Hacks for evaluating current release wine

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bmckenney
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Hacks for evaluating current release wine

#1 Post by bmckenney » March 24th, 2020, 7:57 pm

Quality wine is hard for me to evaluate when young. Worst case I'll misjudge a wine and either buy when I shouldn't or not buy when I should. I've found quality wine shows great early when I buy and ages great and that's a winner. But sometimes its the opposite. I mostly buy multiple bottles of a wine.

Massive amounts of experience is the ultimate tool but I'm not even close. And for the most part all the benchmark wines I've bought are winners. Its more the new, unknown wines, that are hard to judge. Quality wines that will really evolve to be much different with some bottle age are not easy to figure out at first. Besides drinking a glass per day over 4 days, is there any other hacks?

BTW I do not have access to back vintages.
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Re: Hacks for evaluating current release wine

#2 Post by Nathan Smyth » March 24th, 2020, 8:27 pm

bmckenney wrote:
March 24th, 2020, 7:57 pm
Besides drinking a glass per day over 4 days, is there any other hacks?
I'm a big fan of studying the oxidation curve, although there are a substantial number of WBers who think it's a complete waste of time.

I'd also study the cork - keep pushing it in & pulling it back out as long as you're studying the wine - see whether it's a nice tight fit [or whether the cork slides in just a little too easily] - and also watch how quickly the cork crumbles and falls apart on you.

For [ostensibly] dry whites, if they show any residual sugar after the initial spoofulation wears off, then they're immediately disqualified.

And these days, most reds I encounter just don't seem to be built for the long haul - they've got way too much residual sugar and only the tiniest fraction of the tannin backbone they ought to have. [For Cabernet, I'd be steering clear of sweet purple/black fruit, and keying in on wines with a strong green streak & loamy brown synesthesia & enough tannins to pucker up your mouth as though you'd been sucking on a lemon.]

Also, be sure to do your sampling at dinner time, so you'll know with certainty whether or not you're tasting an excellent food wine.

Beyond, that, just trust your own judgement & instincts & preferences: If you study a table wine for an extended period of time, and decide that it tastes great to you [and matches really well with the food you eat at home], then to heck with what anybody else thinks of it.

PS: We usually try to push the sampling of table wine candidates out towards a full week [we put them back in the kitchen refrigerator overnight, down around 38F], and anything which starts smelling skanky in under a week is simply not going to make the cut.

For what I consider to be cellarable table wines, skanky better not be rearing its ugly head until out towards 10-day or 2-week mark.

PPS: You probably don't get heat damaged wine up in Canada, but any young recently released wine, which seems tired or limp or suffering from the blues, is also gonna be jettisoned - I don't care how big of a score the critics gave it - a young, recently released wine needs to have plenty of verve & tenacity & a relentlessly positive upbeat attitude about it.

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Re: Hacks for evaluating current release wine

#3 Post by bmckenney » March 24th, 2020, 9:36 pm

Nathan Smyth wrote:
March 24th, 2020, 8:27 pm
I'm a big fan of ....putting a wine thru the paces.
Great stuff Nathan.

I have taken the cork casually in the past so thats a new one. The cork doesn't factor in early on, but it does for the long haul. Food is always 100% part of the equation. Drinking duration of 1-2 days on avg but 4 or more on occasion. Its no coincidence that I'm finishing off a 1 week old 2004 Faurie Hermitage tonight. TBH this wine never made the cut day 1. It certainly evolved with oxidization and lost some of the edge I didnt like at first, but it is/was, at best an interesting St Joe syrah. Thanks for sharing your hacks and advice on approach.
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Re: Hacks for evaluating current release wine

#4 Post by Markus S » March 25th, 2020, 7:20 am

Sometimes there are no "hacks" for life, you got to put in the hard work. [training.gif]
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Re: Hacks for evaluating current release wine

#5 Post by Nathan Smyth » March 25th, 2020, 10:56 am

Markus S wrote:
March 25th, 2020, 7:20 am
Sometimes there are no "hacks" for life, you got to put in the hard work. [training.gif]
Which includes being at peace with having been wildly off base in your predictions of a wine's future.

One thing which fascinates me is how table wines can "drop fruit", and lose their color, and throw a ton of sediment, yet still be outstanding drinks just a few years later - you simply have to change gears & deploy those wines [in their new states] for entirely different purposes.

