Winemakers periodically send me older wines to show me how their wines are aging (which is usually a good thing) or, more diplomatically, to demonstrate what I missed the first time around.
And about one-third of the 5,000 or so wines that I taste each year are older wines, as opposed to new releases.
The other night I uncorked a 1999 Siduri Pinot from Pisoni Vineyard in Santa Lucia Highlands, sent to me by its owner, Adam Lee.
I rated it 90 on release and described it as being rich and expressive, with lots of black cherry and blackberry fruit, hints of spice and cedar. And I suggested short-term cellaring, with a drinking window from 2002 to 2006.
While this seems like a terribly narrow window, the reason I’m writing about this topic is twofold:
The 1999 has evolved into a beautiful wine. It’s still rich, very youthful and vibrant, with lots of complexity and concentration built around a core of earthy cherry and rhubarb flavors. I’m not making any grandiose predictions about how this, or other California Pinots will age, but this one looks like a solid bet for another five years or more.
And a wine that can reward in its youth and improve with age is exactly the kind of wine to have in your cellar.