Share

LIFE-SPAN, UNOPENED: As wine ages it usually loses its fresh, forward fruit character. If you loved the delicious fire cracker ripe cherry flavors of the zinfandel you enjoyed last night, then aging it wouldn’t make sense, as the longer you store it, the more of that cherry-ness will be sacrificed. When aged, fruity wines trade in their dramatic fruit flavors for more subtle enjoyable flavors that are hard to describe.

These age-enhanced nuances are the result of the assorted molecules combining and fusing with each other in random ways. Sometimes the aged flavors are refined and gorgeous. Other times, one taste of the formerly fruit forward wine and you will know not to try to age that wine ever again!

How long can you keep a bottle of wine unopened and expect it to be not only drinkable, but better than ever? It depends on how much sugar, acid and tannin is in it. In order to cellar well, at least one of these components in a fairly significant amount is necessary. Sugar lasts forever, to which your 8 year-old jar of honey in your cabinet attests. Sweet wines can  sometimes be aged for years extending into decades. Wines with high acid content retain their freshness for ten years or more. Tannin, a compound found in grape skins and seeds, is the ultimate preservative, so wines high in tannin are built to last.

So how do you know which wines will benefit from aging, and which ones are best enjoyed young? Trust the descriptions of the wine selections from your favorite Wine of the Month Club. Whenever possible, we include each winery’s recommendations.

LIFE-SPAN, ONCE OPENED: An open bottle of wine, well corked and stored upright in the refrigerator, can be expected to stay drinkable for several days, with negligible loss of flavor. Many factors will affect success, including the wine’s recipe, freshness, refrigerator temp, and even liquid level in the bottle. Storage Suggestions: Red wines, 3 – 5 days. Sparkling wines, 1 – 3 days. Whites and rosés, 5 – 7 days. But why wait??

Get Your Giggle Going   Here are a few no whine wine lines that will hopefully give you laugh lines . . .

Drink wine and you will sleep well. Sleep well and you will not sin. Avoid sin, and you will be saved. Ergo, drink wine and be saved!

— A Medieval German saying

If you get a wine hangover, it’s called The Grape Depression.

— A quote by someone who was “overserved”

ROCK POINT — PINOT NOIR – (Vintage 2013, Red) Country: United States  Region: Southern Oregon  Grape: Pinot Noir

Del Rio Vineyards and Winery, the makers of Rock Point wines, is a family run business and home to of one of the finest vineyards in Southern Oregon. Located at historic Rock Point in the beautiful Rogue River Valley, it is just north of Gold Hill, and 15 miles northwest of Medford. The vineyard is situated along the 42nd parallel, at an altitude of about 1,000 feet. The wonderful climate and rocky, well-drained south-facing slopes provide excellent terrain for producing premium wine grapes.

The warm 2013 vintage produced a Pinot Noir with excellent phenolics and a deep red cherry color,  are just two of the many qualities found in this wine selection. The intense aromas of raspberries and cherries are followed by a full body mouthfeel composed of fruits and spices. The finish is slightly tannic; a good indicator of the wine’s aging potential.

Enjoy it now. However, with proper cellaring, it will continue to improve for the next two to five years. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled (50°-60°) with your favorite charcuterie, pizza, burgers, grilled Italian sausages or rich tapas dishes. Ossobuco, roast chicken and medium-aged cheeses all pair well with this wine selection from Rock Point and your favorite Wine of the Month Club.

Rock Point Pinot Noir:

PINOT NOIR — One of the classics of the Champagne region of France, but its greatest claim to fame lies immediately south in Burgundy. In the right place, under ideal climatic conditions, it produces the most velvet-like smooth wines of any grape. Australia and New Zealand offer a climate and location similar to ideal. This finicky fruit is difficult to grow, a challenge successfully met by growers in the U.S. and Chile. With flavor variations from cherries to strawberries, Pinot Noir grapes are rather light in color, low in tannin, with relatively high alcohol. A loner, it is rarely blended.

ONE CHAIN VINEYARDS — THE GOOGLY CHARDONNAY (Vintage 2014, White) Country: Australia  Region: South Eastern Australia  Grape: Chardonnay

The Australian Geographical Indication “South Eastern Australia 1” was entered in the Register of Protected Names on May 1, 1996. It is a vast area covering the entire southeastern third of Australia. This area’s western boundary stretches 1250 miles (2000 km) across the continent, from the Pacific coast of Queensland to the southern ocean coast in South Australia.

