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Help! Older whites - 1/1/2018 5:00:18 PM   
Smaragd

 

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I mean wines, of course

I'm having a bit of a crisis. I opened a bottle of what I thought would be a beloved 2003 single vintage wine known for powerful acidity and rich character. It seemed flat, oxidized, and I quickly decided it was flawed. I opened another identical bottle of same -- same experience.

Frustrated as heck, I opened a third. (I will never make this mistake again...) It was acceptable but not great.

Over time all three seem to have leveled out and are showing somewhat appropriately, a little lacking in zip but hey, 2003 was a long time ago.

So could very experienced wine-os tell me if my error was not giving them enough time and oxygen to "come to"? I thought that with a 15 year old vintage oxygen would be a bad thing, now I'm wondering if I perceived a "collapsed" wine that was still just asleep.
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RE: Help! Older whites - 1/1/2018 5:05:00 PM   
JohnNezlek

 

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Dear S,

Pray tell, what wine?

J.

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RE: Help! Older whites - 1/1/2018 5:21:56 PM   
Smaragd

 

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see username

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RE: Help! Older whites - 1/1/2018 5:23:30 PM   
Smaragd

 

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OK, Knoll Ried Schütt smaragd

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RE: Help! Older whites - 1/1/2018 6:26:40 PM   
KPB

 

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I would bet on premox, although it isn’t common that far north yet. But when you get hot dry weather in areas that normally have cool, wet summers, the grapes get very ripe and may be somewhat oxidized even before they ferment. I’ve certainly seen this for NYS Riesling. So my bet would be that the vintage was just too ripe to ago well.

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RE: Help! Older whites - 1/1/2018 6:28:54 PM   
KPB

 

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PS: 2003 was an exceptionally hot and dry summer, even by recent standards. People died from the heat in France that summer. All the rivers started to dry up.

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RE: Help! Older whites - 1/1/2018 6:32:52 PM   
CranBurgundy

 

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This is another good example of why dry whites should be consumed youngish. It seems relatively higher residual sugar is a protector against premox.

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RE: Help! Older whites - 1/1/2018 6:59:00 PM   
ericindc

 

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I think its a function of vintage. I had a couple 2001 knoll gruners and they were fine. Remember, ageability in whites (with the exception of certain white rhones) is driven by acidity. In low acid vintages, they tend to age more rapidly.



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RE: Help! Older whites - 1/1/2018 8:10:19 PM   
DoubleD1969

 

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^ That

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RE: Help! Older whites - 1/1/2018 9:15:47 PM   
jmcmchi

 

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I don't know Austria well enough to comment on the specfics, but

1. When holding whites, I like to try one every couple of years, at least, just to monitor aging...even more than with reds

2. The weather related comments seem accurate. Acidity is key

3. I had a similar issue with Hermitage Chante Alouette several years ago, hence point 1 above

I share the frustration

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RE: Help! Older whites - 1/1/2018 10:08:21 PM   
forceberry

 

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Austrian 2003 white known for powerful acidity? I'm not saying that kind of wine wouldn't exist... I just haven't heard of such.

And I really think you can't say "premox" here, this is just a regular case of normal oxidation. Premox mainly applies to Burgundy whites alone, specifically wines that should live up to 20-30 years, even longer, but are falling apart in 10 or less. Although some Austrian wines can be long-lived, 14 years is still pretty long for many Austrian dry whites (I've had some at 15 years of age that were really wonderful and some that were already in pieces) and very much pushing it for a 2003. Actually I think I would've been surprised if the wine was still fully alive and kickin'. Like people said, acidity is the key. The highest-acid vintages will survive much longer than lower-acid ones.

Furthermore, that point "see username" was pretty ridiculous - how on earth we should've known which Smaragd you were drinking? And you still haven't specified whether it was a Riesling or a GV.



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RE: Help! Older whites - 1/2/2018 4:29:31 AM   
S1

 

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A 14 year old wine is not premoxed; it's just oxed

It is also possible that this wine is ageing exactly as it should. I have lots of experience with aged Austrian white wines. I love them. but their character is completely different from young whites.
Ken (and others above) are right about '03. We were in Europe, and it was brutal. Pegau is one of the very few '03s I bought to cellar. I drank most young; the last bottle I drank was a few years ago and it was a mess.

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RE: Help! Older whites - 1/2/2018 5:34:56 AM   
Smaragd

 

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Thanks everyone.

it was a GV. and I think your collective wisdom must be right that the bottles are not flawed but just too old from this particularly hot vintage. The reason this caught me off guard is that I've had even older GV and Rieslings from the wachau that were almost impossibly young tasting, and golden colored, which I had begun to think was just normal for these wines. I just didn't have experience with smaragd level GV collapsing even a little. My own inexperience here -- that is why I turned to all of you.

I'll be curious to see how 2002 stood up - got one or two of those in the cellar as well.

