To wait, or not to wait


What do you folks look for in determining whether a (red) wine will
benefit from aging, or should be drunk now?
Jose
Reply to
Jose
To me, there are two sides to the question. The first is "Is the wine enjoyable to drink now?" and is fairly self-evident to answer. The second is "Will the wine improve with age?" To me, that question hinges on several issues:
1. Is the wine structured for aging? Does it have noticeable tannin? Does it have enough acidity to age?
2. Is there enough fruit to survive aging? With very tannic young wines, that question can be harder to judge than one might think, as the fruit is often masked by the astringency of the tannins. I find that it requires a lot of concentration to get a good feeling for the depth of fruit, usually most evident in the finish.
3. Is the wine in balance? Even some wines with tannins, fruit and acidity won't benefit from aging because they aren't balanced. In some cases, that might be because the wine has sharp, spiky acidity that will outlast the fruit; in other cases, it could have tannins that are so green and harsh that the wine will be dead before they fully soften; more often, the wine might have a such huge whack of new oak that the fruit will be long gone by the time the oak is fully integrated.
When I taste a young wine, I look for the structural elements and fruit and try to judge whether they are in balance. If so, the wine will usually benefit from age. Figuring out how long to age it is another can of worms that I have no intention of opening.
HTH Mark Lipton
Reply to
Mark Lipton
The aging capability of most wines of a certain type is well known. Most big reds will hold for several years, and exceptiona ones for several decades. Typically, most red wines are ready to drink when placed on the market.
Reply to
UC
On Sat, 16 Jun 2007 14:03:23 -0400, Mark Lipton wrote:
Good answer, assuming that Jose was asking about judging based on tasting the wine. But I wasn't sure whether he meant that, or meant judging when buying the bottle.
-- Ken Blake Please Reply to the Newsgroup
Reply to
Ken Blake
Based on tasting. Were I to judge by the bottle, I'd merely read where it says "Dell reccomends...."
Oops. Wrong literature. :)
Jose
Reply to
Jose
A pretty straightforward approach. And what I would say if tasting blind. Of course, knowledge of the track record of the wine in previous vintages is a huge part of the equation (as you know).
Reply to
DaleW
Cheater!! ;-) Of course, especially for someone like you with such a broad experiece of wine, Dale. Neophytes such as myself often have to rely on first impressions instead ;-) One caution, which you know full well, is that a wine's track record in previous vintages has to be considered in light of the year is question (i.e., it's not a good idea to posit the future of '97s from the Medoc on the basis of how the '90s have evolved, or vice versa) Preaching to the choir, I know...
Mark Lipton
Reply to
Mark Lipton
Mark- A very thoughtful and well put answer. I think you nailed it! Fruit bombs tend to be problematic for me since they sometimes will have so much fruit that it masks the tannins and acidity. I also find it easier to judge reds than whites.
Reply to
Bi!!

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