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Apr 23, 2008 11:36 AM

Cellar question

I have recently started purchasing some wines to cellar and in overthinking some of my purchases I started to wonder about the cellaring dates.

For example, when a reviewer (or whomever) writes up a 2005 wine in 2008 and recommends to "cellar for 5 years" does (s)he mean 5 years from 2005 or 5 years from 2008?

This feels like a very stupid question, but I don't know the answer, so I am throwing it out there.

Thank you!

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  1. Not a stupid question at all!

    Years from release date. That 2005 (vintage) was probably just released in 2008.

    Please keep in mind that those dates are *guidelines* and not *guarantees*. Cellaring means optimal temperature and humidity controlled environment, at the appropriate temp for the type (varietal) of wine you are cellaring. (Not in a wine rack at normal room temp! :)

    If you buy a case of something, say a nice white from Burgundy that you can cellar for 5-10 years, open a bottle after a few years and see how it's doing and make some notes. Try again at the five year mark and compare to your 1st set of tasting notes. Could be you can hold out a little longer....could be you you are reaching the peak of that vintage. (based on how it was stored prior to you purchasing, how it was stored with you, etc.)

    If you are buying a bottle here and there to cellar, it's wise to talk to your local independent wine purveyor to see what his/her luck has been with cellaring past vintages of the particular wines you are picking up.

    Good Luck!

    1. It's not a stupid question. The reviewer should indicate a drinking window by year (such as from 2008-2013) instead of saying to cellar for 5 years, especially if it isn't clear when the review was written. These things are just guesses anyway.

      1. Thank you both for your replys - I am glad I asked because I was going to go by the vintage date.

        winechic - i have been buying multiple bottles of these wines as the budget permits and I am hoping to open them over the course of a couple years to taste how the wines change. I am still just learning about wine, so I am very excited to start this process. I did invest in a wine fridge for storage purposes. It gets way too hot down south to store them in the kitchen.

        Thanks again!

        1. Always look at the reviewer's comments based upon the time they are writing the article. So, drink in the next 5-7 years is 5-7 years from when they tasted the wine.
          As mentioned previously, a good writer will indicate the actual years for drinking to avoid confusion. Keep in mind that this drinking "window" will differ based upon the reviewer and is only an educated guess (that reviewer's opinion). Other reviewers may have different thoughts. I like to see what the reviewer's say and then compare their comments to my own impressions once I taste the wine. By comparing your thinking to those you read you can get a good idea which wine reviewers you trust more than others (that is, those who's opinions are closest to yours). Also realize that even the same reviewer often updates their thinking as they continue to re-taste the wine down the road. Good luck with your cellar.