How Well Do Wines Hold Up with Time?

Wine Enthusiast Magazine, February 2018

Wine Enthusiast Magazine, February 2018

Last time we looked at the factors that make a wine more capable of bottle aging. And, somewhat surprisingly, there are very few wines that actually hold up well in the bottle, even with proper storage.  So then, what wines do hold up?

The results reported in Wine Enthusiast's 2018 Vintage chart (February 2018) are very revealing. As you might expect, wines from the Bordeaux region of France can hold up very well. And, most of the wines from Bordeaux are still currently at their peak dating back to 1998.  Twenty years!  But beyond that, the vintage guide suggests that wines before 1998 are likely in decline and may be undrinkable.

Then there are the California wines.  Again, as you might expect, Napa Cabernet Sauvignon's are holding up well back to 1994. But, the real surprises come with other wines that just aren't as age-able.  For instance, the Napa and Sonoma Zinfandel's are only showing good back to 2007. Russian River Pinot Noir is showing good back to 2007, while a Syrah from the Central Coast of California is only holding up back to 2010.

So, the key point to remember is that only select wines are really age-worth while most others have a relatively short time that they remain drinkable. This is a lesson that a lot of us learn the hard way. We hold on to really nice wines and wait and wait for that special occasion to open them.  But, as I recently learned, I held some too long. And I'll share that story next time. Until then, Cheers!

Behind the Cork™ - Wine of the Week

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2014 Hess Collection Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon ($65)

Wow! Napa turns out great Cabs, and this is one of them. This blend of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Malbec and 3% Petite Verdot yields a bold yet somehow delicate collection of dark fruit flavors. Its oak aging weaves in hints of chocolate, vanilla and caramel. And the finish. Oh my!  I think it's still going.  This wine has an amazingly long and velvety smooth finish like nothing I've experienced lately.

If you're looking for a great Cab, this one will delight!


Disclosure of Wine Sample Submission:  I received this wine at no cost for review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Sample Provided by Donna White Communications

Behind the Cork ™ - Wines of the Week

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At this point, one would assume that a 2015 Napa Cab is a bit too young to be at its peak. And, while that may be so, this Cab is already terrific. With aromas of plum, fig and raisin, and it's oak aging provides wonderful vanilla and chocolate undertones.

This Cab has unusually bright fruit flavors, is super smooth and easy. This one should only get better with age, which means it will go from terrific now to spectacular with time. 

This is one that is worth getting a case and enjoying a bottle each year to experience its exceptional development. Cheers!


Disclosure of Wine Sample Submission:  I received this wine at no cost for review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Sample Provided by Donna White Communications

Behind the Cork™ - Wine of the Week

2015 The Hess Collection Napa Valley Estate Chardonnay ($22)

 

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This week's feature is The Hess Collection's 2015 Napa Valley Chardonnay. This wonderful 100% Chardonnay features flavors of apple, white pear and a slight touch of tropical fruits and a very slight hint of oak.

The hint of oak is due to 70% of the blend seeing fermentation in Stainless Steel to retain the fresh yellow stone fruit, citrus and pear flavors. The remaining 30% of the blend gets just a light touch of oak, and only 30% of the overall blend is allowed to undergo secondary fermentation. The wine is then aged for 9 months in barrels with lees stirred weekly for 4 months.

The resulting wine is a nice balance that features the crisp fruit flavors with a bit of baked apple, vanilla and caramel.

The Hess Collection wines are family owned, sustainably farmed and dedicated to reflecting a true sense of place.

This Chardonnay is well worth the price and one that you should definitely try. It was a great pairing with pork loin, but would work well with poultry or fish.  But, for that matter, it was great all by itself.

Look for 2015 The Hess Collection Estate Chardonnay. You won't be disappointed!

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Disclosure of Wine Sample Submission:  I received this wine at no cost for review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Sample Provided by Donna White Communications