I have recently bought quite a bit of Australian wine, which I wish to cellar. I have two books - Australian Wine Vintages (the gold book) by Robert Geddes and the latest James Halliday Wine Companion. They are between 5-8 years apart in nearly all of the best drinking dates, although consistently......any advice on which to take?
Conflicting Cellaring Advice
- Reply by napagirl68, Oct 20, 2010.
Yikes... you know what they say about opinions!
Anyway, I always recommend contacting the winery if possible. The winemaker is your best resource of drink dates... not critics. Some wineries have updated drink notes on their webpages. Otherwise email or call.
I am not familiar with the books you reference, so cannot be of help there.
- Reply by dmcker, Oct 20, 2010.
Even the winemakers are prone to err in the direction of brevity. A) they want you to buy more wine and drink it up sooner, and b) they don't want the least possiblity that you'll be storing it in less than optimal conditions, and thus you'll be drinking it after it's reached its peak and thus will form a poor opinion of their wine.
Generally, if the wine is well made with good structure (esp. acidity and tannins), it will age over a longer curve than most anyone recommends. That's assuming optimal storage conditions, of course. However, if the balance is off more towards extracted fruit and lesser acidity and tannins, and the wine was made to be drinkable right out of the gates, then it will not have as long a life. So you do need to know how the winemaker formed the wine. Not that anyone will say offhand that they made a short-lived 'fruitbomb', of course....
- Reply by GregT, Oct 20, 2010.
Go with the earlier dates. I've never had an Austalian wine from any region that really NEEDED aging to be enjoyable. I suppose there may be some, but I'd love to encounter one. There are some that CAN age and perhaps even improve, there are some that can just hold on and will never develop or change, and there are some that crap out if you keep them for too long. But I've never had one that really screamed for more time.
Both Napagirl and D have good points, but there'snothing like your own experience to guide you. So open a bottle right away and see if you really want it to age. Then open another at the earlier date you have, if you think it will improve with more time, wait.
Of the two critics, I think Halliday is the elder and more established. He's tilted at Parker several times and for that, some people think he is de facto better, although that's simpleminded. He's also been trying to push the idea of ageable and serious Australian wine as Americans became accustomed to cheap, fruity wine almost exclusively.