Unlocking time in a bottle

Knowing when to uncork is key to enjoying a prize vintage, writes NK YONG

Published Thu, Jun 12, 2014 · 10:00 PM
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IS THIS wine ready to drink? It's a question often asked, or which flashes through the minds of experienced wine lovers. The pundits and books will give you several dicta depending on the type of wine, red or white, and vintage, leaving you quite confused and bemused, but not much wiser. What prompted this week's column was an anguished cry from a fellow wine-lover who could not "resist the temptation" to open a bottle of Rousseau's 2009 Chambertin and found it "really good - my remaining bottles are now in danger!"

Challenging conventional wisdom, I would venture that a wine is ready to drink when you are ready to drink it. But this statement needs to be qualified. The chief concern with the drinkability of a wine concerns the stage of its maturity. You can always drink a wine, however young it is. (The converse is not necessarily true.) It all depends on how you like your wine - fully mature, youthfully mature, or still in callow youth.

What my friend (he of the 2009 Chambertin, Rousseau) had done was to succumb to the temptation to drink a known great wine at this young age. It's normal curiosity. Anyway, it was the first of a full case of 12 so it was "no big deal".

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