A vi­nous ap­praisal

OUR WINE EX­PERT’S VER­DICT ON TWO CHOICE BOT­TLES OF WINE

JJK e-magazine - - WINE TALK -

Is old wine bet­ter than young wine? this is a ques­tion i get asked on a reg­u­lar ba­sis, and it doesn’t ac­tu­ally have a sim­ple an­swer. I was re­minded of this last week in a wine shop, where a French lady asked, “Why are all these Aus­tralian red wines so ex­pen­sive? They are all so young!” Well firstly, the im­port taxes on wine are very high in In­done­sia, which does make wine from any other coun­try more ex­pen­sive than it ought to be. Se­condly, old wine sim­ply is not bet­ter than young wine in many, many cases. In fact, it is es­ti­mated that only 3% of wine on the mar­ket is made to age. Each wine has its own op­ti­mum drink­ing age, and there are a few fac­tors that con­trib­ute to this. If I were to draw a graph of a wine’s lifespan and op­ti­mum drink­ing age from the mo­ment it was bot­tled, it would look a bit like a moun­tain - start­ing low, ris­ing to a peak, and then de­creas­ing again to a low point. If you un­der­stand what ac­tu­ally hap­pens to wine as it ages, you can make a fairly good judge­ment as to its op­ti­mum drink­ing age. The fruit pro­file (on the nose and palate) changes from fresh berries and plums in young wine, to dried fruits, spices and earth in older wine. Which one is prefer­able is re­ally a mat­ter of personal taste. A well-made com­mer­cial red wine that is not ex­pen­sive should have soft tan­nins at a young age so its re­ally fruity young flavours can be fully en­joyed. I like to drink these wines within 2 years. Note that this cat­e­gory accounts for the ma­jor­ity of im­ported red wines in In­done­sia. A more full-bod­ied (and nor­mally more ex­pen­sive) red wine may have tan­nins that are too in­tense to be en­joyed at a young age, and so may be bet­ter af­ter per­haps 3 years. Now that we have that out the way, let’s get on with some wine re­views…

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