Want to age that bottle, but don’t know how to store it? Or for how long? This month in Kia Ora Magazine, Bob Campbell MW writes about ageing New Zealand reds and tasting an older Coleraine:
‘Anyone who has held on to a special wine for a long time faces the dilemma of when to open it. I was asked about this by a friend who had stored a magnum of Te Mata Estate Coleraine 2000 since he bought it 16 years ago. It is a robust blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc.
My heart sank slightly when he told me he’d stored it in the garage. “It’s quite cool,” he added. Variable storage temperatures cause wines to leak past the cork allowing air to enter the bottle. You can get an idea of how well an old wine has been stored by standing the bottle upright and looking at the gap between the cork and wine level. If the gap is less than 10mm there’s every chance it will be fine. As the level drops so do your chance of tasting good wine.
Corks vary considerably too and, as a result, so does the wine in each bottle. There was a possibility poor storage or a dodgy cork had allowed by friend’s Coleraine to spoil. I suggested the wine be opened and enjoyed as soon as possible. We set a date for dinner.
There was an air of anticipation among the dinner guests. We could be tasting a great wine, but we might be sipping vinegar. The wine level was perfect, raising hopes. A crumbly cork had our host worried, but the cork chips were easily removed with a tea strainer.
The wine was better than I’d dared to expect. Age had given it a silken texture. It was a peacock’s tail of flavours – delicate berry and floral characters with oriental spices, cigar box, old leather and a hint of nutty oak.