Okana­gan Wine School Les­son #2: Longevity

Western Living - - FOOD -

Gift-giv­ing sea­son seems like a good time to delve into age-wor­thy bot­tles. In many ways, we live in a post-aging world, where ad­vances in wine­mak­ing tech­nol­ogy mean even pres­tige wines can be en­joyed rel­a­tively young. But if you’re hell-bent on aging, you need to look for the pres­ence of tan­nins in red wine and acid in white. Tan­nins are com­pounds that come from seeds and skins and, when present in high quan­ti­ties, make you pucker when tast­ing wine—they’re the hall­mark of caber­net sauvi­gnon and neb­bi­olo—and while the goal of most modern wine­mak­ers is to soften their pres­ence (to al­low for early drink­ing), when they ex­ist in con­junc­tion with pow­er­ful fruit and spice notes it means that a wine should have the struc­ture to age well. A great ex­am­ple of this is the just-re­leased 2014 The Creek ($55) from Tin­horn Creek, a wine with a tan­nic struc­ture that chan­nels a mid-’80s style of Bor­deaux and that, with any luck, will taste like mid-’80s Bor­deaux in five-plus years. With white, the acid is the pre­serv­ing agent so you want a wine that is very aus­tere early on but will mel­low later. And while the

2012 Sper­ling Old Vines Ries­ling ($32) is de­li­cious right now (it has some man­darin orange notes, which are fes­tive), it has a back­bone of acid­ity that makes me think it will be amaz­ing in 2020. Both bot­tles say not only “I care for you,” but also “I trust you to care for this wine.”

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