The Cellar: Wines That Get Better With Time

Friday, December 26, 2014


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Buy now, drink later: enjoy grabbing great value wines right now and reap the benefits over time. Photo: Stewart/flickr

Most people who know a thing or two about wine agree that wine is a living thing. Wine evolves, not only through years of bottle aging in ones cellar, but also in the short term beginning immediately after it is opened. If sipped right after it is uncorked, a wine will taste different than if you let it sit and aerate for a bit, and even more different if you try it the next day. This is why I believe that in order to truly get to know a wine it is important that you taste at different stages in its life.

When finances allow I like to buy multiple bottles of the same wine. I usually taste the first bottle over a three hour span and always save a few inches for the next day. I take some notes and wait a year before I open the next bottle. This is a great way of getting to know a wine and I encourage you to do the same, because getting to know a wine is very similar to getting to know a person; it can’t be achieved in one brief encounter.

2007 Château Mont-Redon, Côtes du Rhône

The backstory: This week’s first review is of a red table wine from the Rhône Valley. It consists of 70% Grenache, 20% Cinsault and 10% Syrah, and is made by the world famous producer Château Mont-Redon. The first vines found at Mont-Redon date back to Roman times. They were planted at the bottom of a

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hill, sheltered from the Mistral wind that gave its name to the Mont-Redon property. (In Latin, montem retundum means “round hill”.) Château Mont-Redon is primarily known for its wines that carry the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation, but started making everyday table Côtes du Rhônes in 1980.

The wine: I chose this wine because it is a great example of a wine that takes time to open up. The 2007 Côtes du Rhône vintage is regarded a sleeper and wine experts expect good examples to be able to age for years. Right out of the bottle, the wine was disjointed and tasted almost bitter, but after an hour or so it really opened up. This is a full-bodied wine filled with dark fruits and an earthy element and an acidity that is so characteristic of a well-made Côtes du Rhône. The next day the aromas had diminished a bit, but the flavors were still present. In fact they had turned jammy with hints of a smoky element, becoming even more full-bodied.

2007 Kenwood Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley

The backstory: The popularity of Californian Pinot Noir has exploded in the past decade. In 1989 Californian winemakers crushed approximately 37,000 tons of Pinot Noir, 10 years later that figure had grown to over 156,000 tons. The popularity of Pinot Noir means that virtually every winery now makes one and that they are available across most, if not all, price points. Kenwood produces its Russian River Pinot from grapes grown off River Road where the

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rocky soil and the ocean’s cooling influence create the ideal conditions for growing Pinot Noir grapes.

The wine: This is a nice bottle of Pinot Noir. The wine has a clear, light garnet color. Two hours after opening the aromas are still tight, but I detect a nice earthy component with nice hints of red cherries. On the palate, the intensity is pronounced, especially on the mid-palate. There alcohol seems a little high in this wine. I can detect a little heat in the back of my throat, but it has gorgeous sour cherries, a little spice and a substantial minerality. The tannins and oak are integrated nicely and makes for finish that is clean and long. 


Steffen Rasch is a Certified Sommelier and Specialist of Wine. Feel free to email him at [email protected] with any wine-related question or learn about wine in person by signing up for one of his tastings through the Providence Wine Academy.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on October 19, 2012.


Related Slideshow: Rhode Island’s Best Wineries

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