For instance, in powerful vintages, Jacques Puffeney used to make a Poulsard "M", which was a burly intransigent fruit bomb upon first release [ideal for wintertime accompaniment to a hot juicy steak], but which, a few years later, would drop all of its fruit, and thereafter need to be served chilled, as an exceptionally elegant summertime rose, accompanying cold cuts in an outdoors setting [such as a veranda or a picnic on a blanket].

Right now we're working through cases of a 2011 Pinotage and a 2016 Merlot which have been undergoing fascinating transformations in just the first year since we were introduced to them.

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Re: Hacks for evaluating current release wine

#6 Post by Patrick T a y l o r » March 25th, 2020, 12:15 pm

bmckenney wrote:
March 24th, 2020, 7:57 pm
...I mostly buy multiple bottles of a wine.

...BTW I do not have access to back vintages.
I'm in the same boat. I tend to buy multiple bottles and have very few back vintages.

While not a tactile hack, I use Cellartracker to research unfamiliar wines and producers. It has saved me from purchasing wines that are either not very good, are from a poor vintage, or do not align with my tastes. When I find a producer I like, I tend to repurchase.

The risk to this approach is that I'm less likely to try new things. That's where wine boards like this come in, as well as my local wine tasting group.
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Re: Hacks for evaluating current release wine

#7 Post by GregT » March 25th, 2020, 1:28 pm

bmckenney wrote:
March 24th, 2020, 7:57 pm
Quality wine is hard for me to evaluate when young. Worst case I'll misjudge a wine and either buy when I shouldn't or not buy when I should. I've found quality wine shows great early when I buy and ages great and that's a winner. But sometimes its the opposite. I mostly buy multiple bottles of a wine.

Massive amounts of experience is the ultimate tool but I'm not even close. And for the most part all the benchmark wines I've bought are winners. Its more the new, unknown wines, that are hard to judge. Quality wines that will really evolve to be much different with some bottle age are not easy to figure out at first. Besides drinking a glass per day over 4 days, is there any other hacks?

BTW I do not have access to back vintages.
There are no "hacks". Looking at a wine over a few days doesn't tell you anything about what it's going to age like, or if it will age. And nobody can predict the future. If you're looking at a wine with no history at all, the best approach is looking at the wine maker, the vineyard, the grapes, the vintage, etc. And then you make a best guess. And remember it's only a guess.
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Re: Hacks for evaluating current release wine

#8 Post by David Glasser » March 25th, 2020, 3:13 pm

Another option is to ask for advice from people who like the same wines you like and have more experience. Still no guarantee but might improve your odds.

Ultimately I agree with Greg: winemaker, vineyard, variety, vintage are all clues. But only clues.

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Re: Hacks for evaluating current release wine

#9 Post by bmckenney » March 25th, 2020, 4:13 pm

Patrick T a y l o r wrote:
March 25th, 2020, 12:15 pm

While not a tactile hack, I use Cellartracker to research unfamiliar wines and producers. It has saved me from purchasing wines that are either not very good, are from a poor vintage, or do not align with my tastes. When I find a producer I like, I tend to repurchase.

The risk to this approach is that I'm less likely to try new things. That's where wine boards like this come in, as well as my local wine tasting group.
Me as well. I read about Produtturi Barbaresco from WB and loved the first normale I tasted. Once I got in to it I used CT to explore crus and vintages. Now most of my inventory on CT is the Produtturi. But this is just a research/exploration approach, not a evaluation tasting hack. But combine both research and extensive tasting, good results happen.
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Re: Hacks for evaluating current release wine

#10 Post by bmckenney » March 25th, 2020, 4:15 pm

GregT wrote:
March 25th, 2020, 1:28 pm
There are no "hacks". Looking at a wine over a few days doesn't tell you anything about what it's going to age like, or if it will age. And nobody can predict the future. If you're looking at a wine with no history at all, the best approach is looking at the wine maker, the vineyard, the grapes, the vintage, etc. And then you make a best guess. And remember it's only a guess.
That is surprising to read. I don't agree you cant eval a wines future early on, but might one day I'll change my mind.
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Re: Hacks for evaluating current release wine

