You are never too old to learn. For over 40 years I have been drinking and tasting wine. (And, yes,Virginia, there is a difference! But that is a story for another day). Yet, one of the great joys is that there are always new discoveries.
Since re-launching The Underground 2 ½ years ago, I am tasting and drinking a lot more young wines. Nearly all of the wines that I evaluate I have at home with food. I taste and drink most of them over the course of days or weeks. And, guess what? The great majority of the wines benefit from being opened. In fact, they actually improve with aeration and time in the bottle. This is the way I think young wines should be tasted and evaluated. A lot of the big numbers scores for wines that are circulated by merchants looking to sell wine are based on tasting the wines out of barrel or from doing massive tastings of hundreds of wines at a time (to read about how these tastings are done click here). For me, most of this is garbage in, garbage out.
Many think that young wine is damaged by being opened and left in the bottle. And, this fear seems to be widespread. But, young wine that is balanced is not like ice. It will not evaporate and go away. Nor will it deteriorate quickly. In fact, the opposite is true. Try these young wines over the course of 3-7 days and make your own impressions. You will be surprised! In fact, a week or two is not too long to keep most young wines in the refrigerator with the cork in. Of course, the lower the fill the less time the wine should be kept. Right now I am tasting and drinking a lot of rosés. Rosés are a prime example of what I am talking about as to when to drink and taste wines. Most people think that if you open a bottle of rosé you have to drink it immediately. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, many keep for several years after bottling and some actually improve and keep well beyond (stay tuned for an article on this soon). And, this is also true for many young red and white wines. For example, think of wines like Sancerre, Riesling, and Beaujolais.
But, there is a solution. Actually, I came up with this years ago. Keep several bottles of white wines, rosé, and low alcohol red wines open in the refrigerator whenever the weather is warm. And, in the Mediterranean climate here where we live in Santa Barbara, that is pretty much year round. Open the wines and drink them together over the course of several days or a week with different foods. What a great experience you will have matching the different wines with different foods and watching the evolution of the wines over a period of time. This really works! You will be surprised! So go ahead. Be adventuresome and give it a try. Better yet get together with your wine friends and open more bottles than you intend to drink and have an assortment of different wines with different foods. Then save the left over wine and come back the next few nights for repeat performances. Life is too short to not enjoy young wines over time. And, yes rosés may be the leaders of this parade, but there is no shortage of others that are marching in step. So strike up the band and enjoy!
In Vino Veritas,