Dear Good Somm Bad Somm,
I'm a young wine enthusiast interested in experimenting with some mature wines. Unfortunately, they all seem to be out of my price range. Why is that? Is older wine really that much better than younger wine? And if so, what's the big deal???
Dear Aged Obsessed,
While it is true that there has always been an air of mystique around older wines and older vintages can sometimes auction at astronomical prices, it is not the case that ALL wines can or should be aged.
Many wines produced in the new world are specifically designed to drink NOW when they are young, vibrant and fruity. If you enjoy a wine for its generosity and youth, then take full advantage. But certain styles and varietals may, on the other hand, benefit from some aging. Still some fewer, very specific wines may have the potential to be aged for decades and the result can be quite stunning and seductive.
Whichever style you can afford, enjoy!! And the most important thing to remember is that you can drink great wine at any price range IF you do your homework.
Dear Age Obsessed,
To truly understand the difference between young and old wine, you have to think of the wine like a lover. You must also understand that wine and lovers age in the same manner.
A young wine is like a young lover. The fruit is big and ripe. The tannins are firm and stiff. It's entirely hedonistic and when it's finally in your mouth: You are hooked! You want more and more. And it's a cheap date. You buy a whole case! You're poppin' bottles all over the place. You're drinking it in the kitchen, you're drinking it in the bedroom, you drank one in your car!! At the motel by the airport! You call the nanny. She's gotta pick up the kids! Truth is you're drunk on big, full-bodied, high-octane, head spinning grape juice! You wonder if maybe you need to get back into therapy?
Then, when you drain that last bottle dry...and it's time to go back to the liquor store for more, you realize: I don't know if I can do this again!? My tummy hurts. My head hurts. My liver hurts!
You never call that wine back. And it never calls you back either. . .
Now, a mature wine is like a mature lover. You go into it thinking you're gonna get some action, but instead you get buyer's remorse: "It was too expensive." You think "this wine is over 40, is there anything even left?" But what you don't know is that this wine is drinking NOW! It's ready to peak! And you're there to pull that crumbling old cork and go to town!
And when the wine reveals itself to you, you look deep into its soul. It shares with you its complex thoughts and emotions. It's history. Maybe it even tells you the story of a former love who broke its heart. . .and it cries. But you're not jealous. You just make deep, passionate love to the wine and you have tremendous, earth shattering orgasms!
But when you're ready to go again: The bottle is empty. You go to the store for more, but it's sold out! You scour the internet, but it's no where to be found.
You spend the rest of the day sitting on a park bench reminiscing and wondering if you will ever find another wine that perfect ever again. . .