have tried 13 year old home pressings and storage locker hoards of late. The better the wine the more likely it was stored well I have found. My first hoard was from a cooled facility (Bordeaux wines) and my second from a lower level storage locker with decent temp history (Napa, Sonoma,Bordeaux-Sauternes, Napa Sauvignon Blanc). I keep a list of years and vineyards to refer to. 60's and 70's always need 45 minutes to clear. I've tried a paper filter but settle time works perfect. '68 Rotheschilde was Excellent after 45 minutes, clear and flavorful. Not all aged wines will be as tasty as a 3 yo wine each is a lesson and a joy taste.
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Post #8  Postby Eric Ifune » November 26th 2016, 10:26am

Also some wines have a history and reputation for aging. Classed growth Bordeaux for example. German Riesling is another.
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Post #9  Postby Ian Sutton » November 27th 2016, 11:59am

I'll echo the 'track record' comments.

Beyond that, tasting a wine that is structurally (tannin, acid and fruit profile are primary considerations) similar to wines that you know age, can give a good clue.

It's not a science though - or rather science hasn't developed (or can't be bothered to develop!) a formula for the optimal age for a wine, nor the optimal construct for a wine to age. Indeed most efforts seem to be focused on how to make a wine drink well in youth these days, rather than seeking brilliance at maturity.

Even if there is a track record, things can change (see white Burgundy P.Ox. for a most extreme example). Bottle variation / cork issues add to the difficulty. However when old wines are on form, the unique complexity they can offer makes the experience of cellaring (or taking your chances on the secondary market) very much worthwhile. It's not always the grandest of wines that deliver this either. Once you've had such a gem, it's difficult not to pursue the cellaring route.

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Post #10  Postby Glenn L e v i n e » November 27th 2016, 12:44pm

As above I don't think it will be money wasted as it can always be sold off if well stored. Some of my favorite lot purchases are 11 bottles!

I'd work the problem in reverse and buy some aged bottles of different varieties (and good provenance) and see if you like older wine. If the answer is no I'd repeat the experiment in a few years. Maybe aged wine isn't your thing?
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Post #11  Postby Ian Sutton » November 27th 2016, 2:14pm

Glenn L e v i n e wrote:
I'd work the problem in reverse and buy some aged bottles of different varieties (and good provenance) and see if you like older wine. If the answer is no I'd repeat the experiment in a few years. Maybe aged wine isn't your thing?


Indeed this makes sense. I'd bought wine 'to cellar' for a while, but it was a mature Bordeaux that woke me up to properly mature wine.
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How do you know a wine will be good years in the future?

Post #12  Postby Albert_H » December 6th 2016, 3:39am

Lol I hope nobody laughs at me, but I was intending on following robert parkers maturity predictions for most of my wines. I also make sure to keep up with reviews on delectible/ct/vivino to help determine when to drink or how long I should/could age them for.
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Post #13  Postby Ian Sutton » December 6th 2016, 1:14pm

Hi Albert
[rofl.gif]

Only kidding [wink.gif]

Taking a drinking window steer can a useful starting point, particularly when you've no experience in that label ageing. Never treat it as something to follow blindly, but more a general guidance to 'drink that wine before that other one'.

Worth being aware that prime drinking window is very much a personal preference and some will complete drinking a stash of a wine before I reckon it's ready to drink the first bottle. I know many who despair at quoted short drinking windows for Barolo and Burgundy, arguing that the window quoted is the worst time to drink the wines, rather than the best, often encouraging you to start opening them when they start to close down, and drink them all up before they open out into maturity.

Your comment about CT/vivino/delectable is a good one. The critics focus on new releases to a) steal a march on the opposition if possible and b) get their names on shelf-talkers in shops - who aim to sell straight through asap. However these newer media have a greater focus on wine drunk throughout it's life, from youthful promise to feeble senility. That makes them much more relevant than an early view from a critic, tasting the *bottle not long after release. I know Eric at CT makes a lot of effort to weed out 'shill' / fake reviews, and I hope the other two are as diligent (I don't use them, so don't know).

