Wine aging and group think

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Brian Tuite
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Wine aging and group think

#1 Post by Brian Tuite »

Sometimes I wonder why I sit on all this wine waiting for it to magically transform into some awesome elixir. This weekend I opened a 2011 Bedrock Papera Ranch Zinfandel that had transformed into something that I didn’t enjoy as much as I did the last time I opened one. I mean, it was good and all but it was way better when it was younger. What am I waiting for?

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Last night I popped a 1993 Ravenswood Sonoma County Merlot that had the ultimate provenance. It was well beyond its prime and unimpressive for me. I’ll have to open a few more from my mixed case before passing judgement but my experience with other 30 year old Ravenswoods, or other producers for that matter, have been similar and I chocked it up to provenance. Interesting but not satisfying enough to keep me engaged. Just not what I’m looking for in a wine. The Bedrock from the previous evening, while not at that point, was on its way to moving in that direction.

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I’ve had other aged wines that have shown fresh and lively so I know it’s possible and maybe I just had a poor run or perhaps that’s just not what I enjoy. So I ask, what am I waiting for sitting on wines that are “not ready yet” when they may well be ready? Or worse, in decline. I know there are exceptions but not for the wines I have always enjoyed in their youth. I find myself opening the cellar and having a hard time choosing a wine when there are 700+ possible choices staring me in the face.

Tonight I instead told myself to grab the first ‘16 or ‘17 I read on a cork. I opened a 2016 The Bedrock Heritage that is lovely and I think, the heck with all of the wine geeks who think these aren’t ready. Let them wait for the fruit and liveliness to drain out of their wines. I’m going back to being a cork puller. Wine was way more fun back then.

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I truly enjoy opening an old wine and finding it exceeds my expectations but these experiences are too few and far between to make me want to age my entire collection. I’m not alone right?
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Re: Wine aging and group think

#2 Post by Andrew K. »

I've had the same experience. Also usually with CA wines. Are you aging the wrong wine?
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Re: Wine aging and group think

#3 Post by Brian Tuite »

Andrew K. wrote: November 9th, 2020, 8:07 pm Are you aging the wrong wine?
Perhaps, or do I just not like some ofbthe secondary aromas and flavors? That’s what I am in conflict with really. I’m finding I am enjoying the freshness and exuberance of a youthful wine over herbal stewed quality of a wine aged too long for my tastes.
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Re: Wine aging and group think

#4 Post by Chris Seiber »

As people often say, wine changes with age, but whether that change is something you prefer more or less than the taste of the same wine young, that’s really a subjective thing. If you like Bedrock zin young rather than older, you should definitely drink it younger.

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Re: Wine aging and group think

#5 Post by Rich K0rz€nk0 »

For me, its all gambling and educated guesses to try and find layers in something that is a known quantity at one point in time and can be more later.

I've struggled with things that were sure fired you can't miss and lost. Anger and disappointment.

And, I've forgot about something, past peak, past salad dressing material, by time, and it shows up as something special (lots of Italy there)

Like the market, we all just want to win more than we lose. And that said, we will lose sometimes. Unlike the market, depending on how many you got (a crystal ball), you can taste over time and home in on that perfect moment. I've commit infanticide often to get a baseline and see what I got. Can't do so with the one-and-dones, and I have many awaiting, I'm taking a knee.
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Re: Wine aging and group think

#6 Post by JBrochu »

My understanding is that a lot of people prefer Zins at around 5-7 years of age. This could be wrong, but I've read it in more than one place.
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Re: Wine aging and group think

#7 Post by Rodrigo B »

Drinking windows are super subjective. So many people are afraid to consume their wines “too young,” but if the wine is drinking well to your palate, to me that’s an indicator that it’s the time to drink up. It means that you’re enjoying where the wine is at that moment. Why not continue to enjoy it? If you’re scared of missing out on potential positively ageing development, tuck away a bottle or two and drink the rest.

