Drinking Outside The Box

With Simon Woods – wine for people who have a life

Shirley Temple wines August 8, 2009 at 10:53 pm

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Just added four Spaniards, two Portuguese and two Aussies to the First Taste section (they’re all here). Currently sipping one of my favourites from the new additions, the 2006 Coca i Fitó Montsant, and thinking about whether full bodied red wines need to be ageable in order to be considered great – I’ve heard such an opinion voiced more than once. As I mention in the notes, I’m increasingly of the belief that some wines are at their best when they’re young. If the fruit’s very ripe and there’s not a huge amount of acidity, they often start to get a bit wobbly with age. Yes, there’s usually some tannin there to offer a little backbone, but as whatever freshness there was in the fruit recedes and turns raisinny, that tannin is often not enough to prop up the middle aged spread.

Wine being the confounding, confusing and compelling topic that it is, I’ll probably change my mind again in another five years. But for the moment, my view is that many serious wines, usually those tipping the scales at 15% alcohol and above, are not long-term prospects. And in an age when few people have the time/space/inclination/money to store wines for any length of time, is that such a bad thing?

(I’m reminded of what a US winemaker once said to Berry Bros & Rudd’s erudite gingernut Jasper Morris MW. The floppy-haired one had asked said winemaker when he thought his Pinot Noir was at it’s best. ‘At six months.’ came the reply. ‘What, six months from bottling?’ ‘No, six months from vintage…’)

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