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Snooth User: Yukari

Ageability~~~

Posted by Yukari, Oct 1, 2008.

Hello! I'm Yukari from Japan. I've lived in toronto since middle of June.
I start to go to school for wine in toronto for 3 months. However my english is weakness.
If someone knows the word about "Ageability", Please kindly advice me. I don't get exactly this meaning.


Replies

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Reply by Philip James, Oct 1, 2008.

Yukari! Welcome to the site.

Ageability is the same as "callarable" or "lay down" or "will age" etc. Basically, it talks about whether the wine will get better over time, of it the wine should simply be drunk now.

Hope that helps.

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Reply by Yukari, Oct 1, 2008.

Ohhhh! wonderful !!!! Thanks so much.

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Reply by John Andrews, Oct 3, 2008.

Hi Yukari! Welcome to Snooth! You've come to the right place to ask questions about wine. The people here are knowledgeable, friendly and will not make you feel silly for asking a question.

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Reply by Yukari, Oct 3, 2008.

You guys are pretty nice adviser! thanks so much.

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Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Oct 3, 2008.

Hey John,

That is the spirit!

All for wine and wine for all!

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Reply by rsimone, Oct 8, 2008.

I was just having a conversation with a wine store owner about aging california wines, particularly cabernet. The bottom line is that there are so many cabernets that aren't meant to be put down but then you run into the big dogs on wine lists like Cain and Domminus and Dunn which are fantastic. What is the main factor that allows these to live on and not others. Grape quality?

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Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Oct 8, 2008.

There are several factor that determine weather a wine will improve with ageing. One of the fundamental elements of an ageable wine is balance. The balance between the structural elements, tannins and acids, the alcohol and the fruit is fundamental to a wines ability to improve in the bottle since that is really what we are talking about.

Sure there are exceptions, old Califonia Petit Sirahs, 1978 Barolo, 1975 Bordeaux, even California Cabs like the Dunn Howell Mountain and wines from Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyards appeared out of balance due to their impenetrable wall of tannins. Yet these wines had an inherent harmony that took years to be revealed but when the tannins finally melted away what was left was beautiful.

Two elements in modern winemaking have had distinct and adverse effects on the agebility of wine and both stem from the physiological ripeness phenomenon that has pushed winemakers to harvest later. As sugars accumulate in grapes, and the potential alcohol correspondingly increases, acidity decreases.

By harvesting very late many producers end up with high alcohol wines that are deficient in acidity. The alcohol is offset by the immense fruit of these wines while they are young but the acidity is frequently corrected, a fine art indeed that is difficult to master. The resulting wines taste fine in their youth, albeit are frequently big, bombastic fruit bombs. As the wines age and they lose the baby fat of their youth the elements that had been hidden by that lushness of fruit emerge. The wines may begin to taste hot due to the elevated alcohol and the acid that seemed in balance now is starkly obvious. The fundamental lack of balance is revealed.

This began to be a problem in the early to mid 80's in California in particular as a generation of UC Davis trained wine-makers began to practice their technically perfect art. Tons of wines from that time and later have turned out to be difficult to say the least. Big, at the time, producers like Inglenook and Buena Vista for example, who were trying to regain lost luster at the time produced wines that won great favor in the critical press but have turned out to be shrill and thin with cellaring. On the other hand producers whose wines were viewed less positively at the time, for example Burgess and the previously mention Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyards, have evolved and developed into complex, dynamic wines that I am always thrilled to see at the table!

This is potentially a terribly long and complex subject and I've really only just skimmed the surface. I'll make sure I go into more depth in the future but just on a final note, if anyone ever finds a bottle or to of well stored Ridge, Caymus, Edmeades, Montevina, Rutherford Hill, etc. Zin from the late 70's to the early 80's I recommend you give it a try. Made in the days before physiological ripeness was the buzz-word and sold for immediate consumption at very reasonable prices these wines have surprisingly stood the test of time very well and remain as testament to how well a wine can age based simply on it's own raw material!

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Reply by rsimone, Oct 8, 2008.

What about putting down a Ridge 2004 Santa Cruz Cab? Make sense?

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Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Oct 8, 2008.

Depends how long you plan on putting it down for. It's a nice wine, about half Merlot which softens it up alot and gives it more immediate approachability but it should improve in the bottle for about 5 years and then hold for another 5 so it has at least a decade of potential.

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Reply by rsimone, Oct 9, 2008.

I got a fantastic recommendation on a bottle last night and tried it. Totally impressed. From Teatown Cellars, its their "Right Bank Nappa Valley WIne." Blend of Merlot, Cab Franc, Malbec and Cab Savignon. Drank one last night and going to drink the other in 5 years.

Beautiful, Bold and spicy.

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Reply by Eric Guido, Oct 16, 2008.

California Cab has been a bit of a curiosity to me for a while now. I haven't spent enough time getting to know many of the wines but as a collector I prefer to spend bigger on wines that can age and not pay $125+ for a wine I plan to drink in the very near future. I'm sure with time I'll be able to get a grip on producers for the cellar out of Cali but one that I have already started collecting is the Ridge Monte Bello. I find Ridge to have a very high standard and a perfect example of how often wine scores fail.

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Reply by Pymonte, Oct 17, 2008.

As an aside, I love Toronto more than any other city I've been exposed to. Everything is so food-oriented and multicultural, it's like a foodie's dream. The wife and I spent over a grand on food in four days there. Once I feel like I am ready to open a place, Toronto here I come.

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Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Oct 17, 2008.

Monte Bello is an American Classic. If there would be a Bordelaise style classification of California it would have to rank Monte Bello as a first growth. Funny thing is the wines frequently underwhelm in their youth, much like the zins. But boy do they gain in the bottle. Great wine!

Eric, I think you'll find yourself surprised at how inexpensive many great, mature cali cabs are. Buying them young for the cellar is a tough trigger for me to pull!

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Reply by Philip James, Oct 17, 2008.

Eric - I'm a fan of Ridge as well. They do some pretty good stuff at most price points (from $20 to $100)

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Reply by Eric Guido, Oct 17, 2008.

I've put a few of their more structured zins in the cellar as well, really looking forward to them. They also have their ATP (advance tasting program) which really has a lot of great Zins and other varietal wines included. I can't possibly say enough good things about Ridge.

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Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Oct 17, 2008.

Eric, You'll be in for a treat if you can make it. Sometime in the next few months, 4-6. I'll put together a vertical of Geysevilles, Lytton Springs, and Howell Mountain Zins from ridge, early 80's to mid 90's some wines will be over the hillb ut some will rock and shock! Lot's of special wines were made during that period.

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Reply by Eric Guido, Oct 17, 2008.

I'd certainly be up for that. Let me know when it gets closer and how I may be able to contribute.


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