If I’ve got multiple bottles of a wine and I find it’s drinking really well, I’m going to continue to pop bottles and drink it, regardless of the vintage on the label.
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Re: Wine aging and group think

#8 Post by Mike S. »

I have been drinking zins for over 40 years.My experiences with zin is that they taste less like zin and more like claret or cabernet as they age. I buy zin because I like the flavor profile. That said I drink them in the first three or four years after release. I have friends that prefer what happens to zin with age. I do drink bordeaux and burgundy with lots of age. I like how they change and all of the complexity that is added.
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Re: Wine aging and group think

#9 Post by Chris Crutchfield »

Andrew K. wrote: November 9th, 2020, 8:07 pm I've had the same experience. Also usually with CA wines. Are you aging the wrong wine?
This. Maybe these wines were not made to be aged this long? Not all wine is made in that style.

Have you had much aged wine from the old world to compare?

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Re: Wine aging and group think

#10 Post by Michael Martin »

Better to drink too early than too late.

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Re: Wine aging and group think

#11 Post by Claus Jeppesen »

As long as the 25 years rule is obeyed champagne.gif
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Re: Wine aging and group think

#12 Post by Otto Forsberg »

Claus Jeppesen wrote: November 10th, 2020, 12:48 am As long as the 25 years rule is obeyed champagne.gif
+1!

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Re: Wine aging and group think

#13 Post by Bill Sweeney »

I think Bordeaux and burgundy almost always profit from age. Barolo too. But California and Oregon wines don’t necessarily need age. I think the myth that all red wines improve with aging arises from experience with European wines.

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Re: Wine aging and group think

#14 Post by Markus S »

I think we've been sold a bill of goods with aging wines. I think the sweet spot is finding wines that fall in that spot between "not ready" and "over-the-hill", and that is not always easy to do.
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Re: Wine aging and group think

#15 Post by TimF »

I wouldn’t expect a Ravenswood Merlot to be a good candidate to age almost 30 years let alone 10.

I’d have complete confidence opening a perfectly stored 1993 Ridge Geyserville right now. Certain wines age well but most should be consumed within 5 years IMO.
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Re: Wine aging and group think

#16 Post by D@vid Bu3ker »

Otto Forsberg wrote: November 10th, 2020, 2:11 am
Claus Jeppesen wrote: November 10th, 2020, 12:48 am As long as the 25 years rule is obeyed champagne.gif
+1!
So the rule of 15 for good Northern Rhones is something I am familiar with. What, pray tell, is the 25 years rule?
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Re: Wine aging and group think

#17 Post by D@vid Bu3ker »

As for the OP, I agree that there is this groupthink/waiting for magic/everything must be aged mentality out there. I happen to like wines that are very youthful and very aged, so it's almost never an issue for me, but if you don't like older wines then just drink them young. It's no crime to go against the "all Bedrocks need at least 5 years of age" thinkers.
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Re: Wine aging and group think

#18 Post by Albert R »

In general I enjoy CA wines most within a 5-8 year window with the exception of the 2013 vintage. Again, this is a general statement. I don’t have many pre-2010 CA wines in my cellar. I do rather drink on the early side of the range than later.
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Re: Wine aging and group think

#19 Post by Claus Jeppesen »

D@vid Bu3ker wrote: November 10th, 2020, 5:20 am
Otto Forsberg wrote: November 10th, 2020, 2:11 am
Claus Jeppesen wrote: November 10th, 2020, 12:48 am As long as the 25 years rule is obeyed champagne.gif
+1!
So the rule of 15 for good Northern Rhones is something I am familiar with. What, pray tell, is the 25 years rule?
Very simple. 15 years is too little cellaring time for many Bordeaux, Bourgogne, Barolo, Rhone, Mosel Auslese etc
I hear that 1986 and 88 Bordeaux is almost ready so may we should introduce the 30 years rule champagne.gif
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Re: Wine aging and group think

#20 Post by Stephen Faulkner »

Drink what you like when you think it tastes the best to you, regardless of what others think.

It would be interesting to hear from winemakers on this topic. Do they intentionally make some/all of their wines to age to target a peak time window (recognizing this will be vintage dependent as well) or is it more "they are ready to drink when I release/two years post release and they will continue to age but not necessarily get better (better being subjective) after that"?

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Re: Wine aging and group think

#21 Post by D@vid Bu3ker »

Stephen Faulkner wrote: November 10th, 2020, 6:02 am Drink what you like when you think it tastes the best to you, regardless of what others think.

