Do the French Drink Their Wines at a Younger Age?

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Tariq K
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Do the French Drink Their Wines at a Younger Age?

#1 Post by Tariq K » November 23rd, 2018, 11:26 am

And no, I don't mean the sixteen year old chugging down Vin Ordinaire... [snort.gif]

What I mean is, it seems that the French appreciate younger wines than Americans and probably the Brits. Is this a well-known phenomenon? And what would a "French" vision of proper aging look like for, say, Bordeaux and Burgundy?

I've recently had some aged wines that I thought were over the hill but where a plurality of CellarTracker devotees (majority Americans, I would assume) seemed to think it was still too young. Perhaps I have the French taste.
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Craig G
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Re: Do the French Drink Their Wines at a Younger Age?

#2 Post by Craig G » November 23rd, 2018, 1:19 pm

We’ve been over this before:

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=47365&p=617147&hili ... nt#p617147
The French drink their Bordeaux too young, fearing that their socialist government will take it away.

The English drink it too old, so they can talk about how great it used to be.

And the Americans drink it at just the right time, because they don't know any better.
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Tariq K
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Re: Do the French Drink Their Wines at a Younger Age?

#3 Post by Tariq K » November 24th, 2018, 8:51 am

EDITED 11/25/18 We are all friends again champagne.gif
Last edited by Tariq K on November 25th, 2018, 1:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Ian Sutton
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Re: Do the French Drink Their Wines at a Younger Age?

#4 Post by Ian Sutton » November 24th, 2018, 1:31 pm

To be honest I think it's best to be decent to other in all the forums (though I accept that's never going to be a consistent feature of the politics forum!)

I commend Craig on remembering a thread from 7 years ago, which I'm sure I couldn't do. However I reckon it's perfectly fair to raise a similar question after a duration of 7 years. Some forumites who weren't posting back then, and may well feel they have something to say on the matter. A bit different if the same question had been covered just a week before.

In response to Tariq's question, I'd say it's a reasonably well-used, but too broad-brush assumption. After all, the biggest champion of seriously old wines here.... is a Frenchman by the name of Francois Audouze!

In terms of those wines tasted, it might be one of the following:
- yes, you've not got the same tastes as those other people, and for you the wines taste better young. This may always remain the case, might change over time, or there might be some wines you find you appreciate with age, and others you don't.
- bottle variation is very real, especially in older cork sealed wines. It could be the wine they tasted was in a very different state to the one you tasted. However if the views came from drinking the same bottle at the same table, then the 1st answer feels more likely.

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Re: Do the French Drink Their Wines at a Younger Age?

#5 Post by Tariq K » November 25th, 2018, 4:30 am

Thanks Ian for the helpful response. I have been in a group tasting situation where a wine tasted far too old for me but someone insisted it was perfect. However, a) he was in the minority on that vote; and b) I think there was a little confirmation bias at work.

I do wonder how big a part bottle variation plays - guess I had better keep tasting! And I will look up Francois Audouze.
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John O'
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Re: Do the French Drink Their Wines at a Younger Age?

#6 Post by John O' » November 25th, 2018, 5:24 am

I have some, but not a lot, of experience with aged wines. Can't help but feel some of the attraction is the marvel that it can last that long and still be good/fresh/etc. and the exclusivity of the experience.
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Re: Do the French Drink Their Wines at a Younger Age?

#7 Post by Ian Sutton » November 25th, 2018, 6:55 am

I do enjoy older wines, including some that even I would call over-mature.

An overly generalistic summary would be:

- Youth typically offers the greatest intensity and freshness, but can be simpler than older wines, and sometimes can be a bit 'all arms and legs'
- As wines age they lose some intensity. The primary fruit softens, but also starts to transform, often into more *savoury flavours
- For many '**peak maturity' is where there is an equal balance between the primary flavours and these more savoury aged flavours.
- Beyond that, that trend continues, also introducing oxidation / madeirisation, but also sometimes reveals some really unusual, delicate and memorable flavours and aromas.

We'll all have different preferences, and indeed may cover the full range depending on the wine style. We may even change preferences over time. At younger ages, a tolerance or enjoyment of tannins can be essential, whilst at older ages an acceptance of some feebleness / minor failings can be essential for being able to appreciate the increased complexity and unique / sometimes ethereal flavours and aromas. I find good older wines very appealing to explore the aromas.

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Ian

* A bad over-generalisation. Tertiary would be a more normal term, where primary is effectively fruit, secondary is winemaking input including barrel influence, tertiary reflects changes that happen as both the above transform with age in bottle.
** With the great variance of preferences, I rather like that definition of what maturity is, as it feels like something where we're more likely to have a shared understanding.
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Re: Do the French Drink Their Wines at a Younger Age?

#8 Post by Craig G » November 25th, 2018, 7:22 am

Sorry, I didn’t intend to be rude, and there is no problem posting this question. I just wanted to re-post the joke. The thread I linked to does have some discussion of the topic, though.
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Sc0tt F!tzger@ld
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Re: Do the French Drink Their Wines at a Younger Age?

#9 Post by Sc0tt F!tzger@ld » November 25th, 2018, 8:34 am

My guess is that the French and most of the world drink their wine much younger than the typical person on this board. This thread reminded me of the Matt Kramer article from several years back, "Is It Worth It to Age Wines Anymore?"

https://www.winespectator.com/webfeature/show/id/47848
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Re: Do the French Drink Their Wines at a Younger Age?

#10 Post by Ian Sutton » November 25th, 2018, 9:08 am

Craig G wrote:
November 25th, 2018, 7:22 am
Sorry, I didn’t intend to be rude, and there is no problem posting this question. I just wanted to re-post the joke. The thread I linked to does have some discussion of the topic, though.
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Tariq K
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Re: Do the French Drink Their Wines at a Younger Age?

#11 Post by Tariq K » November 25th, 2018, 1:24 pm

Thanks Craig! Deleting my post from yesterday.
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