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Ok, I'm a bit confused on the vintage charts. Not so much on reading them, because that is pretty straight forward, but instead as to how globally they apply.

As an example, here are some Rieslings I have recently had.

2005 Schmitt Söhne Piesporter Michelsberg Spätlese (Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer, Mosel)
2005 Friedrich-Wilhelm-Gymnasium Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett (Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer, Mosel)
2005 Leonard Kreusch Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Spätlese (Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer, Mosel)

Ok, if I look at this vintage chart:

http://www.winemag.com/ME2/dirmod.asp?sid=95C96641CAAC4...4AB8800FB5673674BF85

and go to Germany, then look at the "Mosel Saar Ruwer, Mosel" line and then check 2005, it is 96, which appears to be a pretty good overall rating, but it is purple, which is "can drink, not yet at peak", but then that is also the case with 2001-2005, and then again with '98 and '96 (rankings vary, but all "not yet at peak").

So, my question is how do you know which of these wines can, or should, be kept and will improve, vs. which ones are simply 'drink now' regardless of what the vintage chart says about the region?

For instance, if these Rieslings will improve over time, should I buy some to drink now, and some to hold for a few years? Or, at the price range of the wines I listed above $15-25 or so, are they all pretty much 'drink now' regardless of what the vintage charts say?

I used the riesling and the "Mosel Saar Ruwer, Mosel" region as an example for my question, but I am wondering how it would also apply to other wines, such as:

2004 Domaine Bernard Millot Meursault (France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Meursault)

which if I am reading the chart right, says the region/appelation has a 93 rating and is red, which is "hold".

Thanks in advance for the help figuring all of this out.
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Generally speaking, the Rieslings from cooler climates like Germany are excellent now, notably if they are 5-6 years old. What makes these Rieslings different from wines like Chardonnays (Meursault included) is that Rieslings have more acidity. Acidity in wine needs time to mellow a bit, while in the mean time, the tropical fruity character is brought forward. Giving Rieslings time to age allows the acidity to prolong the flavors in these longer length wines with fruity finishes.

With wines from warmer climates like Pinot Grigio, they too are highly acidic but people generally prefer the cirtusy character they offer.

One more thing (and don't let this scare you) aged Rieslings sometimes give off a petrol aroma. That is typical of Rieslings but not 100% of them always do. I recently tried one from Mosel Saar Ruwer that was Beerenauslese 1976.

I know I got wordy with this one but if there any specific my answer did not address, please hit me back with a reply here and I'll elaborate more where I can.
quote:
Originally posted by John in NYC:
Generally speaking, the Rieslings from cooler climates like Germany are excellent now, notably if they are 5-6 years old. What makes these Rieslings different from wines like Chardonnays (Meursault included) is that Rieslings have more acidity. Acidity in wine needs time to mellow a bit, while in the mean time, the tropical fruity character is brought forward. Giving Rieslings time to age allows the acidity to prolong the flavors in these longer length wines with fruity finishes.

With wines from warmer climates like Pinot Grigio, they too are highly acidic but people generally prefer the cirtusy character they offer.

One more thing (and don't let this scare you) aged Rieslings sometimes give off a petrol aroma. That is typical of Rieslings but not 100% of them always do. I recently tried one from Mosel Saar Ruwer that was Beerenauslese 1976.

I know I got wordy with this one but if there any specific my answer did not address, please hit me back with a reply here and I'll elaborate more where I can.


Thanks for the response, but I do need some clarification.

You mention 5-6 years old on the Rieslings. So, take the 2005 rieslings I listed above. Will these fairly inexpensive wines ($15-25) actually benefit from being kept another 2-4 years to hit that 5-6 year mark?

I guess the root of my question is what is the overriding factor in knowing if a wine is best to drink now, or later. Is it the price point or the vintage chart?

Take my 2005 rieslings, they aren't the $40, $60 or $100+ bottles of wine I see people talking about storing so they improve with time. So, in this case, does the vintage chart that says it will benefit from aging or the low price point determine its 'drink now' or 'drink later' status?
Please see below your questions for my responses.


quote:
Thanks for the response, but I do need some clarification.

You mention 5-6 years old on the Rieslings. So, take the 2005 rieslings I listed above. Will these fairly inexpensive wines ($15-25) actually benefit from being kept another 2-4 years to hit that 5-6 year mark?

Riesling Spatlese, Auslese, Beerenausleses and higher will definitely benefit. Kabinetts do not need to age longer.


I guess the root of my question is what is the overriding factor in knowing if a wine is best to drink now, or later. Is it the price point or the vintage chart?

Generally most dry white wines can be drunk now including chardonnays, sauv. bl, pinot grigios, muscadets, etc. Reds generally need 2-3 years plus. And no, price does not dictate aging. Year 2005 happened to have had an excellent rating for Burgundy reds and 2006 had an excellent for Burgundy whites. However, they need aging. The price is higher due to supply and demand for the short version of the answer. The long version is EVERYTHING: notably terroir, marketing, etc.

Take my 2005 rieslings, they aren't the $40, $60 or $100+ bottles of wine I see people talking about storing so they improve with time. So, in this case, does the vintage chart that says it will benefit from aging or the low price point determine its 'drink now' or 'drink later' status?


Let me know if I addressed everything you had asked.
quote:
Let me know if I addressed everything you had asked.


Yes, I think so, thanks. I'm going to change the topic a bit because while I have read a lot on the subject, I am still confused. And, that is how to purchase wines now to drink 10 or 20 years from now. I assume, the two reasons for doing this are:

1. they will be significantly cheaper now then 10 years from now when they are ready to drink.