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* Assuming that the winery was honest and sent a representative bottle, not a 'critic's cuvee'. Sadly the latter does occur, occasionally uncovered, but we suspect many get away with it.
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Post #14  Postby Travis_Hull » December 10th 2016, 1:53pm

I often find that sites like cellar tracker way undercall how long a wine will stay in a prime drinking window. There will be comments like "drink it up quickly" for wines just beginning to develop tertiary flavors. But I tend to like aged wines. I'd recommend buying a couple and seeing for yourself if you like them.
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Post #15  Postby Barry Paul Price » February 14th 2017, 11:45pm

Best way to learn is probably to buy a few cases of ageable wine, and begin opening a bottle a year of each one then observing how they evolve. Takes 12 years though.
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Post #16  Postby Michael Martin » February 15th 2017, 6:57am

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Post #17  Postby Ian Sutton » February 15th 2017, 3:56pm

Not a bad 'insight' piece, so I'll cut her some slack for the following comment:
A wine that isn’t complex to begin with won’t become complex with age


Hunter Semillon is a wonderful example where the ageworthy examples are remarkably uncomplex on release, especially compared to some riper / more worked examples that are noticeably more complex on release, but don't age as well. Once these 'simple' semillons reach maturity, they can acquire wonderful complexity.

There are plenty more scenarios where that advice is just plain wrong.

Like I said though, I think it's a reasonable piece, so I'd encourage the interested to read the article and not focus on a single disputed comment.

[EDIT: Oops, I missed this comment in a boxed section, which as written, the bolded section is nonsense
If you live in a place where your home exceeds 70 °F (27 °C), using a wine fridge or underground storage is highly recommended. It’s been shown that fluctuating temperatures will accelerate aging at a rate of 4 times faster than the consistent climate of a cellar.


How much fluctuation? By how many degrees F/C? How measured? Exactly 4 times faster for any amount of fluctuation? It suggests the wine will reach the same point 4 times as fast. This bit needed a bit more proof-reading / editing as the broad comment is reasonable, but the 'science' either very badly worded, or conceivably flawed / made-up ... and no source was quoted ]
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Post #18  Postby NED VALOIS » February 15th 2017, 6:04pm

Must take the bottle on the next "Timeless" trip to the future ! (Or do you need to find a same bottle when visiting the future ?) [swoon.gif]
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Post #19  Postby Michael Martin » February 15th 2017, 6:13pm

Ian Sutton wrote:Not a bad 'insight' piece, so I'll cut her some slack for the following comment:
A wine that isn’t complex to begin with won’t become complex with age


Hunter Semillon is a wonderful example where the ageworthy examples are remarkably uncomplex on release, especially compared to some riper / more worked examples that are noticeably more complex on release, but don't age as well. Once these 'simple' semillons reach maturity, they can acquire wonderful complexity.

There are plenty more scenarios where that advice is just plain wrong.

Like I said though, I think it's a reasonable piece, so I'd encourage the interested to read the article and not focus on a single disputed comment.

[EDIT: Oops, I missed this comment in a boxed section, which as written, the bolded section is nonsense
If you live in a place where your home exceeds 70 °F (27 °C), using a wine fridge or underground storage is highly recommended. It’s been shown that fluctuating temperatures will accelerate aging at a rate of 4 times faster than the consistent climate of a cellar.


How much fluctuation? By how many degrees F/C? How measured? Exactly 4 times faster for any amount of fluctuation? It suggests the wine will reach the same point 4 times as fast. This bit needed a bit more proof-reading / editing as the broad comment is reasonable, but the 'science' either very badly worded, or conceivably flawed / made-up ... and no source was quoted ]

She's a Master Somm, a NYT best selling author and was in "Somm, into the bottle" movie. So she has some street cred already.
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Post #20  Postby Barry Paul Price » February 15th 2017, 9:56pm

NED VALOIS wrote:Must take the bottle on the next "Timeless" trip to the future ! (Or do you need to find a same bottle when visiting the future ?) [swoon.gif]


You know, I'm tempted to start a thread titled "If you had a Time-Machine..." and ask "If you had a time-machine and could travel to ANY year to try ANY wine, WHEN would you travel to and WHAT would you drink?"

