Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Where To Buy Aged Wine

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Library Wines From Wineries

Home Aged Wine, âAgedâ? Webisode 4 / Oak Bottle Aging

Library wine, back vintages, and late release are terms wineries use to describe vintages available for purchase after they might normally be released. Some wineries hold back 1-2% of each wine they make for release later to their loyal customers as library wines .

Others, particularly in Bordeaux where theres a culture of selling their wine as Futures, will hold back their entire release until its ready to drink. And still others release wine in regular tranches, often 10 years after their first release, or in the case of Dom Perignon P2 and P3 , when the Champagne has taken an evolutionary step forward in its aging process.

For aged American wine, sometimes youll find these library selections on wineries websites, and sometimes youll only hear about them in the tasting room, if youre on their email list, or if youre a wine club member .

Where Can I Try Vintage Wine

If you dont happen to live near Augustine Wine Bar, theres still hope. Finding vintage wine has never been easier, thanks to our all-internet-everything world, along with a surge in online wine buying during the pandemic. And the stuff has never been more popular, says John Kapon, chairman of the wine auction leader Acker Wines, who tells me his auction house is doing record numbers. Weve had just a huge year, says Kapon. The market for vintage wine is up 20 to 30 percent. If youre fortunate enough in this life to be looking to purchase bottles of the worlds rarest, most expensive wines, Kapons auctions with Acker are your playground.

For the rest of us, approachably priced vintage wines have never been easier to obtain. Online sellers, such as Max Kogod of LAs Kogod Wine Merchant, offer those interested in trying vintage wine a way to do it as easily as buying anything else these days you can even search by specific vintage on Kogods website, which he says accounts for about 40 percent of his total sales. I recently scored a 1990 Au Bon Climat chardonnay from him for less than $100, and it made for lovely spousal birthday drinking, made all the more special by the recent passing of Au Bon Climats visionary founder, Jim Clendenen.

Vintage wine tastes like the wine itself, with an added wrinkle of mystery and quantum complexity.

Sulfites Corks And Oak

Natural byproducts of the winemaking process, sulfites are added by some winemakers during fermentation, when a wine is in barrel or at bottling.

Sulfites have a three-fold effect, says McClellan. First of all, they protect from microbial damage. Second, oxygens chemical reaction is retarded by sulfite addition. Finally, your tannin polymerization is inhibited.

Increasing sulfites can substantially enhance a wines ageability, by inhibiting the effects of oxygen and tannin development. Their antimicrobial properties also play a role.

Squeaky cleanliness helps wines age really well, says Figgins. It really does.

A bottles closure also impacts aging potential by allowing more or less oxygen in. With newer, alternative and synthetic closures, winemakers can control the amount of oxygen transfer that occurs in the bottle, helping to accelerate or slow a wines development. Traditional natural cork also allows oxygen transfer, but with variability, as no two corks are alike.

Oak aging, lees contact and residual sugar can also make wines oxidize less quickly.

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Domaine Dugois Vin Jaune Arbois

Price: $44.99

In 1973, Daniel Dugois bought two hectares of vineyard and a house equipped with wine cellars in a village called Les Arsures, where he was born. He cultivated the vineyard and sold his production primarily to Henri Maire, one of the most prominent…

Available At: Hollywood, Main Warehouse, San Francisco

Bonny Doon Le Cigare Blanc Reserve

Aged Red Wine Vinegar

Price: Hidden

Wine Enthusiast “Ripe aromas of pear flesh and yellow-apple slices meet with a hint of butter and lots of chalk on the nose of this blend of 67% Grenache Blanc and 33% Roussanne. The palate offers grapefruit-skin, nec…”

Available At: Hollywood, Redwood City, Main Warehouse, San Francisco

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Where To Buy Aged Wines

My friend and I have only recently begun getting into wine and for Christmas I wanted to get her a bottle of something nice from 1983 despite it possibly being past its prime.

I tried to do my homework, being the novice that I am, and came across a bottle of LaJota Cabernet Sauvignon that was rated at the time of sale at 90 points by wine spectator. I found this on wine bid and on Sunday night at the last minute I was outbid by one dollar.

