A question of maturity

I was listening to the excellent Grape Radio featuring an interview with Louis Fabrice Latour (warning Grape Radio could be a bit intense for non wine nerds – consume at your own risk) and part of the conversation revolved around white wine maturity. Monsieur Latour had some great comments about how many people now do not understand older mature white wines especially as it relates to color. It seems that as soon as the color turns a little yellow many consumers – and experts – turn to the conclusion that the wine is oxydized and near total death. I was relating to many conversations I have had in the past with good clients about aged Riesling and how people are so darn sensitive to color and jump to conclusion – not everyone makes green Sauvignon Blanc to be drunk within 12 month! It did not use to be like this, great white Burgundies (the one that Louis Fabrice referred to), the great Rieslings, the great Chenin Blanc from the Loire, an old Bordeaux Blanc, they all turn yellow-yellow after 5 -6 years and if the wine is balanced (sometimes residual sugar helps a lot as well as a low pH/high acid combo), most experienced wine drinkers will consider those wines to be still young and very pleasurable. May be they are not youngsters and have developed more bottle bouquet, but by no mean they are dead. I would agree that some cheap white wines, aged under a lot of oak and often under a cheap natural cork – or a fake plastic cork (all great techniques for hyper oxygenation) can be oxidized and dead, but please do not jump to the conclusion that all yellow pigmented white wines are dead – you might be missing out on a great bottle of wine and another world of wine.

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