Wine is not just a drink | New Brief #207

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Britt Karlsson and Per Karlsson, BKWine Were we wrong when we said last month that you should not over-estimate the value of ageing wine? (Do you have ageing-mania?) Cellaring wine doesn’t always give you what you wish for. One reader commented: “In our little wine tasting group, we recently solemnly uncorked a fairly old Bordeaux. The usually open discussion about the wine’s character, pros and cons, qualities or not, value etc. did not ensue. We sat quiet. Looked at the impressive bottle. Some took pictures of the label and sent to acquaintances. Of course, it was very old!” (Thank you, Olle.) You can interpret that in many ways.

This month we say: there are plenty of good reasons to put down wine in your cellar. So, let’s take a closer look.

Almost all wines made today are delicious to drink when they are put on the market. Some wines do get better with ageing. With some time in the cellar (2, 3 years or even 5, 10 or more) they change and might even improve. Some of the rough edges may be smoothed off. Some new and exciting aromas may develop with age. Yes, there are plenty of wines that are worth cellaring. In fact, maybe more than you think. Of course, the classic reds to cellar. But also many whites can develop really interesting aromas, even light, refreshing whites may become more subtle and complex with age. Swiss chasselas and some muscadet come to mind. But also many others. Sometimes they don’t necessarily get much better, but just different, and that’s fun too. (But they never spoil. We’ve never had a wine that was too old and “dead”.)

But there are other reasons to cellar wines, maybe even more important reasons, as one of our readers pointed out:

“To me, there are a couple of extra reasons to age wine. Ageing or saving a bottle for 10-15-20 years for that special occasion and trying to anticipate when would be just the right moment to open the wine is for me one of the thrills (or disappointments) of ageing wine. Anticipating just the right moment that will create that special memory that wine is all about. Especially after holding the bottle in your hands many times over the years before putting it back in the cellar. You cannot get that feeling by drinking a wine acquired a month ago. Another aspect that my wife and I practice is buying wine whenever we travel and then drinking it years later revisiting those great memories that the trip gave us.” (Thank you for the quote Kristian!)

Exactly. Wine is not just a drink; it is a catalyst for memories and emotions.

Bringing up an old bottle of wine from the cellar. Maybe thinking of what happened then. The Bordeaux 1990 you might have; ah, that was the year we first settled in France, a sunny autumn. Or the 1959 vin doux naturel that I tasted in Roussillon a while back (still on sale if you want a bottle). I was barely born, and Algeria was still part of France. A bottle we brought home from travelling in Moldova a few years back opened recently; they have just elected a new president that may move them to a more stable democracy, let’s hope it works well. And many others.

Wine is not just a drink. It’s about the mind, about people, history, meetings, culture, events, travel… So there are plenty of good reasons to put bottles in the cellar.

But don’t over-do it. Ageing wine is not a purpose in itself, just an enabler, a catalyst.

Do share your thoughts and comments with us if you want. Do send us an email.

A new book

There is less reading this month in the Brief than usual and fewer articles on BKWine Magazine (but there’s still a good dose of reading). We have been busy.

We have put the finishing touches on the text for our next book (to be published in Swedish, at least initially), and it has taken up all our time, so we hope you will excuse us. Book number 11. This time, it is a book for those who want to know more about wine, EVERYTHING about wine. It is not a beginner’s book but an intermediate level text about the world of wine. It is about all the world’s wine countries, but also about how to grow and make wine, how to taste wine, how to pair it with food, all the (most important) grapes varieties… And much more.

It is not really a textbook, but it can very well be used as such, at an intermediate level. It is not a superficial introduction, nor does it go far down in every detail (as some of our other books do, such as Champagne, Organic Wine or The Creation of a Wine does). It is for those who already know a bit about wine but who want to learn more.

If all goes well (these times, you know), it will be published this spring.

Now that the manuscript has been completed, we start planning for next year’s wine tours. Again, if all goes well (vaccine :-) ), we will have two tours in the spring to the two great classics wine regions Bordeaux and Champagne. And in the autumn there will be two more. We are also planning the winter tours to the southern hemisphere in 2022.

Wine school

As a small compensation (for the “less reading than usual”), I can mention that we have a new section on BKWine Magazine which we call “wine school”. There we collect all the articles that are a little more in-depth or on specific fact-based subjects, grape varieties, wine regions, winemaking etc. You can find the “wine school” on the welcome page of BKWine Magazine, if you scroll down a bit, eight randomly selected articles every time you go to the page plus a link to read them all. Browse the wine school and tell us what you think!

We, the two of us, are really eager to travel again and maybe you too? When the time comes, plan a tour with us at BKWine. We create and manage wine tours because we want to share with you all the fantastic things that you can experience in the wine regions and share our knowledge.

Enjoy the Brief!

Britt & Per

If you appreciate what we do, you can help us:Tell your friends about the Brief or send it to them.

This is just the introduction to the latest issue of the Brief. Subscribe to the BKWine Brief and you will get the whole edition in your mailbox next month.

What’s on at BKWine Tours

BKWine is also one of the world’s leading wine tour operators. Here’s what we currently have on our scheduled wine tour program:

  • Champagne, September 22-26, 2021 (possible combination with Bordeaux)
  • Bordeaux, September 29 – October 3, 2021 (possible combination with Champagne)

We also make custom designed wine tours.

We’re different than most other wine tour operators. We are people who know wine inside out, who travel constantly in wine regions, who write award winning books about wine. Who do this out of passion. Our tours are different from others. More in wine tours:

Book a wine tour today! »

Read our books

We have written several wine books, ten at the last count. Unfortunately, only one of them has been translated to English; the others are (so far) only available in Swedish. This is the one that is available in English:

All our books are on wine, but on different subjects: wines of the Languedoc, wine growing and wine making, the wines of France, Tuscany, Bordeaux, Piedmont, Burgundy, Champagne. Several have won prestigious prizes and awards from Gourmand International, OIV and others. Read more on our wine books.

Old bottles from the Goering collection at Cricova, Moldova
Old bottles of Mosel wine from 1935 in the historic the Goering collection at Cricova, Moldova, copyright BKWine Photography

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