At The New York Times, Eric Asimov discussed how to age wines, including a reference to Rieslings: “….Rieslings, both dry and sweet, often age beautifully….”
When to Open a Bottle: Aging Wine Without the Anxiety
by Eric Asimov, October 22, 2018
The notion of putting bottles away raises fears. How do you know when they are ready to open? Did I wait long enough? Too long? Relax. Bottles that can improve with aging tend to move along a gentle arc, during which they will offer many delicious expressions, from youthful exuberance to middle-age complexity to eventual fragility. Aging wine is an act of hope and optimism, laced with fear and dread.
You dearly want to be rewarded by a bottle that matures from awkward, inarticulate youth to expressive beauty and, eventually, elegant complexity. The fear is of waiting not long enough or too long, of storing it wrong and, ultimately, of missing out on what could have been, or what once was.
Entwined with this anxiety is a misplaced conviction that bottles age toward a momentary peak, then drop away into oblivion. Opening a bottle at the wrong time, many believe, risks missing that special moment. Too often, I’ve seen people unable to enjoy an otherwise delicious bottle of wine because they have convinced themselves that they missed the peak.
Determining which bottles to age and when to open them is among the most puzzling aspects of wine. Misunderstandings can cause misery. The aging question just adds one more layer of doubt to a subject with a seemingly endless capacity to induce angst in otherwise confident people. Every day brings numerous possible pitfalls.
Here is the good news about aging wine: Regardless of what many people assume, there is no single right time to open any particular bottle. Whenever you decide to drink a wine is the right time. If you go about it the right way, it’s hard to make a mistake.
First, it’s important to understand that wine does not age toward an apogee of development, then drop off. Bottles that can improve with aging tend to move along a gentle arc, during which they will offer many delicious expressions, from youthful exuberance to middle-age complexity to eventual fragility.
The best time to open a bottle is subjective. The trick is getting to know your own preferences, which takes a bit of time and effort.
Which stage you prefer depends on the particular wine and, especially, your own taste.
One good method is to buy multiple bottles of an age-worthy wine. A case is great, but six is plenty. Then you wait, sometimes for a long time. Open a bottle in two years, a second in five. Note the path of the evolution and decide which stage you prefer.
The evolutionary path a bottle will take varies, depending on the type of wine, the style of the producer and the conditions of the vintage.
Perhaps more difficult than knowing when to open a bottle is initially judging its aging potential. Track records help to form general estimates.Aging estimates for wine genres are not hard to find on the internet or in wine textbooks…..
The structure, provided by tannins or acidity or both, and concentration, indicated by density of flavor, are the most obvious signs that a wine has what it takes to age. Yet just as important, if not more so, is balance, the sense that all the elements are there in proper proportion.
Knowing which wines to age is not always intuitive, but with a little experience (and a modest bit of research), you can identify good candidates.
Rieslings, both dry and sweet, often age beautifully…..It depends on the intent and methods of the producers…..