My friend has recently expressed interest in Cabernet particularly, but really any birth year wine would probably be ok since she hasnt really decided on favorite varietals or anything.

Ive called around to several liquor stores to see if they aged wines in their cellars. Is there anywhere other than bidding online to find wines that have been aged for that long in proper conditions?

P.S. I am in the Milwaukee/Chicago area.

Thanks in advance.

Hanzell Estate Sonoma Valley Chardonnay

Top Pick

Price: Hidden

94 points Jeb Dunnuck “Showing beautifully, the 2015 Chardonnay offers a touch of maturity in its caramelized peach, pineapple, flora, and toasted bread-like aromas and flavors. Medium-bodied and beautifully textured on the…”

JD: 94 RP: 93 WE: 92 W& S: 90

Available At: Hollywood, Main Warehouse, San Francisco

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Aging Suggestions For Common Types Of Wine

  • Beaujolais 0 to 3 years
  • Beaujolais Nouveau drink as soon as possible
  • Bordeaux, Red 5 to 20 years
  • Bordeaux, White 4 to 10 years
  • Cabernet Sauvignon 5 to 15 years
  • Champagne, non-Vintage 0 to 2 years
  • Champagne, Vintage 5 to 10 years
  • Chianti 0 to 7 years
  • Chardonnay 0 to 5 years
  • Merlot 2 to 8 years
  • Gewurztraminer 0 to 4 years
  • Pinot Noir 0 to 5 years
  • Port, non-vintage, tawny, etc. 0 to 5 years
  • Port, Vintage 10-20+ years
  • Rioja 4 to 10 years
  • Riesling 3 to 20 years
  • Sangiovese and Barolo 5 to 10 years
  • Sauternes and other sweet whites 5 to 15 years
  • Sauvignon Blanc 0 to 2 years
  • Shiraz 5 to 12 years
  • Vouvray 0 to 5 years
  • Zinfandel, Red 5 to 10 years
  • Zinfandel, White 0 to 1 years

This is just a guide, every winery has different methods, and low-quality wines wont last as long as high quality wines of the exact same type . Wines from good years last much longer than wines from poor years. For example, the recommended aging period for Red Bordeaux is 5 to 20 years. But, a Premier Crus chateaux from this region can produce a wine that improves for 30+ years in a good vintage. You can get more specific aging recommendations from various online resources like Wine Spectator, merchant websites, or wine guides in paper or digital form.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the best types of wine to store, but its enough to start your collection.

Grapes And Regions To Look Out For

What to Watch for When Bulk Aging Wine

If a bottle ticks all the above boxes, theres a good chance the wine inside has been aged in optimal conditions. But this doesnt ensure the wine inside was capable of aging in the first place. Next up is assessing the wine itself.

Levels of acidity, sugar for white wines, and tannins for red wines are among the most important factors influencing whether a wine can age or not. Certain grape varieties are better suited to aging. For white wines, these include Riesling and Chardonnay and ageable reds include Cabernet Sauvignon, Nebbiolo, Tempranillo, Syrah, and Pinot Noir.

The likeliness of improving with age further increases when the grapes are grown and vinified in the regions theyre traditionally associated with. That means Riesling from multiple German regions and Alsace, and Chardonnay from Burgundy and Napa. For reds, look for Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa and Bordeaux, Nebbiolo from Piedmont , Tempranillo from Rioja and Ribera del Duero, and Pinot Noir from Burgundy.

Even if a wine is made using these varieties and in these regions, theres still no guarantee it will be capable of aging. To provide further assurances, Torrence recommends targeting bottles from reputable producers. If theyre producing high-quality wines now, he says, theres a high chance they were also doing so 15 or 20 years ago.

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Aged Wine From Retailers

There are different kinds of wine retailers and which ones are worth buying aged wine from requires a closer look.