It would be interesting to hear from winemakers on this topic. Do they intentionally make some/all of their wines to age to target a peak time window (recognizing this will be vintage dependent as well) or is it more "they are ready to drink when I release/two years post release and they will continue to age but not necessarily get better (better being subjective) after that"?
FWIW, I know from visiting and talking in 2018 that Aldo Vacca (who runs Produttori del Barbaresco) thinks their wines are ready to drink much sooner than the denizens of the wine web.
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Re: Wine aging and group think

#22 Post by Rodrigo B »

Michael Martin wrote: November 9th, 2020, 8:55 pm Better to drink too early than too late.
While I don’t entirely disagree with the spirit of that statement, I think that’s the wrong way to look at it and phrase it. If a wine is drinking well to one’s palate, it shouldn’t matter what the vintage on the label says, there’s nothing wrong with drinking it at the stage you most enjoy it. It’s not drinking it “too early,” it’s just drinking the wine in a period your palate thinks its showing well.
Stephen Faulkner wrote: November 10th, 2020, 6:02 am It would be interesting to hear from winemakers on this topic. Do they intentionally make some/all of their wines to age to target a peak time window (recognizing this will be vintage dependent as well) or is it more "they are ready to drink when I release/two years post release and they will continue to age but not necessarily get better (better being subjective) after that"?
This is one of the things I really like about the Rioja classification system. It allows winemakers to pretty easily signal to consumers when their wines are ready to drink and how much potential development they can see from ageing it further. I wish more winemakers released wines like that, but I understand that the economic realities make that challenging. One can hope though.
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Re: Wine aging and group think

#23 Post by Brian Tuite »

Stephen Faulkner wrote: November 10th, 2020, 6:02 am Drink what you like when you think it tastes the best to you, regardless of what others think.

It would be interesting to hear from winemakers on this topic. Do they intentionally make some/all of their wines to age to target a peak time window (recognizing this will be vintage dependent as well) or is it more "they are ready to drink when I release/two years post release and they will continue to age but not necessarily get better (better being subjective) after that"?

For me it’s been finding that that point where I want to drink them the most, them being the wines in my cellar and not necessarily wine in general, is sooner than I had expected. Believing that they would be better with 8-10 years or more has been driven by the wine community as well as a handful of bottles that were impressive at 20+ years.

Now I can’t speak for all wine and I don’t speak for all wine drinkers. I have Syrah based wines that are pushing the 15yr envelope which are still evolving in a good way. It just pisses me off when I pull a bottle that I’ve been sitting on since release that is now on the decline because I was letting something to happen that, in the end, I now do not appreciate. WTF am I waiting for? Time to pull some corks.
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Re: Wine aging and group think

#24 Post by Brian Tuite »

TimF wrote: November 10th, 2020, 5:12 am I wouldn’t expect a Ravenswood Merlot to be a good candidate to age almost 30 years let alone 10.

I’d have complete confidence opening a perfectly stored 1993 Ridge Geyserville right now. Certain wines age well but most should be consumed within 5 years IMO.
If you read the thread on the Ravenswood Library Release you would think differently. Lots of high praise. I still have 11 more bottles so the experiment is not over yet.
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Re: Wine aging and group think

#25 Post by Todd Laubach »

I personally think the sweet spot for zin is between 3-5 years. I drink them for the fruit. I have had much older zins and while they were fine, they taste more like aged cab/claret. Not what I am looking for when I buy zin from the likes of Carlisle, etc.

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Re: Wine aging and group think

#26 Post by Troy Stark »

I think this is a "trust your palate" type of problem. If you're buying wine by the case, you should be regularly checking in on those wines, either via Coravin or popping a bottle every X years. When the wine gets to a place that is enjoyable, start drinking it more regularly. Could it get better? Maybe, but why risk it if you like how it's drinking?
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Re: Wine aging and group think

#27 Post by JDavisRoby »

I had this thought last night as I was loading a few shipments into the cellar.

Did I drink them too young? Did I miss the youth window and now they’ll be in a shut down phase? Or, will I wait too long?

