How long will that wine last?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

This past weekend, I got a chance to spend some time with the lovely relatives of a dear friend of mine. It was around four in the afternoon, and we were coming from a nice brunch at my favorite spot in Absecon, NJ. I knew that I should have picked up a couple of bottles while still in Jersey, as I figured correctly that I wouldn't be making it to a Pennsylvania State Store. As we entered their beautiful house, they did offer us something to drink, to which of course I inquired for something either in white wine or a bubbly. Since they don't normally drink wine, one of the only things that they had was a Pinot Grigio from 2002.

Now, I will state this I was willing to try just about anything, and that even though the wine had turned somewhat, I still managed to slowly sip down a glass or two (even way past its date, it was still better than some other stuff I have had that was produced within the past two years). As they were gracious hosts, and wine wasn't their thing, of course I wasn't going to say something about it. However, this did make me think of all of the people that I know that have wine racks, haven't really learned anything about wine, and have the possibility of having some wine sitting their for years.

Oh, the other choice was a White Zinfandel. Not!!!

As the rule of thumb, white wines don't last [for drinking purposes] more than three years in the bottle. The exception is of course, wines with a higher sugar content, such as some of the wines from the Alsace region of France. Some of these can be aged for over ten years, but there are periods within that timeline where the flavor decreases before it rebounds and becomes better than it would have been if opened not long after release for sale. Dessert wines will always last, especially Port and Madeira wines. An example of a dessert wine would be Sauternes and Tokai. Another exception would be some of the white wines of Haras Estate down in Chile.

Sparkling wines also are great for ageing, but not all of them. Some, depending on the grape won't make it more than a couple of years in the bottle, and this would be for those produced using the Charmat method and not having a high level of sugar.

Red wines are of course the standard for ageing, with wines easily being aged for decades, scores, and even over a century. But of course, not all wines are made to be aged, especially the lesser ones. Of course the most notable for this would be the more full-bodied wines. How do you know? Well, I would say the first thing to do would be to actually do some research with the producer, and with the product notes, that will tell you a lot about the wine, especially for how many years you might want to store it before opening. In many cases, even on the label it will tell you if a wine should be consumed almost immediately or up to the first couple of years after release.

The reality is that you don't want to be that person who breaks out a bottle of a guest or guests and turn what could be a special moment into a frightful one; the drinker's equivalent of getting food poison, or Thanksgiving turkey which is still frozen or cold in the middle!

Wine is a wonderful thing, but there is a proper time to drink it, and a proper time to throw it the hell out.

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Our Mission: The Black Winer strives to expose African Americans [and others] to wines, without the flair, stuffiness, and airs of elitism and snobbery that you get from sommeliers and high level wine enthusiasts. We believe in finding something that you like the taste of, outside of the basic brands that you have been force-fed over the years through a combination of ethnically targeted advertising, and what people in your family have historically been drinking.

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