Time in a Bottle

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Time in a Bottle

Postby Isaac » Thu Jun 15, 2006 8:34 pm

Interesting article from the SF Chronicle.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.c ... JBP081.DTL

Overall, I got the impression that it was trying to discourage people from aging wines. However, I was not convinced.
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Re: Time in a Bottle

Postby Dave Moritz » Fri Jun 16, 2006 5:06 pm

Isaac:
I took a look at the article and perused a couple of the links. Yes, I came away with the same reaction that you did concerning the article's discussion of the advisability of aging wine. With a small boatload of cab, nebbiolo and riesling aging in my basement, you could say that I've got a vested interest in the outcome of this question! Like you, I found the article's argument not entirely convincing.

One of the links brought up a point concerning a general diminution in tasting ability and a shift in preferences toward sweeter flavors in wine after one reaches the age of 60. This is a very intersting assertion, the likes of which I've not seen discussed on this forum. I suspect that there at least a few forumites here who could shed light on this potential topic of discussion.
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Re: Time in a Bottle

Postby Jenise » Fri Jun 16, 2006 7:43 pm

One of the links brought up a point concerning a general diminution in tasting ability and a shift in preferences toward sweeter flavors in wine after one reaches the age of 60. This is a very interesting assertion


Dave, having been very close all my life to a grandmother who died at the age of 92, I can vouch for this. Not that she drank wine, she didn't, but she went from enjoying all kinds of foods in her 60's to being unable to enjoy anything that wasn't salty, sweet or fried two decades later. Anything that wasn't excessively sweet was "sour". Anything that wasn't salty was "tasteless". And anything that wasn't a food she remembered was unwelcome.

That last part might be quite significant, beyond just mere ability. Sense-memories connect with feelings of pleasure, comfort and security. It probably becomes more important as we age to repeat the experiences that made us feel loved/needed/desired/fulfilled in our past, and adding more sugar and salt might be reinforcement as much as anything.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Time in a Bottle

Postby Isaac » Fri Jun 16, 2006 9:37 pm

Interesting, Jenise. That ties in with my mother complaining that the bubbly I chose for my daughter's wedding last summer (Argyle 1999 Brut) was "sour".
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Re: Time in a Bottle

Postby Covert » Sat Jun 17, 2006 9:16 am

Isaac,

Regardless of the slant, I learned a couple of things on the links. Thanks.

The most surprising thing I learned was how Mark Squires' mind seems to work - or not. You might think he was kidding. He seems to be a burlesque of Parker's most questionable opinions. Glad I never bothered with that site.

The biggest omission was the fact that you can consult experts, such as Parker, to get a pretty good idea of how long a particular wine will last in good condition. The articles also didn't mention some of the techniques, besides the obvious appreciation of tannins, acid and fruit concentration, that permits experts to determine how long a wine will last.

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Re: Time in a Bottle

Postby Covert » Sat Jun 17, 2006 9:30 am

Jenise,

I hope you are right. I am well past 60 and haven't yet liked sweetness more than I did as a young person. In fact, I have stopped putting sugar on cereal.

The worst part of my life was my childhood. Not looking to repeat it. Same with my wife. We didn't have kids in part because we didn't want to be responsible for subjecting another human being to the stupidity and insanity that comes out of an underdeveloped brain - or subjecting a kid to the torture of us having to control it with outdated techniques from outdated values and models.

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Re: Time in a Bottle

Postby Carl Eppig » Sat Jun 17, 2006 10:06 am

Both wife Beverly and I are well over 60 and have experienced no change in our preferences for wine or anything else we eat or drink other than that rising from curiosity.
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Re: Time in a Bottle

Postby Thomas » Sat Jun 17, 2006 10:25 am

Yes, that article was too general, although I did not get how the author was recommending not to age wines, but rather that you not age wines if you don't know what you are doing, to which I agree.

In any case, the idea that as people age they lean toward sweeter foods seems too much of a generalization too.

I am not "well past 60" but on the downside of it, or is 61 in a few days the upside? All my life I have had a less than tepid relationship to sugar--I used to suck lemons when I was a child. So far, I've noticed no inclination to change that preference.

One thing that is happening as I get older: I don't believe most of what is passed along as information :)
Last edited by Thomas on Sat Jun 17, 2006 1:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Time in a Bottle

Postby Covert » Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:59 am

After reading the other posts, I realize that I should not characterize myself as "way" over 60. I'll be 63 in October. 63 is a heck of a lot older than 60, but the term 'way' would generally mean late 60s.

