Hey Chess, seeing how you were in the ice wine country taking notes and having intelligent conversations like a good disciplined wine tasterÖ.., do you know how long they keep? During one of my drunken tasting days, I bought two horribly overpriced 2002 Pinot ice wines in .375 bottles. I just havenít had the occasion or reason to open them. What do you think?
To my knowledge, ice wines can age for sometime. I actually have a German riesling in my posession that will age for up to 30 years according to Dr. Zen Zen (the wine maker).
Usually it comes down to the sugar content for white wines. The more sugar content the longer it can age.
Although i haven't asked anyone specifically, i would guess that the icewines will hold for quite some time, certainly longer than 10 years.
The question is, do you want them to?
You may not know what time will do to the icewine and much like any other wine, the little chemical changes that do occur may be beneficial, or not
But i wouldn't worry about it turning to vinegar that's for sure.
And yeah, itís tough keeping track of all the wines tasted when in wine country. I tend to get way too caught up in the moment. One of my friends who I usually wander about with takes great notes. He's a machine with that journal. He takes it everywhere and has his scoring down very well. When we are tasting wines, I have him just take a quick note for me; "Mike likes this one" or Mike said it's swill". I can later refer to the notes. Although his notes tend to get harder to read after a few wineries....
If you friend and I ever got together, no one would leave a winery. We'd be too busy making two copies of each other's notes.
I kept my binder with me religiously through every place. I was doing fine for tasting actually and after the day was over i wasn't nearly as intoxicated as i thought i might be prior to the start of the trip. My notes were fairly good and i think it was easier for me to actually pick out the wines i wanted to buy than i thought it was going to be.
It was kind of funny that our first stop in the Okanagan was an unexpected one. We hit another winery which said they were open and actually they were closed. We had seen a sign up the road earlier for another winery that said they were open though our winery guide had no info on their winter/off season hours. So we shrugged our shoulders and thought what the hell and we went there (Oliver Twist). Right after i walked in the door, this nice older gentleman looks at me and says,
"good morning, what are you selling?".
I looked at him odd and as my buddy entered the room he quipped to the fellow
"well, i'm hoping YOU will sell ME some wine".
The fellow explained that usually when he sees people come in with binders and such, they are salesmen.
I said "nope, its my wine notes" and the fellow brightened right up. I guess it's rare that people walk in with such a serious approach to wine tasting. Several times over the week we had people asking us if we were in the industry and we would just tell them no, just private collectors. At one point someone thought we might be from the provincial health inspection.
Anyway, this guy at Oliver Twist gave us a blind tasting off the bat to see if we could guess what grape it was (bottle was in a bag, the wine was a white).
I guessed correctly that it was a chardonnay, my friend guessed a pinot gris. It was an unoaked chardonnay.
They seem to be all the rage now. Seems the trend is away from big, buttery oaky chards but personally i'm a fan.
Iíve since learned to resist the temptation to buy several bottles when at the winery. Now I take a couple 12 bottle shipping boxes with me. If I find a wine I really like at the tasting room, Iíll buy it and take it home. I have had mixed results with this. Sometimes Iíll open it a few weeks later and think its swill, and other times I end up ordering a case I like it so much.
Ya sometimes the day itself biases your thoughts on a wine. We had some beautiful weather so we were in great spirits before starting the day and i'm sure i was happier to buy wine than if the morning was foggy like it was the next day.
We shipped our wines home via Purolator in 3 boxes of 12 and took a Coleman cooler back on the plane as carry on (since the shipping charge for that was free) which held about 14 bottles (to stay under the 50 lb limit).
I still need to get around to putting up picks from my last two trips before I head to Sonoma this May.
My cellar has grown in the Canada section to the point where it is almost full. I can either open up another section for Canadian wines or begin to fill out some other countries/continents.
Considering how many Cdn wines i now have, i think i will concentrate on Australia and USA next rather than rearrange any cellar sections.