Tasting order in veticals

What do you think is a good tasting order for verticals?

  • Youngest to Oldest
  • Oldest to Youngest

0 voters

What do you think?

Every time a producer has offered a vertical tasting it has been youngest to oldest.

It depends, if the oldest wines are likely to be in decline, I would drink them first. My rule of thumb is to drink wine in order of ascending power.

This has been how I’ve approached the subject as well.



I’ve seen it done both ways. I suppose it depends on what you’re trying to get out of it. I’d guess oldest to youngest is best for the palate. But the other way might be nice to watch the progression of the wine as it ages.

There are other alternatives, for example grouping similarly sized or styled vintages together. For me the most important consideration is not to group the best wines at the end. There is nothing worse than burning up your enjoyment capacity on unremarkable openers and then turning to the big guns when palate fatigue sets in.

But you can’t know that until you open the wines. That’s fine, but then you have to do the order when you open and taste the wines to check for corkiness, etc. And in most verticals the differences in power/concentration of flavor are vintage dependent since they are, by definition, the same wine otherwise.

In general, youngest to oldest gives you the experience of moving from what a wine is to what it becomes. I’d actually exclude older wines that are very fragile or I’d simply slow-ox them (few older wines really fall apart during this) or, if I was nervous about slow-oxing the wine, I’d simply open it right before serving.

When I do a vertical of Black Cat, and it must be offered in stages due to room on the table or availability of stemware, I offer the oldest first and finish with the latest release. I like the integration that typically comes with bottle age - all the parts in synch. A new release with its more noticeable oak and acid I feel is best left for last.

But my overall preference is to serve all the wines at once, with a limit of 8 wines to consider.

Can really be either as a correct answer, but then it is all about the right context.

Every time I have seen this done with very old wines, it is usually done this way. I think particularly with burgs, the younger (in particular much younger) wines are just so much more seductive in comparison, and the older wines so much more subtle, that you just can’ work back from that point if you start youngest.

It is a bit like starting off with sweet desert wines first…

Of course this depends on what the definition of oldest and youngest is…if it’s only 10-20 years difference, then this might not be the case if say you had a flight of lesser younger burgs, and a flight of older (but still not mature) higher level wines, which may look at a similar developmental stage to the younger wines…

If you are doing 30’s and 40’s VS say 60’s to 80’s (as we did a few weeks ago), then it is a no brainer to do the older wines first…

If the wines are similar (say flights of one producer), but with a smaller age difference between them, then often youngest to oldest gives you a better idea of the evolutionary process…

I have seen quite a few youngest to oldest, and while I prefer oldest to youngest (so as not to fry the palate), I have also found some great tastings grouped not only by age, but also by warmer years and cooler years, as well.

Excellent summary.

I typically do oldest to youngest when conducting tastings.

I almost always do such tastings with socks over the bottles, so randomly. Part of the fun is, knowing the vintages and the producer, seeing if I can figure out the relative ages of the various wines.

But, I prefer to end up , in a non blind tasting , with the older ones. However, that presumes that the earlier wines are so numerous or so aggressive that they don’t ruin my tastebuds for the nuances of the oldest one…if the oldest one is noticeably “older” in character.

Under 10 Wines Youngest to Oldest
Over 9 Oldest to Youngest

my thinking being you will exhaust your palate with over 10 wines and probably want to focus on how they have aged more than the youngsters in thee flights.
Where if it is just a few wines it is nice to see where they start and how they evolved as you finish the flight.