I think I’m coming around to the screw it, just drink it and stop having FOMO about how great it could’ve been camp. Plus, I’m running out of storage and if I don’t start drinking I can’t buy more!
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Re: Wine aging and group think

#28 Post by Nick Christie »

There a thousand threads on wine aging (many of them excellent, many of them combative, many of them informative) so I just want to address the second clause in the subject:

Understanding one's own palate is the goal. Always. And that means having a combination of curiosity and confidence and independence. Are you ready, in a group, to love a wine that is other's least favorite? Are you ready, as a person, to address a fact that maybe you wrote some notes 5 years ago which make you cringe as your own palate has evolved one way or the other?

If I really like Chopin, and you love Randy Newman, that's fine. Now, if you say "Chopin is overrated" and only famous because of scholarly "group think" I'd suggest you haven't really applied oneself to understanding Chopin. But in regards to food or wine, keep trying, keep evolving, and keep conversing with your own palate...

Some of us, our palates "seem" relatively stable, so we can then make assumptions as we go forward. But each wine has to be its own experience. The example I always give (in regards to my own internal conversation on curiosity, confidence, and independence) is that I've rarely enjoyed/"gotten" the Sine Que Non wines I have tried for the fairly obvious reason (I'm tremendously sensitive to high alcohol wines and massive face-forward flavors). However, I once had the real pleasure of having a fluke, one-off SQN Rose (I think it's the ...And an 8-track i.e. the one offered to list members at a penny), which had all the hallmarks of a wine I would not like (particularly it's 15.2% alcohol)... and low in behold, I was genuinely impressed. Wanted another glass, wanted to learn about it impressed.

Learning one's own groupthink (particularly in regards to aging) is more important than the groupthink of others. Classical concepts and theory exist for a reason, but they are by no means uniform. I would politely suggest, however, that there's a tangible difference between saying that classical theory is a prisoner to groupthink rather than addressing one's own palate/enjoyment as simply in opposition to the classical theory.

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Re: Wine aging and group think

#29 Post by John Morris »

D@vid Bu3ker wrote: November 10th, 2020, 6:20 am
Stephen Faulkner wrote: November 10th, 2020, 6:02 am Drink what you like when you think it tastes the best to you, regardless of what others think.

It would be interesting to hear from winemakers on this topic. Do they intentionally make some/all of their wines to age to target a peak time window (recognizing this will be vintage dependent as well) or is it more "they are ready to drink when I release/two years post release and they will continue to age but not necessarily get better (better being subjective) after that"?
FWIW, I know from visiting and talking in 2018 that Aldo Vacca (who runs Produttori del Barbaresco) thinks their wines are ready to drink much sooner than the denizens of the wine web.
Many winemakers in various regions prefer their wines younger than many of their customers do.
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Re: Wine aging and group think

#30 Post by Brian Tuite »

John Morris wrote: November 10th, 2020, 7:43 am
D@vid Bu3ker wrote: November 10th, 2020, 6:20 am
Stephen Faulkner wrote: November 10th, 2020, 6:02 am Drink what you like when you think it tastes the best to you, regardless of what others think.

It would be interesting to hear from winemakers on this topic. Do they intentionally make some/all of their wines to age to target a peak time window (recognizing this will be vintage dependent as well) or is it more "they are ready to drink when I release/two years post release and they will continue to age but not necessarily get better (better being subjective) after that"?
FWIW, I know from visiting and talking in 2018 that Aldo Vacca (who runs Produttori del Barbaresco) thinks their wines are ready to drink much sooner than the denizens of the wine web.
Many winemakers in various regions prefer their wines younger than many of their customers do.
I would go as far as to say most winemakers want you to drink their wines young so:
1) You are able to spread the word.
2) You deplete your inventory and need to repurchase.
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Re: Wine aging and group think

#31 Post by John Morris »

Brian Tuite wrote: November 9th, 2020, 8:02 pm I truly enjoy opening an old wine and finding it exceeds my expectations but these experiences are too few and far between to make me want to age my entire collection. I’m not alone right?
I don't think know that there is any "group think" to the effect that all wines should be aged. I'm not sure anyone should expect a Ravenswood Merlot to benefit from extended aging.