One Chain Vineyards is one of the most successful ranges produced by Alliance Wine Australia. With a refreshed, stylish new look and crafted in a thoroughly modern fashion, One Chain Vineyards impresses on quality and delivers on value, raising the bar on the Australian classics. (The Imperial Measurement of One Chain, or 22 yards, which is the length of a cricket pitch, is a nod to sportsmanship of the past.) This wine’s name means you won’t be able to take your eyes off this liquid treasure!

Straw yellow with green tints, the entire 100% Chardonay content is sourced from cooler climate vineyards. Due to the climate and mimimal skin contact during production, the wine is a tangy white that’s crisp, lively and bright. It is a citrus scented wine that’s well balanced, with tropical fruit and melon on the palate before presenting a vibrant, textured finish. Enjoy it young, chilled, with grilled chicken, grilled vegetables, summer salads or shellfish.

The Googly Chardonnay from One Chain Vineyard’s:

CHARDONNAY GRAPES — The world’s greatest dry white grape, it has a split personality, with fruity flavors and aromas that mimic where the grapes are grown. Excellent solo, outstanding with other ingredient grapes. This Australian sampling offers a delicious tanginess.

ONE CHAIN VINEYARDS — THE WRONG‘UN SHIRAZ CABERNET (Vintage 2013, Red) Country: Australia  Region: South Eastern Australia  Grapes: Shiraz, Cabernet

The Australian Geographical Indication “South Eastern Australia 1” was entered in the Register of Protected Names on May 1, 1996. It is a vast area covering the entire southeastern third of Australia. This area’s western boundary stretches 1250 miles (2000 km) across the continent, from the Pacific coast of Queensland to the southern ocean coast in South Australia.

One Chain Vineyards is one of the most successful ranges produced by Alliance Wine Australia. With a refreshed, stylish new look and crafted in a thoroughly modern fashion, One Chain Vineyards impresses on quality and delivers on value, raising the bar on the Australian classics. (The Imperial Measurement of One Chain, or 22 yards, which is the length of a cricket pitch, is a nod to sportsmanship of the past.)

This wine is a stunning garnet red, thanks to its recipe of 80% Shiraz and 20% Cabernet. (Cap management techniques maximize color.) It’s a rich, well balanced example of the Aussie classic blend. Lush black fruits are coupled with touches of woodspice, liquorice and cassis, following through to a delicious velvet finish. Consistently good from vintage to vintage, this wine is meant to be enjoyed young, at room temperature or slightly chilled, with pasta, roast turkey, grilled steaks or sausages on the BBQ.

The Wrong’Un Shiraz Cabernet from One Chain Vineyards: (Wrong’Un?!? Quite possibly the most mis-named wine of all time!)

SHIRAZThe versatility of this beefy black grape is legendary, used in blends and in solo recipes. Only from Australia and South Africa, it produces full-bodied wines, long-lived and fruity, with some of the most intense, distinct flavors and aromas of any red.

CABERNET SAUVIGNON GRAPES — This grape is rich in depth, aroma and color. In this blend, it firms up the structure and extends the long rich finish as no other grape can.

BAUER HAUS — RIESLING (Vintage 2014, White) Country: Germany  Region: Rheinhessen  Grape: Riesling

Rheinhessen lies in a valley of rolling hills, bordered on the west by the Nahe River, and on the north and east by the Rhine. This 20 by 30 mile area is the largest of the German wine growing regions, second only to Pfalz.

Amid the many grape varieties planted there (including the three traditional whites, Müller-Thurgau, Silvaner and Riesling) are several new crossings. Riesling is the finest and best known of Germany’s whites, and this selection from Bauer Haus is a perfect example of why this is true. Made of 100% Riesling, it is a showy straw yellow with green tints in the glass. The profile is that of a well balanced, fruity, semi-sweet wine with natural fruity aromas. With a rich, luxurious texture and fragrant bouquet, a refreshing crispness with subtle notes of apples completes the picture. The fruity character and the underlying slaty acidity add to a harmonious balance in this fine wine.

It is ready to be enjoyed now. Serve Bauer Haus’s Riesling chilled as an aperitif or with cold soups, salads, sauteed soft shell crabs or pan-fried lake perch. A fan of Asian cuisine? Pair it with this wine! Another good match is sauteed chicken breast made with Black Forest Ham and Gruyere.

Bauer Haus Riesling:

RIESLING GRAPES — A classic German variety, it can, if properly handled, produce a wine of tremendous fruit-acidity ratio placing it in a class of its own. It is light in body with low alcohol, yet has intense flavor. When aged, the finest Rieslings develop a zesty, vivid bouquet. It produces some of our most scintillating intensely sweet wines.

About the Author
Tracie Burket
Follow Tracie