Do you have several dozen Tahbilk aged reds in the cellar and you’re unsure if your wines are in the “best” to drink, “ready” or “improving” stage? And when should you open those older wines to allow them to breathe? Well, let’s see what our winemaking team thinks.
Suffice to say that the vintage chart reflects Alister’s preferences for drinking aged wine, so you may like to try the wines at both the improving and ready stages to see where your own preference why. This is why we always recommend you buy at least 4 bottles of your favourite vintage to put in the cellar.
That being said the way to read the chart is anything in the ‘ready’ stage means it is ready to drink right now. Anything in the ‘improving’ stage means that you should crack open one bottle right now and see what you think. But it probably has a few more years on it if you would like to keep it for a bit longer.
You’ll notice that we have changed the Vintage Chart recently so that the years in the boxes actually reflect how long the wine actually has left to go before it is ‘ready’, whereas in the past the years reflect the cellaring potential from release.
As far as breathing is concerned – it’s an old custom which doesn’t have any sound scientific basis, and most winemakers and sommeliers don’t recommend it.
The point is best highlighted by esteemed wine consultant Emile Peynaud who discusses breathing and decanting at length in his terrific book “The Taste of Wine”.
In his book he concludes ”In reality it makes no difference whatsoever whether a bottle has been opened three hours before being served or a few moments before. . . The amount of oxygen which penetrates the wine under these circumstances is barely measurable. . . Just how negligible this is can be judged from the fact that twice as much is dissolved in the wine as it is poured into the glass . . .There is only one sensible way to go about opening a bottle: just before sitting down at the table or just before drinking the wine”.
If you’d like to read more about decanting read more here.