Some people do like particular zins with age -- Ridge is the usual example, because they do evolve and change. Personally, I prefer the Ridges younger, but I understand people who age Ridge zins and I have a few I've put away.

I have no experience with Bedrock Heritage with age, but I'd guess they might become more interesting because it has a good acid backbone and isn't overripe. But few other zins ever gain much complexity with age. They just lose fruit.

So I don't find anything surprising in the three wines you tasted, and I don't know what the supposed group think is.
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Re: Wine aging and group think

#32 Post by John Morris »

Brian Tuite wrote: November 10th, 2020, 7:50 am
John Morris wrote: November 10th, 2020, 7:43 am
D@vid Bu3ker wrote: November 10th, 2020, 6:20 am

FWIW, I know from visiting and talking in 2018 that Aldo Vacca (who runs Produttori del Barbaresco) thinks their wines are ready to drink much sooner than the denizens of the wine web.
Many winemakers in various regions prefer their wines younger than many of their customers do.
I would go as far as to say most winemakers want you to drink their wines young so:
1) You are able to spread the word.
2) You deplete your inventory and need to repurchase.
In the Old World, where I've met winemakers who like their wines relatively young, it's genuinely a matter of palate preference, in my experience.
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Re: Wine aging and group think

#33 Post by Brian Tuite »

Nick Christie wrote: November 10th, 2020, 7:26 am There a thousand threads on wine aging (many of them excellent, many of them combative, many of them informative) so I just want to address the second clause in the subject:

Understanding one's own palate is the goal. Always. And that means having a combination of curiosity and confidence and independence. Are you ready, in a group, to love a wine that is other's least favorite? Are you ready, as a person, to address a fact that maybe you wrote some notes 5 years ago which make you cringe as your own palate has evolved one way or the other?

If I really like Chopin, and you love Randy Newman, that's fine. Now, if you say "Chopin is overrated" and only famous because of scholarly "group think" I'd suggest you haven't really applied oneself to understanding Chopin. But in regards to food or wine, keep trying, keep evolving, and keep conversing with your own palate...

Some of us, our palates "seem" relatively stable, so we can then make assumptions as we go forward. But each wine has to be its own experience. The example I always give (in regards to my own internal conversation on curiosity, confidence, and independence) is that I've rarely enjoyed/"gotten" the Sine Que Non wines I have tried for the fairly obvious reason (I'm tremendously sensitive to high alcohol wines and massive face-forward flavors). However, I once had the real pleasure of having a fluke, one-off SQN Rose (I think it's the ...And an 8-track i.e. the one offered to list members at a penny), which had all the hallmarks of a wine I would not like (particularly it's 15.2% alcohol)... and low in behold, I was genuinely impressed. Wanted another glass, wanted to learn about it impressed.

Learning one's own groupthink (particularly in regards to aging) is more important than the groupthink of others. Classical concepts and theory exist for a reason, but they are by no means uniform. I would politely suggest, however, that there's a tangible difference between saying that classical theory is a prisoner to groupthink rather than addressing one's own palate/enjoyment as simply in opposition to the classical theory.
I feel like I understand my palate fairly well. I enjoy a broad variety of styles from high acid/ carbonic to fruit forward/structured to elegant/nuanced but am still sifting through which wines will bring me the most pleasure in their mature years. This is based on my cellar and not the wine world in general. 95% of my cellar is domestic. I don’t buy by the case except for cellar defenders, (What they are defending I am now at odds with) so I can’t experiment in that way. I’ll go three deep, drink one in the first year, 1 at 5 years and another beyond. Just finding that beyond is not doing it like I had hoped.
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Re: Wine aging and group think

#34 Post by Jim Stewart »

Brian, you are definitely not alone! Nothing wrong with enjoying young wines if they give you pleasure. But, as you said, the possibility of even greater pleasure if you hold off makes the game more complicated, but also maybe more interesting. I think there is no real answer. I like the middle ground suggested by some, enjoying some wines in their youth, and for other wines delaying gratification and hoping for a good outcome. Neither outcome is guaranteed. Listen to others and to convention, but as you move along in experience find your own balance. It’s possible to get very philosophical about this wine stuff even before the wine is opened and I admit to doing it both ways, but practically speaking I’m with you on erring on the side of pulling corks. Cheers.

