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Ah, youth

When a wine critic says “this profound stuff should age effortlessly for 20 years”… ever wonder how the heck he arrives at that guess? I don’t have a clue. But I do have a trick for figuring out if a wine should be cellared at all.

Drink half the bottle, ram the cork back in and stick it in the fridge. Then come back to it in a couple of days and see if it’s still worth drinking. If it actually tastes better, you’ve got a winner. If it’s worse, well, poor you.

Both things happened to me yesterday. Out of the icebox I drew:

1997 Etude Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley. Once a firm-framed, three-star seductress, this wine had softened up quite a bit when I tasted it a couple of years ago. Now it’s fading at an alarming pace. Ashy notes prevent much pleasure until it airs for half an hour. Then a core of fruit shines forth — but not enough for my liking. Drink up!

*++2005 CrauforD Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon “Tattoo” I really think this one is a bit better three days later. Blackberry, a hint of licorice and a smidge of cranberry jam — just the same as it was on opening, only louder. Nice texture. Fills up the mid-palate pleasingly. If the finish were fuller, this discovery would merit two stars, maybe more. Anyhow, at under 25 bucks, it’s a buy for Napa Cab addicts like me.


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