2. they will be much harder to find when they are ready to drink, then when they are first released.

So, first are those two assumptions correct? Second, if you purchase $30-90 bottles now, what will they be worth when they are drinkable?

I am not thinking about the worth in terms of an investment, but instead in terms of simply how much more it would cost in 2015 to buy a 2005 wine that is ready to drink, rather than buying that wine in 2007.

Also, how do you know which ones to buy? Is that where the ratings from Wine Spectator and others come in, or is there another method for a novice to know how to start collecting?
quote:
Originally posted by Tnedator:
And, that is how to purchase wines now to drink 10 or 20 years from now. I assume, the two reasons for doing this are:

1. they will be significantly cheaper now then 10 years from now when they are ready to drink.

2. they will be much harder to find when they are ready to drink, then when they are first released.

1 & 2 are perfectly valid reasons, although I think that the two are interrelated. But there's an important reason #3 - to ensure proper provenance for your wine so that you know it has the best chance of being at it's best when you open it. And I suppose reason #4 would be for the fun of it. Wink

As you stated, wine in general is a lousy investment, except for those few that generate alot of hype and/or come highly allocated. And as for which ones to buy, there are no easy answers to that. Mostly because that's a personal call, since you're talking about buying to drink rather than buying to flip. Experience in buying and tasting younger wines, trying older versions of these wines from the auction market (or those retailers who carry older bottles) will tell you what's worth it to you.
quote:
Originally posted by SD-Wineaux:
As you stated, wine in general is a lousy investment, except for those few that generate alot of hype and/or come highly allocated. And as for which ones to buy, there are no easy answers to that. Mostly because that's a personal call, since you're talking about buying to drink rather than buying to flip. Experience in buying and tasting younger wines, trying older versions of these wines from the auction market (or those retailers who carry older bottles) will tell you what's worth it to you.


If you buy from auction, how do you know you aren't getting junk? That they aren't selling a case that someone found in his father's attic after spending a decade exposed to 130* heat in the summers?

Also, I know this will be a ballpark number, but if you buy an $80 bottle that will take 10 years to be ready to drink, what would you expect to pay for that wine 7-10 years from now when it is a 'drink now' wine?

Since unless you only want to enjoy one or two bottles a year, if you are looking at 10-20 year maturing wine, you need to have some serious storage, so I am trying to get straight in my head that (hobby aspect aside), if it is better to simply pay a premium for 10-20 year old wine, or to buy it now and hold for 10-20 years and do the same every year so that you have a rotation of 'drink now' wine available each year.
How do you know it's not junk? You don't. That's the risk you take going the auction route (hence, reason #3 above). But if you buy through a reputable auction house that inspects the bottles (WineBid, for example) then you reduce - but don't eliminate - your risk. Or if you buy direct from another person, either through someplace like WineCommune or through an on-line forum like here, you only would want to buy from a reputable seller.

As for how much appreciation in price you might expect over 10 years, I'll go back to my purposefully vague answer of it depends. It depends on the hype surrounding the wine and the number of bottles on the market (i.e., driven by supply and demand). I buy most of my wine direct, but for those that I've bought from auction or direct from other folks I've paid anywhere from slightly under release price to about 50% over release. But there are other wines out there that I'd be intertested in that have appreciate in value more than that - I just choose to not pursue them.

The best advice I can give you is to browse through WineBid (or the auction house of your choice) for wines that interest you and see the range for yourself. If there's a WS review out on the wine, it will give you the release price for comparison.
quote:
Originally posted by SD-Wineaux:
How do you know it's not junk? You don't. That's the risk you take going the auction route (hence, reason #3 above). But if you buy through a reputable auction house that inspects the bottles (WineBid, for example) then you reduce - but don't eliminate - your risk. Or if you buy direct from another person, either through someplace like WineCommune or through an on-line forum like here, you only would want to buy from a reputable seller.

As for how much appreciation in price you might expect over 10 years, I'll go back to my purposefully vague answer of it depends. It depends on the hype surrounding the wine and the number of bottles on the market (i.e., driven by supply and demand). I buy most of my wine direct, but for those that I've bought from auction or direct from other folks I've paid anywhere from slightly under release price to about 50% over release. But there are other wines out there that I'd be intertested in that have appreciate in value more than that - I just choose to not pursue them.

The best advice I can give you is to browse through WineBid (or the auction house of your choice) for wines that interest you and see the range for yourself. If there's a WS review out on the wine, it will give you the release price for comparison.


Great, thanks for the info. I'll check out winebid and start to get a feel. My current little fridge (claimes 45 bottles, but that would be tough) is going to do little beyond keep a decent variety of wines I will be drinking in the next 12-18 months. I don't have it full now, so I could stick a handful of bottles I want to keep for a special occaission that are better and can store well, but I can't start really collecting into it.

So, I am trying to understand it all now, so I know whether or not to get a bigger cooler soon, or in a couple years when I am likely going to build a new house, whether I will build a sizeable cellar or a fairly modest one to keep mostly drink now wines with a small amount of space for 'special' keepers.
quote:
Originally posted by Peer Gynt:
I've noticed, even in the last year or so that I have been collecting, retailers are stocking more and more of the old vintages that they have acquired from private collections.


I would assume you should only buy the old vintages if they are in a cellar-like conditions, not if they are out on the floor.

I was at a store today, and they had several late '90's and 2000 vintage stuff on the general floor. How old a vintage should you really start worrying about being on the floor: 4 years, 5, 7, 10?

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