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Re: Wine aging and group think

#35 Post by Nick Christie »

Brian Tuite wrote: November 10th, 2020, 7:58 am I feel like I understand my palate fairly well. I enjoy a broad variety of styles from high acid/ carbonic to fruit forward/structured to elegant/nuanced but am still sifting through which wines will bring me the most pleasure in their mature years.... I’ll go three deep, drink one in the first year, 1 at 5 years and another beyond. Just finding that beyond is not doing it like I had hoped.
It is a great question to ask oneself, Brian. Particularly if the sample size of experimentation is extended over a decade.

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Re: Wine aging and group think

#36 Post by T. Altmayer »

I think your instincts are correct. In California, the vast majority of wines that I cellar for extended periods of time are the Bordeaux varietals (and only certain producers). Other than those, I generally would not advise going beyond 10 years. Obviously there are producer and site exceptions, but California wines are built for their fruit and brightness, so why not enjoy them for those attributes.
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Re: Wine aging and group think

#37 Post by Jim F »

Regarding the preference of wine makers, I think it was Roy Piper in one his videos who said that he drinks a lot of younger wine. After all, that is what the winemakers are producing and assessing.

I agree that we all need to find the sweet spot for ourselves. And aging is a crapshoot: that old expression that there are no great wines only great bottles?

I really do not age zin past 5 years. Enjoy the fruit. For Napa cabernet, I think the 10-15 year mark is the sweet spot for most. Some drink well earlier obviously, and some are very “interesting” older. For bordeaux, I belong in the enjoy them earlier club.

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Re: Wine aging and group think

#38 Post by Jonathan Loesberg »

John Morris wrote: November 10th, 2020, 7:43 am
D@vid Bu3ker wrote: November 10th, 2020, 6:20 am
Stephen Faulkner wrote: November 10th, 2020, 6:02 am Drink what you like when you think it tastes the best to you, regardless of what others think.

It would be interesting to hear from winemakers on this topic. Do they intentionally make some/all of their wines to age to target a peak time window (recognizing this will be vintage dependent as well) or is it more "they are ready to drink when I release/two years post release and they will continue to age but not necessarily get better (better being subjective) after that"?
FWIW, I know from visiting and talking in 2018 that Aldo Vacca (who runs Produttori del Barbaresco) thinks their wines are ready to drink much sooner than the denizens of the wine web.
Many winemakers in various regions prefer their wines younger than many of their customers do.
I find winemakers' views of their own wines always to be fascinating and eminently worthy of attention. I also find that they, understandably, have a different attitude than most people who drink them do. Every stage, for them, has its own interest. Where we would just avoid someone else's desultory adolescent, or perhaps think they should be locked in their rooms their parents will have a more involved attitude and it is the same with winemakers and their wines.

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Re: Wine aging and group think

#39 Post by Tomás Costa »

I think everything has pretty much been said. When aging wine, the highs are higher and the lows are lower, and you might be going in blind. I have had lots of different experiences, from the 'I would love to taste this in a few years' to the 'I would have loved to have tasted this a few years ago'. The magical middle has been more rare, sadly, but those are the absolutely most memorable wine experiences.
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Re: Wine aging and group think

#40 Post by G. D y e r »

It's important in my view to consider one major historical reason why wine was aged: it was often underride, acidic and/or tannic. Time took the edge off, and occasionally great things happened. With modern viticulture and climate change, this reason just isn't as prominent or necessary.

The second motivation is primarily economic. Wine that ages for decades is rare, and each vintage becomes more scarce over time as its production is consumed.

I do age wine and have a good sized wine fridge allocated to aging 'experiments'. I have a few wines that most likely are 20-30 year wines. But aside from breaking down walls of structure, I'm not convinced the resulting wines will necessarily be superior to their younger selves. Or even wines vinted with less imposing structure that peak earlier in their lifecycle.
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Re: Wine aging and group think

#41 Post by David Baum »

Brian Tuite wrote: November 9th, 2020, 8:13 pm
Andrew K. wrote: November 9th, 2020, 8:07 pm Are you aging the wrong wine?
Perhaps, or do I just not like some ofbthe secondary aromas and flavors? That’s what I am in conflict with really. I’m finding I am enjoying the freshness and exuberance of a youthful wine over herbal stewed quality of a wine aged too long for my tastes.
Simple answer. WWJD?

