March 18, 2022

When is Wine Ready to Drink

Occasionally you will hear of someone with their wine cellar with extensive collections of wine aging while that cellar’s owners waits for the perfect moment to uncork that bottle to savor the investment. This scenario is very far from reality for most wine consumers. There are some wines made for aging, including several Texas Wines. Fellow wine columnist, Andrew Chalk, has written about six Texas Wines that you should age and enjoy later. I have encountered several Texas wines in addition to Chalk’s SIX that should be added to that list of Texas Wines that will age well.
However, the vast majority of wines are meant to be enjoyed upon purchase. With few exceptions, the wines you encounter at SPEC’S, HEB, Kroger’s, and other places where wines are sold are meant by the winemaker to be consumed at the time of purchase. I don’t like the concept of purchasing bottles of vino to set aside to age. I buy wine to enjoy NOW and with FRIENDS! Very rarely do I buy wine to age because it inadvertently gets consumed by accident. When you get down to the last few bottles of wine, you do drink that ONE bottle you were saving. Most American homes don’t have wine cellars. If you have a wine cellar, many people consider you to be either a wine elitist or a status seeker. For me and my adult children, we hardly ever purchase wine to age. Instead, we purchase wine to enjoy that week, but never to consume and savor three or ten years from now.
Most wine purchases these days happen when purchasing the week of groceries at your local Kroger’s or HEB Grocery Store. You would normally plan your meals and hence have an idea of what wines you want to pair that week with your dinners.
For our household, we start sipping on our wines in the early evenings of the day. Those wines are normally white wines like Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, or Viognier. Many of those white wines have screw caps, more specifically Stelvin Screw Caps which are the preferred bottle closure by winemakers for youthful, crisp, fruit-forward white wines. You should automatically know such wines are to be consumed at time of purchase. Roses are also meant to be drunk at time of purchase. Most red wines, particularly those low tannin wines like Pinot Noir, Merlot, Malbec, Carmenere, and Syrah are wines when purchased are meant to be enjoyed near the time of purchase. Some wines like Tempranillo from the Rioja Region of Spain are aged for you in oak for several years Big tannin-structured wines like Cabernet Sauvignon and Tannat could age in some instances if you know the winemaker and how they made the wine. Some people think that price is an indicator of quality and aging capabilities. That assumption of higher priced wines aging well after purchase can be a misnomer. Unless the winemaker says otherwise, when the wine is delivered to grocery stores and wine shops, the winemaker believes you should consume the wine at the time of purchase. Texas does make some wines meant for aging, but those wines like most New World Wines are meant for consumption near the time of purchase! That way you can ENJOY your purchase without having to wait for the aging process to occur.

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