#11 Post by GregT » March 25th, 2020, 5:07 pm

After a few decades, I can't. One of the world's greatest wine makers, a guy named Mariano Garcia, who for decades has made wine that ages for decades, wouldn't predict the evolution of one of his wines when I asked him. He had hopes, not predictions. Evolution Maybe you'll discover something the rest of us don't know. I hope you do. No joke - that would be a brilliant contribution to the world of wine. And changes over a few days has nothing to do with ageability.
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Re: Hacks for evaluating current release wine

#12 Post by Will Vetzi » March 25th, 2020, 5:07 pm

The premise of this thread seems to imply that aged wine tastes superior to young wine. For me, if it's delicious while young, I have no issue with buying, opening, and drinking it regularly, and will usually relegate only a couple of bottles to age mostly for purposes of education and curiosity.

Otherwise, I have to agree with Greg. Following a wine over the course of days is of little utility, and any longer than 3-4 days speaks more to self-restraint than any insight to an aging curve. See the number of vintages that are reviewed and rated as stellar while young but are rendered undrinkable with age, versus vintages that are panned in their youth but produce startling wines with age. It's a crapshoot, but ultimately one that can be helpfully informed by winemaker, vineyard, variety, etc.

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Re: Hacks for evaluating current release wine

#13 Post by Dan Kravitz » March 25th, 2020, 6:30 pm

I don't use the glass a day for four days.

My basic technique for Bordeaux or other reds based on Atlantic varietals is to pull the cork, drink an ounce, and revisit 24 hours later, finishing the bottle over the course of an evening. The second taste show some of the potential development, IMO most of the rest expresses itself over the next ~4 hours.

Discovered this in early 1973 when Myron bequeathed me a case of 1970 Bordeaux 2nds as he moved to Alaska, cautioning me not to touch them for 10 years. 10 hours later, I pulled a cork, gagged down a glass and wondered what was wrong. Left the bottle open on the kitchen counter of the group house, it was still there the next evening. And it was magical. I think this works for any high level Cab or Merlot based wine.

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Re: Hacks for evaluating current release wine

#14 Post by bmckenney » March 25th, 2020, 6:41 pm

Will Vetzi wrote:
March 25th, 2020, 5:07 pm
The premise of this thread seems to imply that aged wine tastes superior to young wine. For me, if it's delicious while young, I have no issue with buying, opening, and drinking it regularly, and will usually relegate only a couple of bottles to age mostly for purposes of education and curiosity.
Is that how you think or feel across the board of all wine you drink? I have had some wine decline with age and I regret not drinking earlier. Some wine does taste great when young and then may improve more or decline with time. The premise was not that all wine tastes better with age. Some of my wine does not age well and is more enjoyable when young. And some does taste so much better with 10 years or more on it and is undrinkable young.

One thing for sure is you can't hack a newly released wine tasting experience to mimic what it will be like in 10 years. The evolution of secondary and tertiary characteristics can't be fast tracked. And it looks like you can't evaluate how long a wine will live for by drinking a new release over 4 days. It will oxidize and change but it won't tell you much I guess. I'll just go back to using known drinking windows and my own experience. Oh wait, Dan Kravitz just posted something that has me rethinking things again!
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Re: Hacks for evaluating current release wine

#15 Post by bmckenney » March 25th, 2020, 6:42 pm

bmckenney wrote:
March 25th, 2020, 6:41 pm
Will Vetzi wrote:
March 25th, 2020, 5:07 pm
The premise of this thread seems to imply that aged wine tastes superior to young wine. For me, if it's delicious while young, I have no issue with buying, opening, and drinking it regularly, and will usually relegate only a couple of bottles to age mostly for purposes of education and curiosity.
Is that how you think or feel across the board of all wine you drink? I have had some wine decline with age and I regret not drinking earlier. Some wine does taste great when young and then may improve more or decline with time. The premise was not that all wine tastes better with age. Some of my wine does not age well and is more enjoyable when young. And some does taste so much better with 10 years or more on it and is undrinkable young.

