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Better with Age? Seppelt St Peters Shiraz 1998

Does wine get better with age?

While the fresh-faced attractiveness of youth will always draw admiration, ageing certainly adds more character to a personality. Although a physical body may not be in its prime, a bit of age brings about a self assurance and experience which, I believe, often trump youthful athletic energy.
For example, it may surprise you that the average age of those portraying  ‘Earth’s mightiest heroes’ are a venerable 40, not an in-your-prime 25:
Bringing this back to wine: I do not have much experience with aged wines and, although very curious, really do not have much of a clue as to how bottle ageing will affect flavours.
This particular bottle of Seppelt St Peters Shiraz 1998 had been moping around my parents’ home for many years and being highly skeptical of my parents’ “cellaring technique” (throwing it in a drawer), I was entirely expecting a bottle of vinegar. As I was opening up it up, the cork broke in half and released a powerful acetic scent which did not bode well. Preparing myself to throw out this wine, I had a taste straight after uncorking it and… not bad!
After decanting and some time settling in the glass, the Seppelt shook out its sleepy confusion, and stretched out to reveal its full length and powers. What followed was a lovely wine indeed.

My Notes:

Seppelt St Peters Shiraz 1998: Cedar, spice rack and slight dustiness on aroma. Fruit and jamminess are offset and balanced by the earthiness. Impressive, powerful flavours are reined in by a subtle complexity on its length. This does not hang around forever, but it is absolutely delicious.

– I have noticed that the woody dusty aroma (spice rack, medicine cabinet) is a particular point of difference compared to younger wines.
– Even though the flavours were powerful and strong, I definitely got the impression that age had taken out the rawness, tempered and given balance to them.
Although I am still unsure of what precisely ageing does (besides mellowing out of the tannins) my experience with this is that bottle ageing definitely and powerfully created a very different flavour profile than younger wines. It sounds vague but a wine that is a little bit older, a little bit wiser seems to have developed more depth and complexity.
All of these flavours could be a fluke of course. But on the other hand maybe all wines need to be thrown into drawers to turn them into superheroes.
Featured Image photo by Andrés García from Flickr


About The Author
Peter Tan avatar
Peter Tan
Dilettante. I had to look that up.

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