Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Wines They Are a Changing

One of the great things about wine is that it changes. Of course, there are changes that take place in a fine Bordeaux or Napa Cabernet over two or three decades--changes that can turn a good wine into a great experience. But there are also changes that take place in simple wines like the Vin de Pays from Vieux Chene reported on below. While the aging curve may be five years rather 30 years as in the 1985 Sociando Mallet, it is important nonetheless when you decide whether you want to buy the wine and when you should best drink it.

When I'm through drinking a wine for the evening, I use the VacuVin to remove as much air as I can from the bottle. There's always some left, of course, and exposure to air over 24 to 48 hours causes the wine to go through an aging process that probably mirrors what it undergoes over a longer span in the unopened bottle. That's my theory, at least.

The Cuvee de la Dame Vieille, for example, showed pleasant plummy Syrah characteristics on the first night it was opened--good but not nothing that would send me back for another bottle. On the second night, those aromas and flavors had deepened considerably; and on the third night, it was showing peppery, spicy smells and similar to those in the lovely 2007 Delas Saint Esprit (a wine with a comparable blend of Syrah and Grenache). Surprise: the Delas is three years older and exactly what I'm looking for in a good Southern Rhone. It's too simple, of course, to assume that La Dame Vieille will be showing those same peppery, spice qualities in 2014, but I think it's safe to assume that it will evolve along a similar path, putting on more weight, depth and complexity as time passes. That's why I'm now a buyer.

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