For instance, it may be interesting to travel to 1895 and drink an 1870 Margaux. It would be amazing to taste that pre-lhylloxera wine in the context of phylloxera having just finished devastating Bordeaux.
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Post #21  Postby jmckinley » February 16th 2017, 2:10pm

I have the good fortune of being away from my cellar for a couple of years while working overseas so it is trial and error and a fun experiment. I get to pop a few bottles 1-2 times a year and see how they are aging.
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Post #22  Postby Barry Paul Price » February 16th 2017, 2:40pm

What have you observed so far, jm?
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Post #23  Postby Ian Sutton » February 17th 2017, 3:04pm

Michael Martin wrote:
Ian Sutton wrote:Not a bad 'insight' piece, so I'll cut her some slack for the following comment:
A wine that isn’t complex to begin with won’t become complex with age


Hunter Semillon is a wonderful example where the ageworthy examples are remarkably uncomplex on release, especially compared to some riper / more worked examples that are noticeably more complex on release, but don't age as well. Once these 'simple' semillons reach maturity, they can acquire wonderful complexity.

There are plenty more scenarios where that advice is just plain wrong.

Like I said though, I think it's a reasonable piece, so I'd encourage the interested to read the article and not focus on a single disputed comment.

[EDIT: Oops, I missed this comment in a boxed section, which as written, the bolded section is nonsense
If you live in a place where your home exceeds 70 °F (27 °C), using a wine fridge or underground storage is highly recommended. It’s been shown that fluctuating temperatures will accelerate aging at a rate of 4 times faster than the consistent climate of a cellar.


How much fluctuation? By how many degrees F/C? How measured? Exactly 4 times faster for any amount of fluctuation? It suggests the wine will reach the same point 4 times as fast. This bit needed a bit more proof-reading / editing as the broad comment is reasonable, but the 'science' either very badly worded, or conceivably flawed / made-up ... and no source was quoted ]

She's a Master Somm, a NYT best selling author and was in "Somm, into the bottle" movie. So she has some street cred already.


Which cheekily I'd suggest gives less excuse for those comments.
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Post #24  Postby jmckinley » February 17th 2017, 5:39pm

Complete work in progress but, after a few years, I have started to find drinking windows for wines that suit me and my tastes. (100% subjective and where my tastes are at the moment) While my cellar is not large (~120btls and not too widely varied) I have found the following and clearly my tastes lean towards youthful -

CA cabs/syrahs: 8-12+ yrs
CA Zins: 4-6 yrs
Petite sirah: 7-8 yrs
CA Pinots: 5-7yrs (currently working on keeping a few a little longer!!)
Big CA chard: oldest I have had at 7yrs, waiting to try older
Big Aussie Shiraz: 10-15yrs
Hunter Valley Shiraz: 4-5yrs
Hunter Valley Semillon: either 1-2yrs or 8-10yrs
Riojas - 8-10 yrs
Brunellos/Barolo - works in progress
The few aged Bordeaux I have had - 15-25yrs still with youthful edges

Long way to go and a lot more to try!!
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Post #25  Postby Mattstolz » June 27th 2017, 5:40pm

I'm pretty new at this so I'd be happy to be corrected if this is wrong but I can tell you what I've been doing so far. It has seemed to me like as I research that expert's tasting notes tend to be helpful for this. there's a few key words that seem to be important. Wines that are described as well structured or tight tend to age well. Especially when the tannins are well balanced with fruit and theres a little bit of acidity.

also, the type of grape makes a big difference. Cabs tend to age better than tempernillios, for example. also, knowing that a certain producer has a history of wines that age well and its a vintage that was a good one helps!
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Post #26  Postby Ian Sutton » July 2nd 2017, 3:49pm

Hi Matt
This does create a little debate, as there are exceptions of wines that aren't obviously tightly structured that age well, plus some that are that never really achieve good balance, so might even be best drunk in youth. IMO these are the exceptions, so as you say: considering tannins, acidity & depth/style of fruit should serve you well.

How to translate that into a drinking window? The best way is to cheat, by looking back on how other vintages of that have matured and use that as a starting point to increase/reduce based on what you're tasting. Trying to do this without referring back to useful benchmarks (ideally same wine, made in similar style) is very difficult. Indeed best done by thinking of broad brackets e.g. early drinking (say 1-3 years), Medium term (8-12 years), Long cellaring (20-30 years) etc. so rather than guessing at years, you're really just guessing at the category. I know of one pro critic who does this - even with knowledge of back vintages of the wine.

