Does wine get better with age? When it comes to this question, I’m sure there are many schools of thought. It may even elicit the response, “Well, that depends…” Personally, I’m of the opinion that most wines made today are time sensitive and should be drunk within five years of their vintage date. However, like so many other wine lovers, every so often I do lay a few bottles down in my “cellar” (a.k.a., a cedar closet in my basement) to see whether they will improve, or just to see if they will withstand the test of time.
Here are three bottles that I recently blew the dust off of to see whether or not they’d kicked the bucket or if they were still showing strong vital signs.
2001 Chateau Thebot Bordeaux (France) - I don’t have a large stash, but France makes up the majority of my collection. This particular wine was awarded the silver medal at Vinalies International 2003 by the Association of French Enologists. Unfortunately, this once good Bordeaux was cooked and finished, not to mention – brown!
2000 Chateau Reignac Bordeaux Superieur (France) – Like many, I took notice of all the accolades that were being thrown around about the 2000 Bordeaux vintage – “the first exceptional year for a new generation in Bordeaux“ (Wine Spectator) and “the greatest vintage Bordeaux has ever produced” (Robert Parker). And like many, I bought some Bordeaux futures that I could afford. One of my purchases was the 2000 Chateau Reignac Bordeaux. This particular Bordeaux received 92 points from Mr. Parker. This wine was once pretty spectacular when I had it a few years ago and only set me back about $20 when I purchased it. Unfortunately, this one also set sail into the sunset. It was showcasing a whole lot of funky unearthly qualities and not a whole lot of lush, ripe fruit that this vintage was known for. It just wasn’t the same wine that I remembered enjoying when it was first released and even when I had it just a few years ago.
2001 Petersons Block One Mudgee Shiraz (Australia) – Petersons is a family owned and operated winery, which has been growing grapes for 37 years and making wines for 27 years in the Hunter Valley. Petersons was named Champion Small Winery of Australia in 2001. This particular Shiraz came from the winery’s Mudgee vineyard which consists of 100 acres of various red varieties that include: Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Durif, Zinfandel, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Chambourcin.
Winemaker’s tasting notes on the 2001 Petersons Block One Mudgee Shiraz:
“The palate is a complex combination of pepper, spicy fruit and cedar. Having spent 14 months in American oak, the fruit, acids and tannins are well balanced and integrated. This wine would also benefit from careful cellaring of 5 -8 years.”
Mission Accomplished! Let me tell you – the tasting notes are spot on! This wine is a total powerhouse and it tastes just as good now. It certainly appears that there’s still plenty of mojo left in this wine’s tank before it hits any downward spiral. I just wish that I had another bottle of this Aussie treat to monitor its evolution!
So maybe my theory doesn’t always hold true, or maybe I just need to store my wine better; but it does give me good reason to drink my wine sooner than later!