Drinking dates and large formats
Wine Owners provides drinking advice across a large part of its growing database of 82,000 fine wines, based on 75cl bottles.
These drinking ranges are likely to be rather accurate, since we painstakingly average start and end dates from fine wine reviewers to arrive at the estimates.
It goes without saying that prime drinking will depend on many factors, such as long-term storage conditions, time of year shipped and periods when palettes may have been subjected to intense heat, for example dockside between reefer and cooled ship's container.
Those drinking dates can be largely disregarded when it comes to large formats. This Easter reminded me how dramatic the differences can be, when I judged a family dinner at my brother's new house to be the perfect occasion to open a double magnum of Mas de Daumas Gassac 1996.
Bought just a year ago on the secondary market, this 3 litre double magnum was apparently well kept, coming out of good storage in its original wooden box and with a high fill level. I acquired it on a whim for GBP 80, knowing full well that the standard bottle size of this vintage could well be fading fast, following Cellartracker! notes and Chris Kissack from The Wine Doctor.
In the event, once the wax seal was broken and a delicate cork extracted, the wine was delightful; darkly coloured with a rusty-bricked rim. Sweet cedar and savoury scents gave way to a palate of earthy blackberry, lifted with bright notes of fresh currents providing the requisite balance and energy on the way to a soft delicate finish. Hard to resist before the meal, but showing enough power and substance to complement the roast duck.
The moral of this story: take drinking advice for large formats with a large pinch of salt.
Buying bigger bottles on the secondary from other collectors can be a rewarding experience full of nice surprises. Sure there are disappointments along the path of discovery and fine wine appreciation, and you can't exactly ask for your money back from another collector. But that misses the point; buy what you can afford and savour the victories!
Posted in: Fine wine analysis, Fine wine appreciation,
Tags: double magnum, drinking advice, drinking dates, fine wine condition, fine wine exchange, fine wine pricing, large formats, Tasting note, Wine Owners, wine storage,
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