Grape does make a difference, but so does where it's grown and how it was treated in the winery. e.g. Tempranillo from Rioja, given extended oak ageing before bottling, has shown to last/improve over many decades. Other Tempranillo based wines will be made in a lighter style for early drinking. Again, the trick is to cheat and see how previous vintages or at least similar wines age, to gauge how long to cellar.

Good vintages certainly do tend to help ageing, and likewise really poor ones tend to count against it. However a couple of caveats:
- Beware vintage assessments, often covering vast swathes of land / huge numbers of different wineries, using different grapes etc. They can be a crass over-generalisation more often than not.
- Recent years have seen many warm vintages over-rated (IMO), e.g. 1997/2000 in Barolo, but there are examples in plenty of other regions. Again, beware of overgeneralising, as there are plenty of good and likely long-lasting wines from both vintages - but not as much as some critics lauded at the time of their release. Here's a thread that shows how very ripe (or overripe) fruit can change the flavour profile, affecting longevity for many. viewtopic.php?f=1&t=142128

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Post #27  Postby Barry Paul Price » July 9th 2017, 1:46pm

Ian Sutton wrote:Hi Matt
This does create a little debate, as there are exceptions of wines that aren't obviously tightly structured that age well, plus some that are that never really achieve good balance, so might even be best drunk in youth. IMO these are the exceptions, so as you say: considering tannins, acidity & depth/style of fruit should serve you well.

How to translate that into a drinking window? The best way is to cheat, by looking back on how other vintages of that have matured and use that as a starting point to increase/reduce based on what you're tasting. Trying to do this without referring back to useful benchmarks (ideally same wine, made in similar style) is very difficult. Indeed best done by thinking of broad brackets e.g. early drinking (say 1-3 years), Medium term (8-12 years), Long cellaring (20-30 years) etc. so rather than guessing at years, you're really just guessing at the category. I know of one pro critic who does this - even with knowledge of back vintages of the wine.

Grape does make a difference, but so does where it's grown and how it was treated in the winery. e.g. Tempranillo from Rioja, given extended oak ageing before bottling, has shown to last/improve over many decades. Other Tempranillo based wines will be made in a lighter style for early drinking. Again, the trick is to cheat and see how previous vintages or at least similar wines age, to gauge how long to cellar.

Good vintages certainly do tend to help ageing, and likewise really poor ones tend to count against it. However a couple of caveats:
- Beware vintage assessments, often covering vast swathes of land / huge numbers of different wineries, using different grapes etc. They can be a crass over-generalisation more often than not.
- Recent years have seen many warm vintages over-rated (IMO), e.g. 1997/2000 in Barolo, but there are examples in plenty of other regions. Again, beware of overgeneralising, as there are plenty of good and likely long-lasting wines from both vintages - but not as much as some critics lauded at the time of their release. Here's a thread that shows how very ripe (or overripe) fruit can change the flavour profile, affecting longevity for many. viewtopic.php?f=1&t=142128

regards
Ian


Great post Ian! Very informative! There are lots of interesting things in there to consider. One thing I continue to be fascinated by is how much influence oak has on wine, and how under-discussed oak is as a topic. Not just 'too m uch' or 'too little'... but American v French v Hungarian, toast level, cooperage, size of barrel (wine to wood ratio), length in oak, new vs neutral... and custom toasted barrels made to suit the profiles of certain winemakers. I'd love to understand how much of what I am tasting comes from decisions about the wood, not the grapes.
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Post #28  Postby Ian Sutton » July 9th 2017, 4:31pm

Fair comment Barry. Many of us have our 'oak nazi' moments, where we whine about heavy handed use of oak.

However yes oak is typically a key element in wines destined for ageing and not just for 'flavouring'.

I wonder whether it might be good to post what you wrote above (from 'One thing...' onwards) as a new thread on the main forum? Also useful to ask what role oak has in ensuring longevity/stability, and what is done to the oak between usage & how much this varies (and why). Use of oak for fermentation, as against the usual Stainless Steel might also be of interest.

I think it could be quite a useful thread if we move on from the normal 'I hate too much American oak' etc. feelings.

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Post #29  Postby Barry Paul Price » July 10th 2017, 5:40pm

Ian Sutton wrote:Fair comment Barry. Many of us have our 'oak nazi' moments, where we whine about heavy handed use of oak.

However yes oak is typically a key element in wines destined for ageing and not just for 'flavouring'.

