During our recent conversation, Wine.com’s Gwendolyn Osborn mentioned that not everybody likes aged wines.
Which is an excellent point. People get hung up on keeping a wine without remembering that wine loses its fruit flavors as it ages. For a drinker who loves a glass redolent with black cherries, raspberries or plum, letting these flavors dissipate is just wrong.
This was brought home to me during the Zachy’s auction, when some older bottles – samples from lots for sale – were opened for bidders to try.
A 1987 Rouget Echezeaux had lost much of its fruit but was still bursting with notes of earth, tea and dried flowers. I would have really loved it a few years ago, but the wine was still crisp and delightful to drink.
And yet, there are any of a dozen people I know who would have taken a sip and spit it out, declaring it awful no matter how hard I tried to persuade them otherwise.
In fact, drinking aged wine is a completely different experience from one just purchased off the shelf. “A drinkable bottle of wine from 1906 is a completely different drinking experience than a bottle of wine from the 40’s, which is a different experience than a bottle from the 60’s and so on,” says Ursula Hermacinski from Zachy’s Wine Auctions.
So why drink it? “Wine collectors who open bottles want to experience what that particular bottle from an older “classic’ vintage tasted like today,” she says. Of course, that doesn’t describe most of us.
The moral of this story?
Don’t feel that, just because a wine is a “name” or expensive or age-worthy, that it needs to be cellared. Some palates prefer a fruit-forward wine, and that’s okay. Heck, it’s another good reason to pull the cork sooner rather than later.