For starters, I would not buy aged wine from just any old wine shop because odds are good the conditions for storage/aging were not appropriate. How many wine stores have you been into that have big, bright picture windows streaming UV light into the store? Or wine stores that arent 55 degrees inside? Most of em, right? Hopefully these places have proper storage in the back or the basement, but you really cant be sure how a bottle youre looking at was treated or how long its been on the shelf.

So which retailers should you buy aged wine from? Lets start with the difference between aged wine and back vintages. While technically the same thing, theres an important difference between the two.

Back vintages are wines that are not the current release. A retailer who has older wine in inventory may have purchased more than he was able to sell through before the new release came out. He may keep these back vintages indefinitely until they sell out , but I wouldnt expect to see something more than 5 years old kicking around.

Shop our trusted selection of back vintages by region and grape from online retailers.

There are three online retailers I recommend for acquiring aged wine based on how they source their wine, how they store their wine, and the selection of wines they carry.

What Are The Best Wines To Age

Wines with the best structure age the most gracefully. And since structure is usually imparted by tannins, which are in turn imparted by grape skins, stems, and seeds during maceration, those tend to be red wines. You can learn more about the fermentation of different wine varietals by picking up some of the best wine books available.

Here are some of the best wines to age , followed by a wine aging chart for easy reference. Keep in mind that each producer and vintage is different, and that the vast majority of wines bottles sold are meant to be enjoyed before theyâre five years old. But of those that arenât, here are some general guidelines to get the best aged wine you can. Never age cooking wine, it’s not worth the time investment as you’ll burn it off during cooking anyway.

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De Belcier Castillon Ctes De Bordeaux

Top Pick

92 points James Suckling “Chocolate, licorice and plums. Some mint and candied violets. Intensely juicy and full-bodied on the palate with pure dark fruit and lots of new wood. Big and structured with firm, yet ripe tannins th…”

JS: 92

Available At: Hollywood, Redwood City, Main Warehouse, San Francisco

Louis Brochet Alain Millesime Brut Champagne

Glenfiddich Age Of Discovery 19 Year Old Red Wine Cask ...

Price: $39.99

This blend of 2/3 Pinot Noir and 1/3 Chardonnay comes exclusively from the Brochet families estate in the premier cru of Ecuiel on the mountain of Reims. It is dosed at just five grams per liter and sees 10% barrel fermentation. This exceptional…

Available At: Hollywood, Redwood City, Main Warehouse, San Francisco

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How To Know If A Wine Will Age

The number one question I get from our consumers is, When should I drink this? says Figgins.

It can be a difficult question to answer.

I dont think you can point to any one factor, says Smith. Its always the sum of the wine that makes the difference. Is there tannin? Is there acid? Is there fruit?

There is also a human factor in determining when a wines best to drink.

I start playing 20 questions, says Smith. You have to know as much about the consumer as the wine to actually answer that question.

McClellan suggests an experiment to assess a wines ageability. Open a bottle, have a glass, and then come back and taste it at 24 and 48 hours.

If you can be 48 hours with some oxygen in there and the wine still has freshness, thats a useful piece of data, says McClellan. He notes that maintaining a temperature between 6568 is important.

Figgins recommends another approach.

The funnest part of drinking aged wine is not just saving your whole case for that magic year when its at its apogee, he says. Drink a wine through its youth. Keep notes. Drink some at five years old. Drink some at 10. If you find where you feel like its in the sweet spot, then get after it.

Is It Worth It To Age Wines Anymore

My greatest wine dreamand I’ll bet it’s yours, toowas a wine cellar. Not just the actual cool-temperature space, but one that was filled. I dreamed of a cellar so full that I could easily forget about whole cases of wine for years at a time, the better to let them age to a fantasized perfection.

That dream came true. It took me yearsdecades, reallyto achieve. And it cost me a disproportionate amount of my limited and precious discretionary income, especially when I was only just starting out as a writer. I was motivated, obsessed even, by a vision of what might be called futuristic beauty. How soaringly beautiful it would be in 15 or 20 years!

