JN Wine Blog The Wine Merchant's Blog

Drinking Windows Explained

Posted on 21st August 2017 by JN Wine

Drinking Windows Explained

What is a ‘drinking window’?

A fine wine will have an optimum period of time when it is judged to be at the peak of maturity and therefore ideal for drinking.  This is known as the wine’s drinking window.

What is wrong with drinking a wine outside of this window?

Fine wines, particularly the red wines of Bordeaux and Barolo, take some time to integrate and evolve in the bottle before they are ready to drink.  Too young and the wine can be tannic and dense.  Too old, and the fruit will have faded away and the wine will have lost flavour.

How can you tell when the optimum time for drinking these wines is?

This is where the advice of your wine merchant, critics and wine writers you trust can be very useful. They have the experience and expertise to be able to judge from tasting a wine, even in its youth, when the tannins will have softened, the acidity will be perfectly integrated into the wine and yet the fruit will still be present.  When you read a description of a red Bordeaux it might say “Drink 2016-30” and this will mean that the wine will be at its best during this time. It is not set in stone but offers a useful guide when you are buying or storing wine.  It would be a great shame to invest in some fantastic wine and leave it in the cellar for too long so that it’s past its best.

One wine that is currently drinking well is Chateau Senejac 2011.  2011 was not the most exciting vintage and it is rare to find a Haut Medoc you could describe as thrilling but we unanimously agreed that the Senejac 2011 is a “wow” wine that we would all be happy to serve over supper with friends any night of the week.  It has an impressive nose of blackcurrants and cedar. On the palate it is round and intense with a structure of ripe juicy tannins and a lingering fresh finish. Drink now or keep up to 5 years.


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