More than not people are stating you can't hack a newly released wine tasting experience to mimic what it will be like in 10 years. The evolution of secondary and tertiary characteristics can't be fast tracked. And it looks like you can't evaluate how long a wine will live for by drinking a new release over 4 days. It will oxidize and change but it won't tell you much I guess. I'll just go back to using known drinking windows and my own experience. Oh wait, Dan Kravitz just posted something that has me rethinking things again!
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Re: Hacks for evaluating current release wine

#16 Post by Dan Kravitz » March 25th, 2020, 7:22 pm

to Will Vetzi,

I like young wines, especially if they are not impenetrably tannic. But most of my greatest wine experiences have been wines with secondary characteristics, a subtlety and length that simply does not happen any other way. Of course I'm old, but I noticed this when I was young and my tastes have not changed much. I still buy Bordeaux futures if I think them worth it and if I can afford them. If I don't live to drink them, other people will. The last vintages I bought in any quantity were 2000 and 2005; some of them are starting to show well and I'll wait on most of them. I own some 2015s and 2016s, mostly at the high Cru Bourgeois and basic GCC level, but except for entry-level wines, I do not plan to open them any time soon.

In the mid-70's I enjoyed a half gallon (jug handle, screw cap) of Foppiano Petite Sirah so much that I bought a case to lay down for 10 years. It evolved from fine to spectacular, I drank the six half gallons ten years later, over less than a month, inviting everybody I knew who liked wine over to enjoy them. Of course YMMV, and I am not much of a fan of tertiary character, when too often something that was great just tastes old.

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Re: Hacks for evaluating current release wine

#17 Post by Nathan Smyth » March 25th, 2020, 10:43 pm

Again, in my experience, if a young wine goes skanky on you within a week, then it is not built for the ages.

Similarly, if, after a few days, when all the spoofulation wears off, you're staring down a substantially different [i.e. worse] drink than what you had encountered upon first opening, then buyer beware.

If a young wine does not have a [core] strength of character which it can retain for a full week, then I would not be cellaring it.

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Re: Hacks for evaluating current release wine

#18 Post by William Kelley » March 26th, 2020, 2:21 am

Of course, balance is to some extent in the eye of the beholder, but that has to be the single most important factor for extended aging.

The other point is not to underestimate recently bottled wines that are tightly wound and a bit shy. I remember tasting some of Olivier Lamy's wines from barrel as a student and thinking that they were a bit timid and lacking a bit of stuffing: those same vintages today are singing, and I am fortunate that I have been able to purchase some subsequently to remedy my former mistake. I now regard the qualities I found hard to read in Lamy's wines as a student as positive attributes that I actively seek out in young white Burgundies built for the cellar.

A concomitant point is that demonstrative, immediate and front-loaded wines, especially if they are all about sweet, sun-kissed fruit, can very quickly crash and burn in a few years. I'm thinking of a lot of recent Southern Rhône wines, many 2015 Beaujolais, plenty of California Cabernet and Pinot Noir.

At least in the context of classic French wine regions, it's clearly a mistake to think that wines need to taste actively nasty when they're young; but equally, the notion that great wines have to be great to drink immediately doesn't convince me. If coarse, mouth-puckering tannins are undesirable, a little structural asperity is no bad thing in a wine that will gain in complexity over the course of 50 years; nor is a firm spine of acidity. I would be much more wary of fat, unctuous, sweet fruit underpinned by no discernible structure than I would a bit of grip and cut.
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Re: Hacks for evaluating current release wine

#19 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » March 26th, 2020, 3:41 am

William Kelley wrote:
March 26th, 2020, 2:21 am

A concomitant point is that demonstrative, immediate and front-loaded wines, especially if they are all about sweet, sun-kissed fruit, can very quickly crash and burn in a few years. I'm thinking of a lot of recent Southern Rhône wines, many 2015 Beaujolais, plenty of California Cabernet and Pinot Noir.
You neglected to mention the modern, consultant-driven Bordeaux, especially almost the entire lot from St Em.

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Re: Hacks for evaluating current release wine

#20 Post by Ian Sutton » March 26th, 2020, 4:15 am

Best hack - a proven track record. It's far easier to predict future greatness, if the previous releases showed this.

Even if you've not tasted that label (or indeed neither have others because it's a new label) comparisons are very useful. e.g. taste a Hunter Valley Semillon and find it's somewhat neutral and acidic... and those that know the wines will feel rather more optimistic than if it were complex and delicious already.

Without that track record (or if the producer drastically changes approach, or if the vintage is significantly atypical), then it's much harder.
It's certainly important to consider structure e.g. acidity, tannins, but also think about the rest of the texture / mouthfeel. Conversely wines that seem to lack acidity would be a concern for ageing.

