This week I want to return to the idea of ageing wines at home and suggest some wine styles you might not think of as age-worthy.
Remember wines should be stored sideways in a dark place where the temperature changes little such as a spare bedroom or under the stairs.
These days almost all wines are made for drinking upon release but many will benefit from extra time in bottle.
Reds age better than whites but you can age the following white grapes — riesling, chardonnay, chenin blanc, and semillon.
To find age-worthy whites however you will need to be spending around €20 and stick to classic regions such as Bordeaux, Hunter Valley Semillon, Loire Chenin (eg, Savennieres, Vouvray) and Alsace, German or Clare Valley Riesling.
For chardonnay you really need to go to Burgundy (Chablis, Cote d’Or) or classic new world regions such as Margaret River and Napa Valley.
Reds are less problematic but look for richer styles such as those from Bordeaux grapes (cabernet, merlot, malbec), and thick-skinned varieties such as syrah and tempranillo.
All Bordeaux will age a little but a €12 Bordeaux Superieur will not improve for more than three years after release.
For a thinner-skinned grape to produce age-worthy wines you need other characteristics such as acidity and structure as found in good pinot noir or nebbiolo (Barolo). However, inexpensive pinot noir should be drunk young.
Most reds from Spain will all age and while many of the better wines are aged before release they can be kept longer.
I drank a 1970 Faustino I last year that had lovely elegant savoury fruits but it is also true that not some at the table that night preferred the fruitier younger wines.
Regional Italian reds are worth a look but don’t bother with grapes like barbera, montepulciano or cannonau and if you are ageing wine from the New World buy above reserva level — eg, Chilean carmenere and cabernet and also Argentinian malbec.
All of this week’s wines will benefit from some short- to medium-term ageing but use your judgement as given our crazy excise duty any wine under €15 costs just a couple of euro at the cellar door and it is difficult to get complexity for that price.
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BEST VALUE UNDER €15
Norton D.O.C. Malbec 2013, Mendoza, Argentina — €12.95 (was €18.95)
Malbec from Argentina is not likely to be found in many cellars but I quite like the way the dense fruit softens and becomes more savoury with a couple of years bottle age.
Right now this is still a deep purple colour with dark and dense black fruits and touches of chocolate and spice. It will be even better in three years time.
Bodega San Telmo 2016, Argentina — €9
Most people will scoff at me suggesting that you age a wine that costs €9 (normally €11) but I think this is so young and packed with such bright purple fruit I actually think it needs a little time to settle in bottle. It will of course drink perfectly well now but also for the next two years.
Rémy Ferbas Rasteau 2015, Rhone, France — €12 (was €15)
Rasteau is a village not far from Chateauneuf du Pape with similar if rather more rustic flavours. This has solid spicy red fruit aromas with some wild berry character and good structure and a bit of weight so easily matches its €12 price (€15 is pushing it a little).
With two-to-three years age I think this will get a little more mellow and lose its chewy edges.
BEST VALUE OVER €15
Produttori del Barbaresco Nebbiolo Langhe 2012, Piedmont, Italy — €21.65
Stockist: Karwigs Carrigaline www.karwigwines.ie
The nebbiolo grape as used in Barolo and Barbaresco is famously long lived and while this regional appellation is designed for earlier drinking and while tasty right now, this will improve for up to five years.
Black cherry and blackberry aromas, chewy red fruits and a lingering hint of liquorice.
Alborense Morellino di Scansano 2012, Tuscany, Italy — €20.95
Stockist: Molloys Liquor Stores
Morellino di Scansano is from the coastal hills in the south of Tuscany and is always keenly priced compared to the better known wines of the region made from Sangiovese (chianti, brunello).
Sangiovese ages better than you might think and this has bright red fruit aromas, is ripe and fruity on the palate and has some unexpected weight and integrated tannins. Should age gracefully for five-to-eight years.
Bellmunt Priorat 2013, Spain — €24.25
Stockist: Wines Direct Mullingar, Arnotts Dublin www.winesdirect.ie
Priorat is ultra-fashionable and never cheap but even the lesser wines can benefit from a little ageing although I wouldn’t keep this for more than around three years.
This is a blend of garnacha and carignan (the two main grapes in the region) and has silky red fruits with a nice mineral backbone and some stony dried fruit flavours that will mellow with time.
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