How long to Cellar Wine?

Three major trends have developed that cause the traditional wine cellaring approach to need change.

  1. Under the influence of critics such as the American Robert Parker whose favourable review allows a huge increase in the price charged by the wine maker, many wine makers have “adjusted” their wine making to suit Parker’s palate. This has occurred particularly in Bordeaux – the world’s most prestige collectible cellar region.  The result is wines that are drinkable quite early and whose longer cellaring potential is very questionable. Prior to the 1990’s French reds had higher levels of acid and tannin and needed time to soften.
  2. Consumers including affluent enthusiasts want earlier drinking wines. They are much more likely to evaluate the wine according to their own taste and not look up guides by experts. Their tastes are for juicier fruitier styles – like Parker.
  3. The absolute blue-chips have become extraordinarily expensive – a market driven by wealthy Chinese collectors who are willing to pay very high prices and often collect but have no intention to drink the wine. The movie “Red Obsession” in 2013 depicted this well. Up until the 2000’s First and Second Growth Bordeaux, Grand Cru Burgundies, Grange and others were at prices a little above the tier just below – and the wines were affordable. This has changed with the tier below increasing a little but the top tier increasing to stratospheric prices. The prices are simply unaffordable. There is no matching leap in quality that makes the extra price justifiable.