Discovering an Aging Wine

Wine that can age continues to surprise. Last night we had dinner with family at The Hill in Grosse Point. My brother likes this restaurant in part because he can bring his own wine to the restaurant. While in his cellar I spied a bottle of the 2009 Illuminatus Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot that Kathy and I made at Tin Lizzie Wineworks in Maryland. It has been quite awhile since I tried this predominantly cab, so I was interested in seeing how it was after being in bottle for two and a half years.

Wow! this wine has improved a great deal. Over the past couple years the American oak influences were overwhelming taking an in your face attitude. Now the influence of the oak was subdued, allowing the fruit a chance to shine. The wine is now wonderfully drinkable and it will be interesting to see how it continues to mature over the years. However, I only have six bottles left and my brother has about a case left.

There is a problem with aging wines. My brother likes to point out that If you drink it, it is gone. If you don’t drink it, you might be gone. As a winemaker, I find it necessary to try the wine, just to see how it is doing. It is similar to keeping track of your childrens’ grades. This urge to try the wine is why I only have six bottles left. As I make more wines that have aging potential, I may learn the skill of patience and refrain from opening them on a regular basis.

I am thrilled that this cab is turning out to be a great wine. Kathy and I have a barrel of California Cab at Tin Lizzie aging. We hope to leave it in barrel a couple years or longer. I now have a better understanding that I’ll need to leave it in bottle for a few years without trying it every month. Discovering what aging can do to an ageable wine is a great addition to our wine journey.


1 comment to Discovering an Aging Wine

  • Yes, the 2009s have really come along quite nicely! Recently tried a 2009 Syrah from the same vineyard and was knocked off my feet! Despite the massive rain storm at harvest that year, things turned out really well.

    But I’ll always disagree with anyone who says NOT to try their wines regularly! How will you know how it’s changing if you don’t try it now and then? If you drank a bottle a month since bottling you’d would only have consumed 30 bottles so far and learned so much in the process.

    Half the fun of making your own wine, or having kids, is watching them grow up!

    Drink up!

    Dave Z
    Tin Lizzie Wineworks

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