When should I drink it? (Too Late / Now / Soon / Later / Never)

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Hi All.
I've been hoarding a few special bottles for a while, but being a bit of a wine novice (does that make me a VinoNovo?), I'm starting to wonder how long they should stay in the bottle (or even whether they've already stayed too long).
Having read through many of the threads in this section, it's clear that there are some very well informed and knowledgeable contributors here.
My hope is that some might be able to shed some light about the appropriate timing for my wines, and maybe start a few arguments along the way...

Please assume 'satisfactory storage', but probably not 'optimal storage'.

The wines are these:
1. Penfolds Grange Hermitage Bin 95, 1987;
2. Henschke Hill of Grace, Shiraz, 1984;
3. Rockford Basket Press, Shiraz, 1989;
4. Wynns Michael, Shiraz, 1994;
5. Chateau Leoville Barton, Bordeaux Blend, 1986;
6. Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste, Bordeaux Blend, 1982;
7. Chateau Leoville Grand vin de leoville, Saint julien, 1983;
8. Glaetzer Amon-Ra, Shiraz, 2006.

Does anyone have any knowledge to share?
Thanks in advance,
J
 

Homer

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There are many who know much more than me on this forum but one thing I can contribute is that if the label recommends an optimal drinking time and you've stored the wine optimally then in my experience letting it go much past that date can be dicey. Just last weekend I opened something that recommended no more than 25 years cellaring and I was past that by a year. It was the oldest and final bottle in a collection and, reading the label, I realised it was going to be touch and go. So after careful cork extraction and hopeful decanting...I knew immediately by the colour that I'd let it run too long. Lesson learned (again).
 

vetrade

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Hi TOOJ. I have thrown out dozens of reds because I held on to them way too long - nothing more frustrating than to pull the cork out of a bottle you've kept for 20 years or more only to find it's undrinkable and not even any good for supping around the BBQ. I've learned my lesson and now the oldest I have are about 10-12 YO. Nothing seems to turn a wine quicker than temperature fluctuations - if not stored at a stable cool temp a spell of hot weather can ruin them in no time.

I'd hazard a guess and say you should start drinking all those wines now because at an average age of about 30 years for most of them it's likely that some (maybe most?) are already in decline.

Edit: Penfolds do have a service where they will check the Grange for you and top it up before re-sealing. Don't know any other details because the few Granges I've had were bought for specific occasions and drunken straight away
 
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snip ...
if the label recommends an optimal drinking time and you've stored the wine optimally then in my experience letting it go much past that date can be dicey.
... snip

Unfortunately only one of the bottles gives any indication of optimal cellaring time.
That's what got me worried in the first place... The Rockford BP 1989 says 10 years! It wasn't even bought until 2008 - 9 years after the stated drinking time!
Maybe that should be the first one to be sampled...
 
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Hi TOOJ. I have thrown out dozens of reds because I held on to them way too long - nothing more frustrating than to pull the cork out of a bottle you've kept for 20 years or more only to find it's undrinkable and not even any good for supping around the BBQ. I've learned my lesson and now the oldest I have are about 10-12 YO. Nothing seems to turn a wine quicker than temperature fluctuations - if not stored at a stable cool temp a spell of hot weather can ruin them in no time.

I'd hazard a guess and say you should start drinking all those wines now because at an average age of about 30 years for most of them it's likely that some (maybe most?) are already in decline.
... snip

Looks like its going to be an interesting Xmas / New Year period then. I hope some of them have survived...
J

...snip
Penfolds do have a service where they will check the Grange for you and top it up before re-sealing. Don't know any other details because the few Granges I've had were bought for specific occasions and drunken straight away

Yes, I saw an advert for this service near home earlier this year, but I was travelling at the time it was on.
 

Wozza

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I had the pleasure of tasting an 85 Grange at a good friend's 60th last month. It was drinking very well 30 years on. The ageing had left lots of wonderful taste layers for you to discover and woo over.

I haven't had the others, but they have some serious pedigree, so hopefully they knock your taste socks off too. Enjoy ...
 

Wozza

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I too have two for this thread:

A 2002 Two Hands Deer In the Headlights - double magnum

A 1999 John Riddoch - magnum

I am thinking of dispatching both at Christmas parties this year. I am pretty confident on the John Riddoch - it looks in great nick - but I am not so sure on the Two Hands (not because it's condition, but purely because of its age and notwithstanding the bottle size).

Many thanks in advance for any helpful advice.

Wozza
 

blackcat20

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I too have two for this thread:

A 2002 Two Hands Deer In the Headlights - double magnum

A 1999 John Riddoch - magnum

I am thinking of dispatching both at Christmas parties this year. I am pretty confident on the John Riddoch - it looks in great nick - but I am not so sure on the Two Hands (not because it's condition, but purely because of its age and notwithstanding the bottle size).

Many thanks in advance for any helpful advice.

Wozza

My understanding is that wine in a magnum lasts longer, as the wine to air ratio is greater.
 
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Edit: Penfolds do have a service where they will check the Grange for you and top it up before re-sealing. Don't know any other details because the few Granges I've had were bought for specific occasions and drunken straight away[/QUOTE]

I won a bottle of Grange which had been through this process. It was rubbish. Unsinkable. Thank goodness I didn't pay real money for it.
I have one grange in my cellar, my daughters bought it for me about 10 years ago. I have kept if in my vintec ever since. I shall probably open it in another 10 years. I collect ( or at least started to) RWT. Only time will tell if that was a smart move :).
I think it's best to buy a minimum of 6 bottles and drink them progressively as they get reasonably close to optimal maturity. I have half a dozen Ilene Hardy Shiraz , which I bought a long time ago now. I'm thinking of cracking one in the next 13 months to see how it's going.
 