The less I have to go on, the less confidence I place in predictions e.g. where I've little else to go on, I'm simply looking to decide short, medium, or long term cellaring. Not attempting to put a tight drinking window on it.
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Re: Hacks for evaluating current release wine

#21 Post by dougwilder » March 26th, 2020, 4:34 am

There are several ways to slice and dice what matters among new release wines. My best advice is find a dependable bottle shop (hopefully with > 500 selections) where you can strike a rapport with one of the staff. Tell them what you are looking for; slutty malo chardonnay, Spanish Garnacha or First-growth BDX. Beyond that, consider this - be open to discovering the new stuff. Having worked in high-end retail, we bought heavily and sold out of wines before they were rated which built credibility. A good shop will help you navigate better than a sommelier or a critic simply because they are more accessible and have committed to having it on their shelf. Enjoyment of wine relies on consuming it within its optimal bandwidth which may be NOW, or 40 years hence. There are no clever hacks that I have come across over four decades in the business. You can read stats and tables all day and learn nothing about what you like. You will experience wines you don't like but ultimately you build a map of where a wine falls in to your plans, it doesn't need to mesh with any other person on the planet. There is always something new. You will hopefully be able to identify the sprinters apart from the marathoners. Be prepared to fail, you learn nothing from winning every day..
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Re: Hacks for evaluating current release wine

#22 Post by William Kelley » March 26th, 2020, 5:30 am

Ian Sutton wrote:
March 26th, 2020, 4:15 am
Best hack - a proven track record. It's far easier to predict future greatness, if the previous releases showed this.
The caveat here is that it's only true if there is some sort of meaningful continuity in winemaking practices. It would be easy to think of plenty of producers in France where the label, vineyards and grape varieties are the same, but where almost everything else has changed. In such circumstances, having formerly produced age-worthy wines is no guarantee of new releases' longevity.
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Re: Hacks for evaluating current release wine

#23 Post by Howard Cooper » March 26th, 2020, 5:45 am

William Kelley wrote:
March 26th, 2020, 5:30 am
Ian Sutton wrote:
March 26th, 2020, 4:15 am
Best hack - a proven track record. It's far easier to predict future greatness, if the previous releases showed this.
The caveat here is that it's only true if there is some sort of meaningful continuity in winemaking practices. It would be easy to think of plenty of producers in France where the label, vineyards and grape varieties are the same, but where almost everything else has changed. In such circumstances, having formerly produced age-worthy wines is no guarantee of new releases' longevity.
I agree on both points. I cannot think of a hack that works better than tract record. But, you have to make sure the winemaker has not changed, they haven't hired Rolland, etc. For example, I would not really consider the track record of Figeac anymore because they changed a lot a few years ago. Wine may still age great, but I don't consider them to have a track record anymore.

As much as anywhere, I think track record applies in California Cabernet, again with the same caveat. Certainly, wineries like Ridge (although with the caveat that a new generation has taken over the winemaking to a good extent), Chateau Montelena, Mount Eden, Dunn, Forman, Dominus, and a number of others are wineries with a proven track record for making wines that age well and for a very long time. One that I have taken a chance on over the last few years have been Cabernet from Stony Hill based on the long aging ability of their Chardonnays.
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Re: Hacks for evaluating current release wine

#24 Post by Markus S » March 26th, 2020, 6:01 am

Dan Kravitz wrote:
March 25th, 2020, 6:30 pm
... other reds based on Atlantic varietals...
This is an interesting concept. So syrah would Not be an 'Atlantic varietal' but mencia would be? What about Listán negro, as it is grown surrounded by the Atlantic ocean? And I'm assuming anything grown near the Mediterranean Sea would also Not be included in your matrix?
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Re: Hacks for evaluating current release wine

#25 Post by Bdklein » March 26th, 2020, 6:09 am

Ask Jay and see what he says .
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Re: Hacks for evaluating current release wine

#26 Post by Dan Kravitz » March 26th, 2020, 7:54 am

Markus,

I use 'Atlantic varietals' as shorthand for the red Bordeaux grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet France, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Carmenere. With Bierzo 150 miles from the Atlantic (Ribeira Sacra and Valdeorras are a little closer), I don't think I would call Mencia an 'Atlantic' grape. Syrah definitely not. I won't speak to Listan negro, as I've never heard of it. But I find some Portuguese reds from indigenous varieties grown near the Atlantic seem to have at least something at least tangentially in common with the Bordeaux grapes.

