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Snooth User: therealsnowman

Hello Snooth! theRealSnowman here

Posted by therealsnowman, Jul 30, 2014.

I have been an enjoying  wine for many years now, and do not even pretend to know about wines. I just know what I like and always experiment with something new. However I was hoping that maybe I could get some expert advice on this site, since viewing the site it appears that there are many knowledgeable readers here. As I have  said earlier , I have been enjoying wine for sometime now, and when I find a wine I like, I do tend to buy extra bottles. My problem is 1) how long will they stay at their prime, and 2) would there be a website or a guide book that would be able to supply that kind of information. I know you should drink... no wine ..before it's time......but I am uncertain of when it's time runs out. Looking forward to any and all comments. Wishing you a wonderful summer of wine and sunshine.


Reply by dvogler, Jul 30, 2014.

Welcome Snowman,

I think there probably is some database, but the problem is there are way too many wines.  Take Snooth for example, someone has to upload information about the wine first.  I live in BC and although there are lots of BC wines listed on Snooth, there are many that aren't.  Basically, most wine is intended to be enjoyed immediately, but as you do, I like to get a few and try one a year later and see how it evolved.  There are Bordeauxs and some Italians that certainly can sit for a LONG time.  Unless it's one of these, I wouldn't sit on any wine more than six to eight years past the vintage date, at least without trying one and deciding where it is.  I opened a Catena Malbec a few weeks ago that was 2001 and it was dead, like drinking water.

I think you're on the right track.  I wouldn't worry about them going bad.  Just don't sit on them for a decade! Enjoy your summer too!

Reply by EMark, Jul 30, 2014.

Snowman, welcome to Snooth.  We look forward to hearing about your wine adventures.

As you might expect, the question you have asked does not have a simple answer.  Let me just ramble (sounds better than pontificate) here a bit.

Wines are different.  That alone eliminates the opportunity for a simple one-size-fits-all answer.  As friend DVogler states most wine can be enjoyed the minute you buy it.  You don't indicate where you live or what wines you particularly enjoy, but if you are drinking North American wines you can substitute the word "most" in the previous sentence with "vast majority."  In general, red wines are more age-worthy than white wines.  Of course, that sentence is not true in all cases.  There are fans here who rhapsodize about aged white Burgundy, or oxidized (yuck) white wines from Spain.  High sugar white wines--e.g., Sauternes, Trockenbeerenauslese, Tokaji Azsu--can age for decades.  Even with my generalization that red wines are more age-worthy than whites, the fact of the matter is that if you look at all the wine that is produced and sold, the average wine is, well, average.  If you assign it space in your storage, when you take it out and drink it, it is going to be average.  It will not be transformed into some sort of transcendental experience.  (Believe me, I have a lot of experience with this latter case.)

For argument sake, let's say you have a wine that will benefit from storage--many Napa Valley Cabernets would fit into that category, many Bourdeaux, many Barolo, many Burgundy.  You want to know how long to store it.

OK, I'm going to answer your question directly.

Go to some internet search engine and type something like "wine drinking windows."  A "drinking window" is some expert's declaration of the time when a given wine will peak.  So, you may find that the drinking window for the Ace Wine Company 2010 Diamond Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon is 2016-2020.  Somebody feels that this wine will be at its best in that time frame.  If 2021 arrives do you have to pour your unopened bottles of Ace 2010 Diamond Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon down the drain?  The answer to that question is, of course, "No."  The downhill slope of a wine is at least as long as the uphill slope.  

Now he question is, "How do you know these people pronosticating these drinking windows are experts?"

The answer to that question is, "Because they say so."

Drinking windows are estimates.  Are they informed estimates?  Beats the heck out of me.  On the other hand, they are interesting.

Now, here's the other thing.  While storing wine in the proper environment can result in very pleasant improvement in the wine, the operative words here are "proper environment."  Wine likes to be stored in cool, relattively dark places.  Poor storage--warm temperatures or radically varying temperatures--will destroy the wine.

I have definitely rambled here, Snowman.  I hope I haven't frustrated you.  Please come back and ask more questions.  Tell us what wines you enjoy.  We all love bantering about our favorites.

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