De Bortoli Shiraz Viognier 2004, the benefits of cellaring

There’s something to be said for buying a few bottles of the same wine, then cellaring them, and revisiting them at intervals. It’s tremendously rewarding if the wine ages well.

This wine is an example of where I have done this. I can find notes on the same wine back in 2007, when it was three years old, and 2009. Now in 2013 I have retrieved another bottle, and pulled the cork.

The wine has evolved further. It has fresh cherry fruit, some sappy greenness, and a hint of mint. There’s also some apricot from the Viognier still evident. It is in a slightly awkward place, to be honest: there’s some deliciousness, but a combination of sweetness and greenness slightly detracts from the elegance. If I read my previous notes, I liked it a bit more a few years ago.

But the wine is still developing, and is still delicious – I guess it is a question of when you prefer to drink your wines. I would drink this now, and not leave it more than a couple of years. But predicting the ageing trajectory of a wine is a fool’s game, because you can so easily be surprised.

If you buy wines by the case, the deciding when to drink them is a key factor. If I am honest, I buy wines, cellar them, and then too often I rush to drink them because I have left them too long. There is more joy in drinking a wine before its time than drinking one that you know – if you are honest – has passed its best.

I suspect that too many great wines, these days, are drunk too young, while too many modest wines are drunk too late. I don’t know the answer, because it is beyond the ability of most people to see into the future, and give definitive drinking windows.

Overall, though, this is a wine that I’m glad I purchased a few bottles of, because it was a spectacular bargain at around £10 a bottle from UK supermarket Tesco.

4 comments to De Bortoli Shiraz Viognier 2004, the benefits of cellaring

  • keith prothero

    no doubt it will be even better in 20 years

  • maria

    very useful post for me. finally i understand the difference of aging wine in a bottle.

  • Chris Carter

    I was at De Bortoli in 2007 and Paul Bridge (who looked after the Syrah) was one of the best winemakers I’ve ever worked with. I’m amazed it only sells for a tenner in England after the work that was put into it.

  • Also a good reminder on the benefits of making notes each time we taste a wine, most of us think that we will remember how the wine tasted the last time we broached a bottle, but give it a few years and a few hundred wines later and suddenly its not so clear! Your notes from 2007 and 2009 give you a better context with which to taste the wine in 2013 – sounds a bargain at a tenner!

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