Please don't take any of this as hard and fast dicta.

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Re: Hacks for evaluating current release wine

#27 Post by bmckenney » March 26th, 2020, 9:24 am

What gets me is how professional tasters can foresee the future of a wine that on release is tight, tannic, acidic etc. I opened a 2016 Barbaresco last night that is light to medium bodied, lots of tannin and very acidic with underlying powerful sweet red fruit and some noticeable oak. And this morning it is the same. I'd give this wine a low score for how it drinks right now, but I suspect this wine will be great in 10 years and who knows how long it will remain great before it declines. But a professional reviewer raves about this wine and gave it a 94. I'd give it around an 88 right now. But the reviewer gives it a high rating AND speaks about how great the wine is right now, but to me it isn't great, yet.
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Re: Hacks for evaluating current release wine

#28 Post by John Morris » March 26th, 2020, 9:46 am

bmckenney wrote:
March 26th, 2020, 9:24 am
What gets me is how professional tasters can foresee the future of a wine that on release is tight, tannic, acidic etc. I opened a 2016 Barbaresco last night that is light to medium bodied, lots of tannin and very acidic with underlying powerful sweet red fruit and some noticeable oak. And this morning it is the same. I'd give this wine a low score for how it drinks right now, but I suspect this wine will be great in 10 years and who knows how long it will remain great before it declines. But a professional reviewer raves about this wine and gave it a 94. I'd give it around an 88 right now. But the reviewer gives it a high rating AND speaks about how great the wine is right now, but to me it isn't great, yet.
Who was the reviewer? There are few published scores below the low 90s now, so 94 is almost in the 'meh' category. Your score might be more realistic.

Nebbiolo is particularly hard to taste young because it has such high tannin AND acid levels. That's where experience comes in. And, even then, these wines can fool you. The same young nebbiolo can taste good one day and lousy the next -- probably because the tannins and acids are so high. It's a lot easier to judge with food (meat, or rich sauces), I find, because that counteracts both tannin and acid.

In judging young wines -- nebbiolo included -- what I look for is some combination of (a) correct aromas, (b) decent but not over- or underripe fruit, (c) sufficient concentration of fruit to balance the tannins and acids, (d) alcohol that isn't too conspicuous. I'm suspicious of wines in a category that is known for aging (e.g., classified Bordeaux, Northern Rhone, nebbiolo) if they're too accessible young. (In the case of nebbiolo, I'm leery of wines that show oak young. Too often it never integrates, and it can add wood tannins, which can be extra harsh.)

All of those criteria I apply based on decades of tasting, I'm afraid.

If you really want to pursue this, you should try to taste with other people who have more experience over some stretch of time -- 10, 15 years or more. You can learn a lot about wine by tasting widely on your own, but at some point you hit a limit, and assessing young wines is a case in point. If you can taste young wines with knowledgeable people, you'll get a sense of which wines they think have the most potential in the long term.

A case in point: There's someone in a wine group of mine who's in his 30s. He's extremely knowledgeable, drinks lots of different wines (including old ones he's bought on the secondary market), and is a good, critical taster who picks up on lots of nuances. But he consistently disses young reds (e.g., Northern Rhones, Burgundies, nebbiolo) that are very tannic and acidic. I don't think he has much experience tasting the same wines young, when they're tough, and seeing them evolve into something beautiful. I'm a lot older and often rank very highly (for potential) the wines he disses.

Am I always right? Absolutely not. But I've aged enough wine that I bought on release based on my gut sense of its potential to have a fair deal of confidence in my instincts. I've been right more than I've been wrong. I don't think he's been serious about wine long enough to have bought many wines on release and sampled them over time.
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Re: Hacks for evaluating current release wine

