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Dear Dr. Vinny,

In the Wine Spectator review, we are told that the Castello di Querceto Chianti Classico Riserva 2006—which is rated 90 points—should be drunk “now.” What does “now” in this context mean? In the next month? The next year? The next couple of years?

—Herb B., Baltimore

Dear Herb,

A “drink now” recommendation is made when the reviewer feels the wine will not benefit from any additional aging. That’s not the same thing as a warning to drop everything you’re doing and go find a corkscrew. “Drink now” wines are often still tasty years after our reviews are published. Most wines are made in a drink-me-now-style, even ones that we project will age well. And even the most drink-me-now wines will typically drink well for several years past the vintage date. It depends on the wine, how it was stored, and the preferences of the person doing the drinking.

Our drink windows are most useful when you use them with your own personal preferences and experiences in mind. We are admittedly conservative when it comes to our drink recommendations, understanding that older wines are an acquired taste and not for everyone, and that not everyone has optimal cellar conditions to let a wine age gracefully. Your own personal taste should be your biggest guide, so follow your palate.

—Dr. Vinny

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