The Great Aging Debate
In recent months, there have been many articles published about cellaring wines. Most of these articles conclude that cellaring is not the best idea, as most wines are made to be enjoyed now. I would generally agree, but an older, more mature wine offers a great tasting experience.
In my travels of the past year I’ve encountered many vineyards claiming their wines have great cellaring potential. Sometimes, this is true; other times this proves to be false. I have had two very different experiences with older wines in the last couple of weeks. The first experience was less then positive. I am a member of a wine club, and in my last club shipment I received a 2000 reserve merlot from the vineyard's “library.” This eight year old merlot was probably pushing the limits. I found it to be flat, and overall, very uninspiring. The wine had not gained any real depth or richness. I was very disappointed in this wine.
The other older wine I was able to try was the ‘98 Rosemount Balmoral Syrah. I have also had the ‘01 on many occasions, and this gave me a basis for comparison. This wine had appreciated to new levels with the added few years of maturity. The flavors of the wine become more subtle and the tannins had lost some of their grip. I found this to be one of my best experiences with wine. The complexity and depth of this ten year old wine--to me--makes it worth keeping some wines for a few years just to be able to have this experience again.
If you have the patience and the space to do it properly, cellaring a wine can be a very rewarding experience. However, you must choose the proper wines and store them properly. Here are a few of the wines I am currently cellaring:
2001 Rosemount Balmoral Syrah
2004 Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
2003 Penfolds RWT Shiraz
2004 Rutherford Grove Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
Joe “Wine” Giordano