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Dear Dr. Vinny,
The Round Table Sommelier Talk article about “wine moments” had an interesting story: Andy Myers mentioned a 1967 Beaulieu Vineyard Georges de Latour that he initially thought was over the hill, but learned that it needed a few minutes to "wake up." When do you know that a wine is truly dead? Brick edges, prune notes, etc.?
—Jim H., Houston
Personal taste will prevail, of course. You might prefer older wines and I might like them on the younger side. And I’ve had those moments when I was about to give up on a wine but it came around. I’ve also had the reverse happen, where I was enjoying a wine that faded faster than I could drink it.
But when a wine is truly over the hill, it really doesn’t have much left to express. I hate to say you’ll know it when you taste it but … you’ll know it when you taste it. You might find some charm still or it is a curiosity, but the pleasure factor is gone. It might show off nutty, Sherry-like oxidized notes, but it won’t express much beyond that. Some wines that I’ve toe-tagged have also had an unpleasant musty note—more like wet mulch than like TCA, and others have an odd metallic or vinegary aftertaste.
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