Drink it Now or Keep it?

If in doubt, drink it young! If you are going to age wines then you have to have some information about them. There should be a track record of ageing – look for commentaries on vertical tastings by experts. If you are going to taste the wine and then decide to keep a few for ageing then look for intense flavors, very good balance of flavors and high natural acidity in the wine. Acidity is a natural preservative.

Whether to drink a wine straight away or whether to cellar it is one of the great topics in the wine industry. Consumers are fascinated by cellaring potential. Most consumers do not carry out cellaring – but this does not lessen the interest in the subject.

Wine consumers can be grouped according to how they store wines: –

  • The biggest group of consumers buys wine for short term consumption. Perhaps a few bottles are kept but often a wine is purchased a short time prior to consuming it.
  • A significant group of consumers has a stock of wine on hand – sometimes quite a large quantity. The wines are turned over fairly regularly and wine buying revolves around the availability of a special or discounted price or perhaps the result of a recent holiday trip to a wine region
  • A small group carries out systematic cellaring. This is where you actually are putting wines away to see what the passage of time will do to them to enhance their quality. To do that you have to have multiple bottles and you have to be prepared to try one every now and again to see how they are developing.

Whether a wine drinker is someone who cellars wine systematically or not, the image of cellaring wine is still very powerful. There are some very interesting and amusing anecdotal statistics given by anybody in the industry who serves wine to the public. The first statistic is the most commonly asked question about a wine – namely “Will it age well?” The second statistic is that the vast majority of wines are drunk within a short time of purchasing them! Obviously, the cellaring potential of a wine is being used as a quality measurement – even for a wine to be drunk short term.

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