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Re: Wine aging and group think

#42 Post by Jeff_M. »

I age wine to knock the edge off the acid and tannins. I like more age on my cabernet than I like for zins and field blends. I like the 4-7 year window for zinfandel and if I think a bottle will age longer I will hold one back and see how it evolves. This where buying multiple bottles of a release helps you determine when to drink it so you can drink it as it ages. There is no wrong answer to this, its your palette
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Re: Wine aging and group think

#43 Post by Mike Kuller »

I've been drinking zinfandel for 40 years. Other than Ridge, and possibly some Turley, Bedrocks and Carlisles, I would not age them for more than 5 years.

It is a wine that's meant to be drunk young, while you wait for your cabernets and Bordeaux to age longer.

"Zinfandel is about emotion, where cabernet is more analytical."

And even then, many California cabs won't make it 10.

Interesting you tasted a wine made by Morgan and then his father, Joel. I just finished the book, Zinfandel - The History and Mystery from 1991 which focuses on Joel Peterson, Paul Draper and the other zin producers of that era. Highly recommended.

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Re: Wine aging and group think

#44 Post by Brian Tuite »

David Baum wrote: November 10th, 2020, 10:05 am
Brian Tuite wrote: November 9th, 2020, 8:13 pm
Andrew K. wrote: November 9th, 2020, 8:07 pm Are you aging the wrong wine?
Perhaps, or do I just not like some ofbthe secondary aromas and flavors? That’s what I am in conflict with really. I’m finding I am enjoying the freshness and exuberance of a youthful wine over herbal stewed quality of a wine aged too long for my tastes.
Simple answer. WWJD?
Just grab a glass of water and run his hands over it and have more wine.
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Re: Wine aging and group think

#45 Post by ChrisJames »

Brian Tuite wrote: November 10th, 2020, 7:50 am
John Morris wrote: November 10th, 2020, 7:43 am
D@vid Bu3ker wrote: November 10th, 2020, 6:20 am

FWIW, I know from visiting and talking in 2018 that Aldo Vacca (who runs Produttori del Barbaresco) thinks their wines are ready to drink much sooner than the denizens of the wine web.
Many winemakers in various regions prefer their wines younger than many of their customers do.
I would go as far as to say most winemakers want you to drink their wines young so:
1) You are able to spread the word.
2) You deplete your inventory and need to repurchase.
I visited Piedmont twice some years ago as a lowly tourist (not a journalist or person of deep pockets). Producer after producer commented on how they (and most Italians) like to drink their wines much younger than Americans do. I remember in 2003, the daughter of Francesco Rinaldi commenting on how enjoyable the 1998/1999 Baroli were for current drinking. Most notable for me was Beppe (Giuseppe ) Rinaldi telling me he preferred Barolo around 8-10 years of age and that after 10 years it became a gamble. Beppe Rinaldi didn't strike me as a man who would spout BS for a wine tourist. I didn't feel it was my place to tell them they were drinking their wines too young.
Last edited by ChrisJames on November 10th, 2020, 2:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Wine aging and group think

#46 Post by Greg K »

ChrisJames wrote: November 10th, 2020, 11:07 am
Brian Tuite wrote: November 10th, 2020, 7:50 am
John Morris wrote: November 10th, 2020, 7:43 am

Many winemakers in various regions prefer their wines younger than many of their customers do.
I would go as far as to say most winemakers want you to drink their wines young so:
1) You are able to spread the word.
2) You deplete your inventory and need to repurchase.
I visited Piedmont twice some years ago as a lowly tourist (not a journalist or person of deep pockets). Producer after producer commented on how they (and most Italians) like to drink their wines much younger than Americans do. I remember in 2003, the daughter of Francesco Rinaldi commenting on how enjoyable the 1998/1999 Baroli were for current drinking. Most notable for me was Beppe (Giuseppe ) Rinaldi telling me he preferred Barolo around 8-10 years of age and that after 10 years it became a gamble. Beppe Giuseppe didn't strike me as a man who would spout BS for a wine tourist. I didn't feel it was my place to tell them they were drinking their wines too young.
I do think it's a somewhat unique American experience to prefer Barolo quite so old (which I also find odd), but at the same time, the English often like their Bordeaux to be ancient, so it's all relative.