#29 Post by bmckenney » March 26th, 2020, 10:20 am

John Morris wrote:
March 26th, 2020, 9:46 am

Who was the reviewer? There are few published scores below the low 90s now, so 94 is almost in the 'meh' category. Your score might be more realistic.
Thoughtful post John. I like what you said about how nebbiola is a hard varietal to judge when young (esp barbersco barolo but not necessarily Langhe) and you look for markers to be there when judging on release. I've only been collecting and storing whine for 10 years now so I'm just now getting to gain experience in how aged wine evolves in to something so fantastic, but was so tight on release. I love it.
Michael Franz. Winereviewonline.com.
I like his reviews from what I've read so far. Seems to know a lot of Piedmont wine. Doesn't seem to be a point whore suckup. Produttori Barbaresco normale scores in the high 80's low 90's which seems honest to me.
The wine in question is Giuseppe Nada (Barbaresco) “Casot” 2016

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Re: Hacks for evaluating current release wine

#30 Post by William Kelley » March 26th, 2020, 10:30 am

Btw, when I first read the subject line of this thread, I assumed it was a derogatory reference to wine writers.
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Re: Hacks for evaluating current release wine

#31 Post by bmckenney » March 26th, 2020, 10:43 am

bmckenney wrote:
March 26th, 2020, 10:20 am
John Morris wrote:
March 26th, 2020, 9:46 am

Who was the reviewer? There are few published scores below the low 90s now, so 94 is almost in the 'meh' category. Your score might be more realistic.
Thoughtful post John. I like what you said about how nebbiolo is a hard varietal to judge when young (esp barbersco barolo but not necessarily Langhe) and you look for markers to be there when judging on release. I've only been collecting and storing whine for 10 years now so I'm just now getting to gain experience in how aged wine evolves in to something so fantastic, but was so tight on release. I love it.
Michael Franz. Winereviewonline.com.
I like his reviews from what I've read so far. Seems to know a lot of Piedmont wine. Doesn't seem to be a point whore suckup. Produttori Barbaresco normale scores in the high 80's low 90's which seems honest to me.
The wine in question is Giuseppe Nada (Barbaresco) “Casot” 2016

Bryan

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Re: Hacks for evaluating current release wine

#32 Post by Chris Seiber » March 26th, 2020, 10:47 am

CellarTracker is probably the best hack. Look at past vintages of the wine, particularly vintages which seem more similar to the young one in question, and see what people are experiencing of that wine as it aged.

Of course, it's not a guarantee of anything for a number of reasons (unreliability of the CT posters and posts, vintage variation, producer could be making the wine differently now than it did then, etc.), but as shortcuts go, it's quite helpful.

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Re: Hacks for evaluating current release wine

#33 Post by John Morris » March 26th, 2020, 10:54 am

William Kelley wrote:
March 26th, 2020, 10:30 am
Btw, when I first read the subject line of this thread, I assumed it was a derogatory reference to wine writers.
My... feeling defensive today? neener
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Re: Hacks for evaluating current release wine

#34 Post by Markus S » March 26th, 2020, 11:32 am

Dan Kravitz wrote:
March 26th, 2020, 7:54 am
Markus,

I use 'Atlantic varietals' as shorthand for the red Bordeaux grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet France, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Carmenere. With Bierzo 150 miles from the Atlantic (Ribeira Sacra and Valdeorras are a little closer), I don't think I would call Mencia an 'Atlantic' grape. Syrah definitely not. I won't speak to Listan negro, as I've never heard of it. But I find some Portuguese reds from indigenous varieties grown near the Atlantic seem to have at least something at least tangentially in common with the Bordeaux grapes.

Please don't take any of this as hard and fast dicta.

Dan Kravitz
Well, I was calling you out a little because in looking at geography you have reds wines grown right by the Atlantic ocean in Portugal and Spain. Listan Negra is grown in the Canary Islands and I wasn't thinking of Bierzo when speaking of mencia, but more the plots throughout Galicia that are grown in inlets of the Atlantic. I'm glad you are not putting syrah in with that group, as I wouldn't either!
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Re: Hacks for evaluating current release wine

#35 Post by Dan Kravitz » March 26th, 2020, 6:52 pm

Markus,

When I began drinking wine, red Bordeaux was the world standard. In fact, I almost named my business 'The Red Bordeaux Wine Company' because it was then over 90% of what I sold. I'm very glad I didn't go there, it's now about 1% of sales.

France was the unquestioned center of the world of wine. Bordeaux was Atlantic. Burgundy was Continental. Rhone, a very minor backwater, was Mediterranean. Nobody had ever heard of Hermitage and less than nobody had ever heard of Cote Rotie. Cornas was the maybe the name of a crater on Mars?

