Guide: Biodynamic & Sustainable Wine
July 25, 2018
Cabernet vs. Merlot
September 8, 2018



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Red Wines

 

Beaujolais

Beaujolais is made from the Gamay grape which usually produces easy drinking, low tannin, fruity wines.

Up to $12
These light fruity wines are at their best when served quite young.

$12 to $25
The Cru Beaujolais (from individual villages) fall into this category.
They tend to be at their best 3-5 years old.
 


Bordeaux Red (Medoc)

These wines are made predominantly from Cabernet Sauvignon and have the same aging profile.

Up to $12
Drink in the short term. Hold for a few months or even a year but these are usually ready to drink when you get them.

$12 to $25
Accessible when they are purchased but these wines should improve a few years (5-6 years from the vintage date).

$25 and up
These wines are likely to improve with age. Depending on the wine, look for 7-15 years of improvement. A few special wines will age for decades.
 


Cabernet Sauvignon

Up to $12
Drink in the short term. Hold for a few months or even a year but these are usually ready to drink when you get them.

$12 to $25
Accessible when they are purchased but these wines may improve a few years (5-6 years from the vintage date).

$25 and up
These wines are likely to improve with age. Depending on the wine, look for 7-15 years of improvement. A few special wines will age much longer.
 


Merlot

A close cousin of Cabernet Sauvingon. It has a similar aging profile but matures more quickly. 

Up to $12
Drink in the short term. Hold for a few months or even a year but these are usually ready to drink when you get them.

$12 to $25
Accessible when they are purchased but these wines may improve a few years (3-4 years from the vintage date).

$25 and up
These wines are likely to improve with age. Depending on the wine, look for 5-12 years of improvement. A few special wines will age much longer.
 


Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir loses much of its fruitiness as it ages and gains complexity. Not everyone appreciates this. It may also go through ‘dumb’ phases where the aromas and flavors seem to disappear for months.

Up to $15
Drink short term. A year or less is reasonable.

$15 to $25
Accessible at purchase but will age and gain complexity with 2-4 years of age.

$25 and up
These are usually bigger wines that can benefit from age. 5-8 years is reasonable depending on the wine. Some special wines (Grand Cru Burgundies) may age for many years.
 


Syrah/Shiraz

Most newer wine drinkers know Shiraz as an Australian product. It is usually made there in a soft fruity style although exceptions do exist. More experienced drinkers know that the grape has long been used in the Rhone Valley of France where it is usually made in a bigger style and blended with other grapes.

Up to $12
Easy drinking wines that should be consumed within 1 – 2 years of purchase. No benefit from aging.

$12 to $25
More robust wines should benefit from 3-5 years of age.

$25 and up
Special wines like the Grange, from Australia can benefit from a decade or more of age.
 


White Wines

 

Chardonnay

Most Chardonnay is designed for consumption while the wine is young. Special vineyards can produce special wines with aging potential.

Up to $12
Drink up. No benefit from cellaring these wines.

$12 to $25
Drink at 3-5 years from the vintage date.

$25 and up
These wines can age for 4-8 years depending on the wine. Be aware that Chardonnays that have fully gone through malolactic fermentation have greatly reduced life spans. Malolactic Chardonnays have a smell of butter and unusually golden color when young.
 


Chenin Blanc

Chenin Blanc has high acids and can produce wines that age well. They can, but usually do not. Most Chenin Blancs that you will find are not designed to age over long periods.

Up to $12
Drink within 3 years from the vintage date.

$12 to $25
Drink within 5 years of the vintage date.
 


Riesling

Most people discover Riesling in the lower to middle grade of German wines. It can be one of the best white wine grapes for aging but only the best (and most expensive) Rieslings age well.

Up to $12
Probably a German Qualitatswein or warm weather California Riesling. Drink it within 3-4 years of vintage.

$12 to $25
Better German wines or moderate wines of Alsace. Drink young or age to 6-8 years.

$25 and up
The best sweet German wines or dry Rieslings like Trimbach ‘Clos Ste. Hune’ can age and develop for decades if stored properly.