I also think much of this is changing as serious wine is becoming much more approachable young in part due to global warming and in part due to better wine making practices. You could age your Comte Liger Belair, but who does, and why would they?
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Re: Wine aging and group think

#47 Post by Otto Forsberg »

Greg K wrote: November 10th, 2020, 11:13 am I do think it's a somewhat unique American experience to prefer Barolo quite so old
This was the first time I ever head somebody claiming this to be a "unique American experience". From what I've seen, it's a pretty global thing - and was normal for so many decades in Italy before they started making wines that could be enjoyed in their youth as well.

When I visited Produttori, I asked mr. Cravanzola, who was showing us around, whether they have any older bottles left. He said no, because they always sell all their production down to the very last bottle - which is a shame, because he thought their wines age so remarkably well. However, he said he knew a shop or two in Alba where he could always go and pick up a bottle whenever in need for older Barbaresco. So definitely not a "unique American" thing, even today.

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Re: Wine aging and group think

#48 Post by David Glasser »

Mike Kuller wrote: November 10th, 2020, 10:33 am I've been drinking zinfandel for 40 years. Other than Ridge, and possibly some Turley, Bedrocks and Carlisles, I would not age them for more than 5 years.

It is a wine that's meant to be drunk young, while you wait for your cabernets and Bordeaux to age longer.

"Zinfandel is about emotion, where cabernet is more analytical."

And even then, many California cabs won't make it 10.

Interesting you tasted a wine made by Morgan and then his father, Joel. I just finished the book, Zinfandel - The History and Mystery from 1991 which focuses on Joel Peterson, Paul Draper and the other zin producers of that era. Highly recommended.

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My philosophy as well, though you’ve got about 5 years on me in experience.

Looks like a good book, will check it out.

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Re: Wine aging and group think

#49 Post by Neal.Mollen »

Brian, I absolutely agree that you should be drinking your wine when you want it, at the stage of development you prefer, without reference to any consensus among the cognoscenti. And I have no idea when those particular bottles were/are "best" as they are not wines I have in my cellar, or really have much interest in.

For myself only, almost every wine I buy needs time in the cellar. And not just a little time either. The lone exception is champagne, which becomes magical when aged but is also (often? usually?) a delight when young. The lion's share of red wines in my cellar (75-85%) is bordeaux, burgundy, borolo/barb, chianti/sangio, and rioja, and almost without exception I won't open one at less than 10 years of age, and usually the rule of thumb is closer to 20. Different strokes and all that.
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Re: Wine aging and group think

#50 Post by J D o v e »

You could age your Comte Liger Belair, but who does, and why would they?



If you give me 5 $300+ bottles of recently released wine, a $75 wine budget for a 6th bottle, and 6 paper bags — I’ll bet >80% of the people on this board won’t reliably find the $75 wine. I and others from the board with me have witnessed this first hand with individuals now considered to be ‘professional’ critics. So, no slight to the board intended. Perhaps a modest slight to the critic intended. neener

I don’t find the differential between ‘the best / most expensive’ wine and a lesser producer who hit it out of the park when the wines are young. When it first came out, we used to joke that the 1994 Bryant Family tasted like a better Zinfandel than most Zinfandels. It’s no different today. Why spend $300+ for a newly released wine to drink next week where a paper bag and a $75 selection will give you 99.X% of the same experience? That’s even more true for less experienced people.

As far as aging goes, you only have to have so many great older bottles of wine to understand why people would age them. I would rather drink a bottle of 1982 Beychevelle or Pichon Lalande than a bottle of their 2016. If you feel differently, it doesn’t mean you’re wrong, less sophisticated, or have bad taste — it does, however, suggest you might save your money and buy fewer expensive wines and more paper bags.
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