TheTravellingWino

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Hi All.
I've been hoarding a few special bottles for a while, but being a bit of a wine novice (does that make me a VinoNovo?), I'm starting to wonder how long they should stay in the bottle (or even whether they've already stayed too long).
Having read through many of the threads in this section, it's clear that there are some very well informed and knowledgeable contributors here.
My hope is that some might be able to shed some light about the appropriate timing for my wines, and maybe start a few arguments along the way...

Please assume 'satisfactory storage', but probably not 'optimal storage'.

The wines are these:
1. Penfolds Grange Hermitage Bin 95, 1987;
2. Henschke Hill of Grace, Shiraz, 1984;
3. Rockford Basket Press, Shiraz, 1989;
4. Wynns Michael, Shiraz, 1994;
5. Chateau Leoville Barton, Bordeaux Blend, 1986;
6. Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste, Bordeaux Blend, 1982;
7. Chateau Leoville Grand vin de leoville, Saint julien, 1983;
8. Glaetzer Amon-Ra, Shiraz, 2006.

Does anyone have any knowledge to share?
Thanks in advance,
J


Hi J,

My two cents worth.

If all the wines have been stored correctly I would be drinking all of them now apart from the Amon-Ra. I'd see that living on for another 5-8 years. Look in to buying an Ah-So. Cork removal contraption recommended to be used on any wines over 20 years of age.

Enjoy them over lunch or dinner with family and friends and report back what you thought of them. I'd be interested to hear how the Basket Press was drinking.


Cheers
 

Buzzard

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If those wines were mine, I would start drinking them right now.

Based on my experience with Basket Press (YMMV) and I have been buying the stuff before it was called Basket Press, I'd be surprised if it wasn't drain cleaner. Sorry to say that and would be very happy to be proven wrong.

Whilst I do have a few wines over 10 years old, including Basket Press, I tend to drink the good stuff at around the 8 or 9 year mark.
I don't have perfect cellaring conditions so don't think it worthwhile to extract that bit extra from a wine only to find it has turned the corner.

I really look forward to your report on the wines.... with photos.
 

BillytheFIsh

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I too have two for this thread:

A 2002 Two Hands Deer In the Headlights - double magnum

A 1999 John Riddoch - magnum

I am thinking of dispatching both at Christmas parties this year. I am pretty confident on the John Riddoch - it looks in great nick - but I am not so sure on the Two Hands (not because it's condition, but purely because of its age and notwithstanding the bottle size).

Many thanks in advance for any helpful advice.

Wozza

I had a couple of 2005 Deer in Headlights magnums from Vinomofo earlier in the year and they were certainly ready to go if not just starting to decline (which I figured they were given they were being cleared out). Not sure if 2002 will be any better and the larger format will help, but I agree - drink asap.
 

RooFlyer

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I'd be a little more optimistic re the Basket Case than Buzz, but I agree, open now! If there's too much for you, family & friends, there are some here who could help. ;)

I think the oldest BP I've had was 16 yo (an early '90s vintage), and it hadn't been stored optimally and it was pretty damn good. Ten years on, who knows?
 

blackcat20

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If those wines were mine, I would start drinking them right now.

Based on my experience with Basket Press (YMMV) and I have been buying the stuff before it was called Basket Press, I'd be surprised if it wasn't drain cleaner. Sorry to say that and would be very happy to be proven wrong.

Whilst I do have a few wines over 10 years old, including Basket Press, I tend to drink the good stuff at around the 8 or 9 year mark.
I don't have perfect cellaring conditions so don't think it worthwhile to extract that bit extra from a wine only to find it has turned the corner.

I really look forward to your report on the wines.... with photos.

Far better to drink too young, than too old.
 
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penegal

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Far better to drink too young, than too old.

An extra 20 mins in a decanter is easier than a time machine for vinegar :p


I do prefer bottle aged wines. As I have regularly posted my usual problem is purchasing outpacing drinking, so I should really brush off my old jeans and do an inventory. I know I have quite a bit which is entering the "urgent drinking" category.
 

RooFlyer

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An extra 20 mins in a decanter is easier than a time machine for vinegar :p


I do prefer bottle aged wines. As I have regularly posted my usual problem is purchasing outpacing drinking, so I should really brush off my old jeans and do an inventory. I know I have quite a bit which is entering the "urgent drinking" category.

Never drink urgently. Share. :mrgreen:
 
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Thanks to all for the advice.
The weight of opinion seems to lean heavily towards the 'Drink Now, but it may be Too Late' end of the spectrum.
Other than the Amon-Ra, which may still have a few years left in it, and maybe the Grange too, it looks like it's going to be a case of suck it and see - maybe good, maybe OK, maybe bad.
So last night we shared the Wynns Michael 1994 Shiraz (I only have a photo I took a few weeks ago when I was pondering the Use-By question:
image.jpg

Fortunately the wine had held together well; silky smooth and a pleasure to drink (I'm sorry that I don't have an extensive descriptive vocabulary for wine...)

So far so good. Hopefully the others will emerge from their glass cocoons as butterflies too.
Happy drinking.
J
 
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