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Wine Ramblings - To Cellar or Not


I'll start of by asking a couple of questions, is a wine twice as good when drank fully mature ? More importantly what is it like when you miss that ever elusive drinking window ?

The former is extremely subjective and the latter an easy answer in that most wine drinkers have had a chance to experience it. Once a wine is on it's downwards spiral it loses all vibrancy and character and is either a dull or acidified version of it's youth.

With great risk comes great reward, an example of which are the Grand Crus of Bordeaux, many are tannic monsters in their youth, but over time and decades in the cellar they will soften and show all the subtlety and class demanded by their price tag.

However from years 20 - 25 is there an exponential risk of the wine moving over the hill, or potential for the wine to be that much better at age 25 than 20 that warrants additional cellaring and risk?

In the end it comes down to your palate, tastes and patience, if you like fruit driven wines that give up front red and dark fruits, a hit of spicy oak and racy acidity why run the risk of extended cellar maturation, in fact the wine you bought and liked at release may turn into something you don't like.

The following are three points i have taken from my experience with the cellaring wine so far.

- A poorly made wine will not get better with cellaring, with the process often accentuating the wines floors.

- The best candidates for cellaring are those with an abundance of concentrated fruit, firm tannins and enough acidity to ensure the wine has focus and direction once the palate becomes softer and more expressive.

- A good wine doesn't have to be able to be cellared, drink it earlier for what it is and enjoy.

After reading this short rambling take a peek into your cellar, have a look if there is anything sitting in the corner slowly slipping away and rescue it from wine mediocracy, while your there also grab a bottle of that great 2008 Shiraz you loved at cellar door but forbid yourself from drinking for another 22 years, I'm sure it's still good.

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