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Dec 31, 2012 09:41 AM

Care for old wine?

I am investing in a few cases of 20+y/o Semillons, Cab Franc, and Zins and I have a few questions.

How fragile are these wines? The whites I am not so concerned about but the reds, do they need to settle before drinking after a vigorous ride from the Santa Cruz Hills? The have been stored cork side down.

I was advised to open the reds a day before drinking, would that be just open bottle or decanting?

Should i be concerned about small crystals on the cork of the whites?
Thanx all and Happy and healthy New Year to Everyone!

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  1. OK, I've known Dex & Val for over 30 years . . . what wine did they say to open a day before drinking? Be specific -- grape variety, appellation, and vintage.

    The crystals on the Sémilion are tartrates. Dex & Val don't have equipment that permits them to cold stabilize. Nothing to worry about.

    >>> Santa Cruz Hills <<<


    (Ah, but I digress.)

    YES, they need to settle.

    3 Replies
    1. re: zin1953

      88 Besson Cab,

      2001 Pinot Noir -Monterey/Ventana
      95 Cab Franc- Bates Ranch,
      83 Chardonnay -Ventana Bought for a friend

      1. re: budnball

        If you're going to drink it now, the Pinot might do with 24 hours of air; it's still a bit young. Personally, I'd rather wait a year or so -- that's when Dexter & Val thought it would be ready.

        The Besson Cab from Santa Clara Valley AVA, and the Bates Ranch Cab Franc from the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA, do not need to be opened a day ahead of time. But I would wait a couple of weeks, and stand them upright a few days before you intend to open them. I'd decant them off the sediment, and then drink -- allowing them to open in your glass as well as the decanter.

        The 1983 Ventana Vineyard (Monterey Co.) Chardonnay is the only bottle I actually lost due to breakage in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. As I never thought Chardonnay from Ventana aged particularly well, regardless of who make it, I would simply chill the bottle slightly and open it, hoping for the best . . .

        Their Sémilion, on the other hand . . . as you've now discovered for yourself . . . .

        1. re: zin1953

          Thanx for the info. The Chard had only the pale ghost of fruit to me but then i don't quite grok old white Burgundy either so I just pass. Seems to me when I inquired about them earlier in the year on your rec (Ahlgren I mean), they were only selling to club members and were not taking on anymore. I guess waiting was filled.

          PS I love the way the Hills get you going. ;-)

    2. I'll probably let mine rest a couple of months just to be sure that any effects of travel shock have worn off.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        I'm curious. Is there some basic consensus on how long travel shock will last (e.g. days vs. years)?

        1. re: goldangl95

          Not really. Williams Selyem recommends eight weeks. I've seen other recommendations from six to twelve.

          Having experienced travel shock, I haven't wanted to experiment to see if shorter periods are adequate.

          I know from chemistry class that in a solution some long molecules with weak bonds can be broken apart by vibration and reform after a period of rest.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            My general "rule of thumb" has been 4 - 6 weeks, with some older reds up to 12 weeks.

            Are any of those times ideal? I cannot say, but have not had noticeable problems with them. More would likely be better, than fewer.