< Message edited by smaragd -- 1/2/2018 5:41:20 AM >

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RE: Help! Older whites - 1/2/2018 6:37:34 AM   
forceberry

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: smaragd

Thanks everyone.

it was a GV. and I think your collective wisdom must be right that the bottles are not flawed but just too old from this particularly hot vintage. The reason this caught me off guard is that I've had even older GV and Rieslings from the wachau that were almost impossibly young tasting, and golden colored, which I had begun to think was just normal for these wines. I just didn't have experience with smaragd level GV collapsing even a little. My own inexperience here -- that is why I turned to all of you.

I'll be curious to see how 2002 stood up - got one or two of those in the cellar as well.


If it was a GV, it's even less of a surprise. Although some Grüners can hold up easily for ages, usually Rieslings hold up even longer. What you should remember from now on is to steer clear of European 2003's - except for Vintage Ports. They are terrific.

2002 GV might be doing better, because it was a cooler vintage, meaning that it should have at least high enough acidity. The fruit department is a whole another story: that year was so cold in many places so often the wines didn't develop sufficient fruit concentration. That translates to that many wines don't have enough stuffing to survive long enough. In many cases those 2002's I've had have shown completely faded fruit, so that there is really nothing left to the wine except for acidity and perhaps some mineral bitterness; the fruit has left the wines a long time ago, and although the wine hasn't oxidized (thanks, high acidity!), the end result is a rather flavorless and unpleasantly austere aged wine.

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RE: Help! Older whites - 1/2/2018 8:12:17 AM   
Mike Evans

 

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I've had great success with aged 1998 and 2000 GVs from Nigl, Alzinger, and Hiedler. The 1998s still show the honeyed botrytis common from that vintage, but are still pretty vibrant.

As for 2003 in Europe, while I generally agree that it is a vintage to be wary of, a recent Montrose may be the best I've had other than a sensational 1961, and was a notch ahead of recent good bottles of the 1990 and 1989.

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RE: Help! Older whites - 1/2/2018 3:53:54 PM   
Smaragd

 

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Back to my original question, sort of, I'm wondering if any of you who drink older whites find that they are closed at first and need some oxygen. Decanting older whites has never been recommended to me, and in my experience, the 14-15 year old whites I've had didn't present themselves as shut down immediately after opening.


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RE: Help! Older whites - 1/2/2018 5:20:09 PM   
jmcmchi

 

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Most >10 year old rieslings have been from bottle for me.

I haven't drunk old white Burgundy in years, I have tended to prefer it fresher these days, and the same applies to most whites other than riesling/sweet whites

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RE: Help! Older whites - 1/2/2018 6:02:56 PM   
jerry6

 

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Don't usually decant older whites, though 5 to 10 minutes in the glass helps , at least it did with my 1996 Dauvissat-Camus Chablis 1er Cru La Forest and 1996 de Venoge Champagne Brut Louis XV .

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RE: Help! Older whites - 1/2/2018 9:22:45 PM   
forceberry

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: smaragd

Back to my original question, sort of, I'm wondering if any of you who drink older whites find that they are closed at first and need some oxygen. Decanting older whites has never been recommended to me, and in my experience, the 14-15 year old whites I've had didn't present themselves as shut down immediately after opening.


Most whites don't really need decanting, but they might benefit from it. Chateau Musar and oxidative whites such as those from Jura or classicist Rioja (R. Lopez de Heredia and Ygay Gran Reserva) really call for a bit of air in a decanter.

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RE: Help! Older whites - 1/3/2018 4:44:06 AM   
KPB

 

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I do find this, but mostly for white Hermitage. They can be very closed down, and the air brings out the honeyed notes. For Riesling, not really. And these days white Burgundy is hit and miss, so I tend to drink the, young, but I can’t think of any older bottles that wanted decanting...

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RE: Help! Older whites - 1/3/2018 11:33:38 AM   
S1

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: forceberry

quote:

ORIGINAL: smaragd

Back to my original question, sort of, I'm wondering if any of you who drink older whites find that they are closed at first and need some oxygen. Decanting older whites has never been recommended to me, and in my experience, the 14-15 year old whites I've had didn't present themselves as shut down immediately after opening.


Most whites don't really need decanting, but they might benefit from it. Chateau Musar and oxidative whites such as those from Jura or classicist Rioja (R. Lopez de Heredia and Ygay Gran Reserva) really call for a bit of air in a decanter.

Coulee de Serrant also

quote:

KPB

Most whites don't really need decanting, but they might benefit from it. Chateau Musar and oxidative whites such as those from Jura or classicist Rioja (R. Lopez de Heredia and Ygay Gran Reserva) really call for a bit of air in a decanter.

well said


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RE: Help! Older whites - 1/3/2018 11:44:34 AM   
forceberry

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: S1
Coulee de Serrant also


Agreed. We had a Joly tasting last fall and all the 2000's were double-decanted two days before the tasting and the 1990's were double-decanted a day before the tasting. We had multiple vintages of all three whites and all of them were showing wonderfully despite getting heaps of oxygen.

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