Okanagan Wine School Lesson #2: Longevity
Two age-worthy bottles that make for great gifts.
Gift-giving season seems like a good time to delve into age-worthy bottles. In many ways, we live in a post-aging world, where advances in winemaking technology mean even prestige wines can be enjoyed relatively young. But if you’re hell-bent on aging, you need to look for the presence of tannins in red wine and acid in white. Tannins are compounds that come from seeds and skins and, when present in high quantities, make you pucker when tasting wine—they’re the hallmark of cabernet sauvignon and nebbiolo—and while the goal of most modern winemakers is to soften their presence (to allow for early drinking), when they exist in conjunction with powerful fruit and spice notes it means that a wine should have the structure to age well. A great example of this is the just-released 2014 The Creek ($55) from Tinhorn Creek, a wine with a tannic structure that channels a mid-’80s style of Bordeaux and that, with any luck, will taste like mid-’80s Bordeaux in five-plus years. With white, the acid is the preserving agent so you want a wine that is very austere early on but will mellow later. And while the 2012 Sperling Old Vines Riesling ($32) is delicious right now (it has some mandarin orange notes, which are festive), it has a backbone of acidity that makes me think it will be amazing in 2020. Both bottles say not only “I care for you,” but also “I trust you to care for this wine.”