I wasn’t wrongthen. But I wouldn’t be right for today. What’s changed? Surely me, of course. I’ve had decades of wine drinking to discover that my fantasized wine beauty only rarely became a reality. But I had to find that out for myself. And I’m glad I did.

But it isn’t all personal, either. In recent years it’s become obvious that an ever greater number of wines that once absolutely required extended aging no longer do.

Simply put, most of today’s fine winesnot all, mind youwill reach a point of diminishing returns on aging after as few as five years of additional cellaring after release. Stretch that to a full 10 years of additional aging and I daresay you will have embraced fully 99 percent of all the world’s wines, never mind how renowned or expensive.

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Bodegas Casa Juan Seor De Lesmos Gran Reserva Rioja

Price: $59.99

Finally, the great 2010 Gran Reserva from our favorite Rioja winery has arrived! As is the case with so many other great spots in Spain, Bodega Casa Juan is located opposite the village church, in the beautiful walled pueblo of Laguardia. The…

Available At: Hollywood, Redwood City, Main Warehouse, San Francisco

Store Your Wine Collection

How much is a bottle of Petrus?

In Canada, Iron Gate operates a 6,000sf subterranean storage facility in midtown Toronto and a purpose but facility in Vaughan, north of Toronto. We store in excess of 120,000 bottles of wine PLUS all the wine that Iron Gate Wines LLC is offering for sale. Full details on how to store your wine in Canada can be found by clicking HERE.

We also offer storage through our partner Buffalo Wine Storage, a Upstate New York wine storage facility . The primary drivers for this upstate New York wine storage service are Canadians looking to slowly repatriate wines they have in the US back to Canada, a small amount at a time and Buffalo, New York area collectors who require storage during home moves and times of renovations. Buffalo Wine Storage is also available for all clients of IronGate.Wine who wish to hold their purchases for shipping at a later date. On request we can also hold your purchases from other partner retail wine stores that you purchase from around the United States.

Please contact Warren Porter at 416-234-9500 x3 or to discuss your specific application.

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Controlling The Rate Of Oxidation

At the end of the day what is aging? Its a process of oxidation, says Chris Figgins, president and second-generation winemaker at Leonetti Cellar in Walla Walla, Washington.

To age over decades, a wine needs to have components that slow its oxidation and allow the wines elements to evolve in harmony. Tannins and acidity are two of the most important of these components.

Tannins provide structure and add oxidative capacity. The more tannin, the slower a wine will oxidize. Acidity brings backbone and freshness to wine, but it also has an antioxidant effect, similar to how squeezing fresh lemon or lime onto guacamole keeps it from turning brown.

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However, its not just simply a matter of having these components, but rather getting them in the right proportions.

You can argue yes, the more tannin the better, the longer lived, says Casey McClellan, who founded Seven Hills Winery in Walla Walla in 1987, before retiring earlier this year. But is the wine worth drinking at any point in its life?

Whats So Special About Vintage Wine

Well-aged wines reveal layers of taste and vision that are not only delicious but fascinating, say Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher, the wife-and-husband writing team who wrote about wine for the Wall Street Journal for more than a decade. Its similar to a person. The 16-year-old version and the 40-year-old version are the same person. The older one should display well-earned wisdom in its maturity while allowing you to sense extra soul that had been underneath the youthful vigor. Well-aged wines show you more of who they really are.

Okay, but theres also some science to this. As a beverage, wine is second only to coffee in terms of chemical intricacy. There are a lot of complex chemical changes that occur in a wine as it ages, involving phenols, alcohol, esters and other volatile compounds, says the wine writer and author Peter Liem, an expert who specializes in sherry and Champagne. In terms of what that means for us, this affects color, aroma, and flavor as the wine moves from fresh, primary fruit to a quieter and more secondary evolution that develops with age. It doesnt always mean that the wine is necessarily better, writes Liem, adding: Whether a wine is at its best when its young, old, or somewhere in between is often very much a matter of personal preference. But if you do appreciate the character and complexity of mature wine, the only way to achieve that is through time.

The vast majority of wines are meant to be drunk right away.

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