One of the great things about the modern wine world is that everything is ready to drink as soon as it hits the shelves. No waiting, no aging required.The reason we used to wait five years before opening a red was because grape growers and winemakers were not up on science. Their product was undrinkable when first bottled, but would come together and develop smoothness with time.
Today’s wine is better grown and better made, and to use a computer analogy, it works faster. There is no waiting. But what if you were to keep a red wine today, say for two or three years? Would it improve or not?
In many cases it will fade — lose flavour and vitality. But the richer reds often develop a warm mellow quality that can be very appealing in the upcoming winter months. And if you would like to check out that experience I have good news. There are a few reds on the LCBO shelves that are already aged.
Wyndham Estates claims to have made the original Aussie Shiraz. Their Bin 555 is certainly popular and the ’04 oozes fireside warmth and richness. Could be mistaken for Port.Wyndham’s ’04 Cabernet has also developed into a charmer. Hefty Cabernet with a loving, soft side. Fit for a romantic steak dinner.
Last Saturday’s LCBO Vintages release featured two more $14.95 reds with lovely winter warmth. Santa Carolina ’04 Petit Verdot Barrica Selection, Chile (7484, $14.95) would be five times the price if it were from France. And Jim Jim ’05 Shiraz Down-underdog, Australia (682005 $14.95) may be the best burger red in the world. Don’t pack away that barbecue yet! Other recommendations are posted on billysbestbottles.com under weekly picks/vintages.
Meanwhile, the Gourmet Food & Wine Show (food-andwineexpo.ca)takes place Nov. 15-18. I’ll be conducting one of the many great Tutored Tastings on Friday night. Combine some education with your drinking fun. And speaking of learning, check out the great lineup of wine tastings at Hart House (U of T) — For The Love Of Wine. Thisseries (Thursday evenings in November) offers the best value in wine tasting in Toronto. It includes snacks and if it’s chilly, the huge log fireplaces will be lit. My seminar is next Thursday night — hope to meet some of you there. For tickets, visit uofttix.ca/view.php?id=271. And one more event that you won’t want to miss! My annualBocce And Beaujolais night at Allen’s on the Danforth takes place on Friday, Nov. 16.
Billy Munnelly has been writing about wine for 25 years and is the author of Canada’s largest selling wine book, Billy’s Best Bottles. Sign up for his free monthly e-letter at www.billysbestbottles.com