Rioja was Lopez de Heredia and Cune Monopole, and was for poor wine lovers. Sherry was for Ladies of a Certain Age who were rarely seen sober. That was Spain.

Chianti came in wicker flasks and was for people who knew nothing about wine. Barolo was a fringe bargain for a few weirdos who actually liked wine.

Port was for insufferably arrogant Limeys who you wanted to slap, or better yet slug.

California was for Californians, a different race if maybe not a different species.

Welcome to the '60s.

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Re: Hacks for evaluating current release wine

#36 Post by Markus S » March 26th, 2020, 7:02 pm

Dan, oh, some of that sounds very familiar (remember Italian restaurants thinking they were fancy by having those straw-wrapped Chianti bottles used as candle holders)! But I can't believe you actually sold Bordeaux, because I always think of you as a Rhone importer.
What producers did you use to bring in, if you don't mind naming names?
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Re: Hacks for evaluating current release wine

#37 Post by J a y H a c k » March 26th, 2020, 9:28 pm

Send me a bottle and my son and I will test it. Isn't that what the thread title is all about?
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Re: Hacks for evaluating current release wine

#38 Post by Bill Sweeney » March 27th, 2020, 4:57 am

Ian Sutton wrote:
March 26th, 2020, 4:15 am
Best hack - a proven track record. It's far easier to predict future greatness, if the previous releases showed this.

This.

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Re: Hacks for evaluating current release wine

#39 Post by Michae1 P0wers » March 27th, 2020, 9:54 am

bmckenney wrote:
March 26th, 2020, 9:24 am
What gets me is how professional tasters can foresee the future of a wine that on release is tight, tannic, acidic etc. I opened a 2016 Barbaresco last night that is light to medium bodied, lots of tannin and very acidic with underlying powerful sweet red fruit and some noticeable oak. And this morning it is the same. I'd give this wine a low score for how it drinks right now, but I suspect this wine will be great in 10 years and who knows how long it will remain great before it declines. But a professional reviewer raves about this wine and gave it a 94. I'd give it around an 88 right now. But the reviewer gives it a high rating AND speaks about how great the wine is right now, but to me it isn't great, yet.
I tried the '16 Produttori and wished I hadn't wasted a bottle. For me the '16 Nebbiolo Langhe is much better at this point. I've been loving the basic Nebbiolo bottlings from a number of good producers in '16-'18. If they succeed with those "lesser" wines, that bodes well for the higher levels in my experience. That approach works in other regions as well.

Some grapes can have more of an early look period. Pinot, even in Burgundy, can give you a nice early window to see what the fruit is like before it shuts down. That's another thing to remember about the professionals; they are likely tasting in barrel, then again when the wine is at release, and they taste a lot of other wines from the region for comparison. They probably taste a producer's wines in ever vintage. That's very different than tasting a 4 year old Barbaresco and trying to predict what it will be like down the road.

Also, what exactly are you expecting to foresee? If you want to know if a wine is going to be 94 vs 96 points (whatever that means) in ten or twenty years, then I have no idea what would help with that. But if you're simply wanting to know if the wine will be good down the road, I don't think it's that tough. Does there seem to be enough structure? Enough fruit? Does it seem too hot or lack acidity? Is it dilute or hollow? Does the fruit seem to have some focus or does it seem kind of anonymous? Those things should tell you most of what you need to know, accepting that it isn't a very exact science.

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Re: Hacks for evaluating current release wine

#40 Post by Bdklein » March 27th, 2020, 9:57 am

bmckenney wrote:
March 26th, 2020, 9:24 am
What gets me is how professional tasters can foresee the future of a wine that on release is tight, tannic, acidic etc. I opened a 2016 Barbaresco last night that is light to medium bodied, lots of tannin and very acidic with underlying powerful sweet red fruit and some noticeable oak. And this morning it is the same. I'd give this wine a low score for how it drinks right now, but I suspect this wine will be great in 10 years and who knows how long it will remain great before it declines. But a professional reviewer raves about this wine and gave it a 94. I'd give it around an 88 right now. But the reviewer gives it a high rating AND speaks about how great the wine is right now, but to me it isn't great, yet.
Yeah I always wonder how reviewers can review wine that’s not supposed to be good for 20 years and tastes like crap now, and give it a high score .
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