I wonder whether it might be good to post what you wrote above (from 'One thing...' onwards) as a new thread on the main forum? Also useful to ask what role oak has in ensuring longevity/stability, and what is done to the oak between usage & how much this varies (and why). Use of oak for fermentation, as against the usual Stainless Steel might also be of interest.

I think it could be quite a useful thread if we move on from the normal 'I hate too much American oak' etc. feelings.

regards
Ian


To be honest, I am afraid it would devolve into the same old, simplistic argument you mention above. I feel like we get more considered responses in this forum. That said, we don't have nearly the same foot traffic in here.
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Post #30  Postby Ian Sutton » July 10th 2017, 6:44pm

Fair comment!
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Post #31  Postby Mike Francisco » July 20th 2017, 7:34am

I would also add if you are starting a cellar not to go overboard early on, for two reasons;

1 You want a flow to your cellar, by that I mean wines at differing points along the aging timeline.

2 Your tastes will change over time and what you like now may not be what you are into then, we all have a few orphans in our cellars.
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How do you know a wine will be good years in the future?

Post #32  Postby Francois Sauve » August 12th 2017, 3:59pm

Mike Francisco wrote:
Your tastes will change over time and what you like now may not be what you are into then, we all have a few orphans in our cellars.


So true! Realizing this was happening to me 10-15 years ago, I started purchasing wines that I did not particularly like with the expectation that I would ultimately gravitate towards them. Perhaps this is an advice to be taken with a grain of salt but I guess the underlying message would be "dare to diversify".

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How do you know a wine will be good years in the future?

Post #33  Postby Mark Y » August 12th 2017, 4:02pm

Why not simply just taste?

Taste a 8/15/25 year old leoville lascases and u can figure out if u like it? Repeat for any wine u are thinking of stocking up on?
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How do you know a wine will be good years in the future?

Post #34  Postby Lex S » September 6th 2017, 2:54pm

Todd F r e n c h wrote:Jan, it's a tough question to answer, frankly, as nobody KNOWS it for certain. It comes from experience, tasting wines that are young and at other times in your life tasting those same producers with some age, realizing what the wine is like later on compared to early on, and seeing what your preference is. For example, you might enjoy a Ridge Monte Bello 5 years after release, then you try one that's 25 years old and you LOVE it, as it's a different wine - that's the type of wine you 'know' ages well, based solely on your own experience and opinion, and that's all that matters in the end.

Also, you can tell, more simply, by a wine that seems really structured or ridiculously oaky - likely the winemaker is intending that wine to age. Many wines now - especially in CA - are made to drink soon, as that's where the majority of the market is. If you drink a Chardonnay that tastes super oaky and seems like it has no fruit, it's made to age. If you drink a Cab that is velvety, super bold fruit, and drinks very well, it's not made to age.


Thanks Todd, this has always been an area of confusion for me too, so I appreciate your insight. I used to think that only certain varietals could age well, like a Cabernet or Pinot, but that a Merlot could not. Now I understand it's not the varietal so much as it is how the winemaker grows, ferments and ages it. It's still a learning process for me!
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How do you know a wine will be good years in the future?

Post #35  Postby Steve Slatcher » September 7th 2017, 7:25am

Michael Martin wrote:She's a Master Somm, a NYT best selling author and was in "Somm, into the bottle" movie. So she has some street cred already.

The Somm exams in order of difficulty are: Introductory, Certified, Advanced and Master. And Madeline Puckette claims on her website to be a CERTIFIED Sommelier. She may have street cred in some circles, but has a way to go in terms of formal wine education.
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How do you know a wine will be good years in the future?

Post #36  Postby Mike Francisco » September 7th 2017, 8:11am

Lex S wrote:
Todd F r e n c h wrote:Jan, it's a tough question to answer, frankly, as nobody KNOWS it for certain. It comes from experience, tasting wines that are young and at other times in your life tasting those same producers with some age, realizing what the wine is like later on compared to early on, and seeing what your preference is. For example, you might enjoy a Ridge Monte Bello 5 years after release, then you try one that's 25 years old and you LOVE it, as it's a different wine - that's the type of wine you 'know' ages well, based solely on your own experience and opinion, and that's all that matters in the end.

