Aging is exciting. We fear it … we fear the law of diminishing returns. But why worry? There’s a moment in life when the bubble bursts, the existential dread evaporates, and life begins again. Let’s call it ReBurthst or, better yet, Heaven On Earth (HOE). Spacetime x Hilarious Doom x Physical Decay = HOE? Something like that. Hopefully this moment will happen for you and I. Maybe we’ll die before it does. Maybe it already has. You may be wondering how this is pertinent to a wine tasting. Here:
Wine, esp. aged wine, is the perfect instigator for the human HOE (esp. nostalgic) moment.
Let’s use Rioja as our demonstrative muse. The northwestern Spanish winemaking region has methodical and purposeful aging requirements (Rioja, Crianza, Reserva, Gran Reserva), and most winemakers use a Tempranillo dominated blend for their red wines (plus some Garnacha, Mazuelo, and Graciano for seasoning). Tempranillo has elevated acidity and tannin and the Riojanas always age in oak, so the wines have great potential for a long life. Basically, we’ll really be able to taste the effects of aging today due to consistency of style. Acidity, tannin (both grape and oak), alcohol, and sugar function as preservatives in wine. We age wines so that their flavors and textures relax and new and surprising ones are achieved. The youngest and most gnarled become the most elegant and distinguished with time and proper storage. These are the earthbound facts. Let’s ascend… keep the metaphors close to your heart.
Nexo Rioja 2015
Izadi Rioja Reserve 2012
Viña Tondonia Reserva 2004