I've read that taste buds begin dying in one's 70s (I'm assuming that olfactory nerves do too). I am hoping that I don't notice a diminution before then.

On another note, since I am using any excuse to take a break from my work this morning, we drank a bottle of '97 Leoville Poyferre at camp last night. The nose was quite evolved and very nice; but the taste was starting to dry out just slightly. I believe Mr. Parker was probably correct in pegging the plateau end at 2007; even though I am sure I would enjoy the wine much further along than that; it just is losing its quality a little. There really is a difference between 2nd and 3rd growths in overall class. Second growths are great in that they offer class without the formality of the first growths - maybe akin to the feeling of sitting next to a famous movie star in her bathrobe in the morning looking out at the lake, before she gets all fixed up. Can't say because I have never done it.
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Re: Time in a Bottle

Postby Thomas » Sat Jun 17, 2006 1:17 pm

Well Covert, you are 63 and still going to summer camp--that's staying young...
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Re: Time in a Bottle

Postby Covert » Sat Jun 17, 2006 2:03 pm

Thomas,

Thanks. You have given me an excuse to brag about my father. In the '30s, I believe he broke the world record for shortest time to climb Mount Washington, in New Hampshire. This week, at 87-years-old, more than 70 years later, he hiked up about half of it and told me he plans to go back soon and scale the whole thing, again. Here's an excerpt from his email message to me earlier this week.

"Monday morning, early, Jean and I left Hanover and drove over to Pinkham Notch and got a room there. Just after lunch I started up the trail to Hermit Lake (at the base of Tuckerman Ravine). It is 2.4 miles and about 2500 feet of elevation above the notch. I carried a small pack with water and extra clothes. I was climbing easily and was about a third of the way up when I met a young man (Cody Coeckelenbergh, 23) who was coming down. He was a couple of inches taller than I and very personable. He decided to climb back up with me and we were talking all the way up to Hermit Lake. I was amazed that I never got the least bit out of breath."
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Re: Time in a Bottle

Postby Dave Moritz » Sat Jun 17, 2006 8:36 pm

Jenise:
Nice of you to pass on a good set of observations and understanding of your grandmother! I'd not thought of the importance of sense-memories and associations as you described them. I bet you were sad to lose her.

Regarding the content of my diminishing cellar when I reach a more advanced age, I suspect that it'll contain more German reisling than anything else. This would be consistent with my earliest wine experiences and with your grandmother's preference for things sweet and salty. Now as far as a greasy taste in wine goes - well, I just don't know which wine would fill that bill!!
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Re: Time in a Bottle

Postby David M. Bueker » Sat Jun 17, 2006 9:06 pm

I can't believe in the general applicability of the "sweetness after 60" thing. Several of the guys in my regular tasting group passed that threshold and only wanted dry wines. In fact two of them sold their wines with residual sugar to me.
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.
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Re: Time in a Bottle

Postby Isaac » Sat Jun 17, 2006 9:36 pm

The biggest omission was the fact that you can consult experts, such as Parker, to get a pretty good idea of how long a particular wine will last in good condition. The articles also didn't mention some of the techniques, besides the obvious appreciation of tannins, acid and fruit concentration, that permits experts to determine how long a wine will last.

Those are things I would very much like to see discussed. Being decidedly a non-expert myself, I'd like to learn how to identify wines that will age gracefully before it's too late for me to enjoy them, as in, "Is he planning on drinking that himself?"

Besides, I'm not averse to putting away a few for my daughters.
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Re: Time in a Bottle

Postby Isaac » Sat Jun 17, 2006 9:39 pm

All my life I have had a less than tepid relationship to sugar--I used to suck lemons when I was a child.
A good lemon is quite sweet, Thomas.
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Re: Time in a Bottle

Postby Thomas » Sat Jun 17, 2006 10:12 pm

Send me a good lemon Isaac; obviously, I haven't had one...
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Re: Time in a Bottle

Postby Isaac » Sun Jun 18, 2006 12:10 am

They don't grow up here. Of course, if you mistake acidity for a lack of sweetness, you might not recognize a good lemon...
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Re: Time in a Bottle

Postby Thomas » Sun Jun 18, 2006 8:41 am

If I mistake acidity for a lack of sweetness I might have to go back twenty-five years and start my wine training all over again. If I do that, I'll let you know, in case you want to join me so that you might understand both the separation and the relationship of the two components and climb out of the dark about that issue...

Where do sweet lemons grow? Are you referring to the meyer lemon, which is a hybrid cross of lemon and either orange or mandarin?
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