Also, you can tell, more simply, by a wine that seems really structured or ridiculously oaky - likely the winemaker is intending that wine to age. Many wines now - especially in CA - are made to drink soon, as that's where the majority of the market is. If you drink a Chardonnay that tastes super oaky and seems like it has no fruit, it's made to age. If you drink a Cab that is velvety, super bold fruit, and drinks very well, it's not made to age.


Thanks Todd, this has always been an area of confusion for me too, so I appreciate your insight. I used to think that only certain varietals could age well, like a Cabernet or Pinot, but that a Merlot could not. Now I understand it's not the varietal so much as it is how the winemaker grows, ferments and ages it. It's still a learning process for me!


Just to be clear the grape variety does matter, some grapes have more natural ability for aging then others. Wines need structure to age well, that structure comes from tannin or acid or best is a nice combo of both. These natural preservative can come off harsh and unattractive in very young wines, so the modern wine industry though, vineyard management, pick times and winemaking have learned how to reduce these factors to make the wine more pleasant on release.

So what this boils down to is you can take the structure away but you can't add it if it wasn't there to begin with. I know it makes this more complicated but that's wine. [cheers.gif]
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How do you know a wine will be good years in the future?

Post #37  Postby Lex S » September 7th 2017, 4:42pm

Mike Francisco wrote:
Lex S wrote:
Todd F r e n c h wrote:Jan, it's a tough question to answer, frankly, as nobody KNOWS it for certain. It comes from experience, tasting wines that are young and at other times in your life tasting those same producers with some age, realizing what the wine is like later on compared to early on, and seeing what your preference is. For example, you might enjoy a Ridge Monte Bello 5 years after release, then you try one that's 25 years old and you LOVE it, as it's a different wine - that's the type of wine you 'know' ages well, based solely on your own experience and opinion, and that's all that matters in the end.

Also, you can tell, more simply, by a wine that seems really structured or ridiculously oaky - likely the winemaker is intending that wine to age. Many wines now - especially in CA - are made to drink soon, as that's where the majority of the market is. If you drink a Chardonnay that tastes super oaky and seems like it has no fruit, it's made to age. If you drink a Cab that is velvety, super bold fruit, and drinks very well, it's not made to age.


Thanks Todd, this has always been an area of confusion for me too, so I appreciate your insight. I used to think that only certain varietals could age well, like a Cabernet or Pinot, but that a Merlot could not. Now I understand it's not the varietal so much as it is how the winemaker grows, ferments and ages it. It's still a learning process for me!


Just to be clear the grape variety does matter, some grapes have more natural ability for aging then others. Wines need structure to age well, that structure comes from tannin or acid or best is a nice combo of both. These natural preservative can come off harsh and unattractive in very young wines, so the modern wine industry though, vineyard management, pick times and winemaking have learned how to reduce these factors to make the wine more pleasant on release.

So what this boils down to is you can take the structure away but you can't add it if it wasn't there to begin with. I know it makes this more complicated but that's wine. [cheers.gif]


Thank you very much, Mike Francisco! The details fascinate me, even if it does make it a little more complicated to understand. I wonder if there is a scale that illustrates which grapes have a greater capacity for structure and which ones not so much. Are there any other factors besides tannin and acid that are significant for aging to improve a wine? Thanks again for breaking that down!
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How do you know a wine will be good years in the future?

Post #38  Postby Peter Papay » September 7th 2017, 6:50pm

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How do you know a wine will be good years in the future?

Post #39  Postby Lex S » September 8th 2017, 11:02am

Peter Papay wrote:Maybe this helps

http://winefolly.com/tutorial/cellar-wine-guide/


Thanks Peter Papay! I'm going to remember that link - very helpful!
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How do you know a wine will be good years in the future?

Post #40  Postby Mike Francisco » September 9th 2017, 12:31pm

Lex S wrote:Thank you very much, Mike Francisco! The details fascinate me, even if it does make it a little more complicated to understand. I wonder if there is a scale that illustrates which grapes have a greater capacity for structure and which ones not so much. Are there any other factors besides tannin and acid that are significant for aging to improve a wine? Thanks again for breaking that down!


Lex,
I am sure there are books out there that try and Illustrates the tendencies of different verities of wine grapes, others may have good suggestions on that. As to other factors that help wines age I am sure there are many, for one sugar in very sweet wines can take the place of tannin or just be part of the mix in things like Vintage Port. So sadly the simpler the answer, the less accurate the answer.

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