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Hello, new to the forum, love to drink wine but not well educated on it...yet. Wink

When is wine too old too drink? I have a bottle of Opus One 1987 that I bought sometime ago. I read in WS online that said "Drink now through 2007", but WA said good till 2002. Frown Just wondering how much longer can one wait or should I open it this weekend? Any comments welcome. Thanks!

I forgot to add, the wine has been stored in a wine chiller at 55 degrees but since I moved it has been in my basement which averages in the 50s during the winter (now) but 60's during the summer.
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Vinorave,

Welcome aboard!

With an older wine like this, a lot of factors go into what it'll taste like with significant age. Crazy as it sounds, you can take a case (12 bottles), of quality age-worthy wine, split them up in different storage situations, come back in 20 years, taste them all, and have 12 different experiences. You might think one bottle is absolutely terrible and subsequently dump it, and the other bottle might be positively sublime.

Assuming the bottle was well cared for, something called bottle variation can have an adverse affect on what's inside, amplified over time. I think of "bottle variation" as kind of VooDoo land. I've had wines from the same case, side by side, and one tastes different. With time, the differences grow.

While I haven't had this wine, it's reputable wine from a blockbuster vintage. My guess, if it's in good shape, it'll be smooth, and won't have much fruit to speak of on the nose, but will have a lot of complexity. No need to decant this. Get some appreciative loved ones to share it with, let 'er rip, and report back with your impressions.

Don't forget to let it sit upright for a few days to let any sediment collect at the bottom, and pour slowly and gently to keep it there.
Thanks indybob. Great information, I did not know about bottle variation. I think I bought this bottle back in 1991 or 1992. It was from Mr. A's in San Diego and I only paid about $110. Looking back now, that is a great price in a fine-dining restaurant. So I ordered two back then, drank one with my girlfriend, now wife and kept the other.

Just one question, why is decanting not neccessary? I thought old wine should be decanted?

Thanks again!
quote:
Originally posted by vinorave:

Just one question, why is decanting not neccessary? I thought old wine should be decanted?

Thanks again!


Perhaps I spoke to soon. You can certainly decant, but it's mainly for the risk of sediment, and perhaps for a bit of presentation. If you do decant, plan to drink it soon. Here's a video about how to remove sediment.. With older wines, decant or no decant, you're in danger of losing much of the delicate aromas, so drink up. A well aged wine should need no additional "help."

Think of decanting as a way to mellow out young wines. It's not uncommon to let a 2001 Brunello di Montalcino (considered a very young Italian wine) to sit in a decanter for 12 hours, or more, prior to consuming. These wines usually have very harsh, strong tannins, that get markedly tamer with time in a decanter. I've put some of the young Aussie Shiraz (that are built for ageing), in a decanter for a full day, and have been much happier with the results. In this case, it's not so much the tannins, but the wine seems to show more complexity and depth. Decanting a young wine is not a substitute for ageing, but lets one sample a bit of what is in store down the road.
No prob. There are a lot of folks on these boards that know a heck of a lot more than I do, but I have a handle on a few things, Wink. Don't forget to post your tasting notes in a new thread, or add them onto one that's already been started on this wine. Don't be worried about a "correct" TN, your palate is your own. If you hate the wine, say so. Some wines are just flawed, or don't suit every taster, hopefully yours won't be one of them.
You should definitely decant this for purposes of eliminating the sediment. It is more than just presentation, you do not want a glass full of wine mixed with sediment. Not only will it look bad, but the taste will be adversely affected by the sediment (and the texture of the sediment will not be that pleasing either, but less a factor than the affect it will have on the taste).

I would drink this now, and definitely decant it. The wine should be fully mature, which side of maturity depends on the storage factor/variation mentioned above. It may even benefit from a short "airing time" in the decanter. Oh, and definitley stand the bottle up the night before drinking and be careful of the cork removal. If you have one, you might want to use an "ah so" cork remover (the best for removing corks from older bottles).

Below is a review from Steve Tanzer in 2002:

Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar, Sep/Oct '02
Rated: 88
Bright red-ruby. Captivating aromas of currant, smoky French oak, coffee, game and animal fur. Sweet and meaty in the mouth, with lovely texture and suggestions of exotic spices. Opens out nicely on the back half in a way that few of these '87s do; has a mouthfeel I can only describe as claret-like. A firmly structured wine, with rich, evolved flavors. Finishes with broad, ripe tannins.
Vinorave - one other thing to keep in mind is that nobody is able to forseee the future. Those suggestions for drinking windows are best guesses based on prior experience, and may be as close as anyone can get, but they are not written in stone. Your personal preferences matter a lot more than someone's suggestion. In addition, the suggestion may simply be wrong. Nobody is trying to mislead you, but some people are more optomistic than others, and other people like older wines with whispers of flavors that other people would find over the hill.

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