There is no better way to carry on exploring these time old question than with…

“The older the wine the better”

This is a concept that has been inherited from the old world. By old world I basically mean every European country that develops wine, excluding the UK. The UK has too young an industry, commerically speaking, to be classified as ‘old world’ so, along with every other wine producing region of the the world, it is known as  new world, new world wines to be precise …yes, the UK DOES produce wine by the way!). 
A fundamental difference between the two wine worlds is the climate. For example, in France it rains far more than the vines actually need. For that reason they are generally required to harvest the grapes before they are fully ripe, which then forces the winemakers to the keep the wine in bottle for several years so it can evolves into a balanced and drinkable wine.
300 years of excellent French wine marketing turned a potentially serious problem into an opportunity for distinction of class wine. Throughout the world today the concept of aging wine before releasing it to the market is strongly established in the minds of the wine drinker.

On the other side of the spectrum, in the new world wines it tends to rain a lot less than the plant needs, so it is imperative that the winemaker waits until the fruits have reached optimum levels of ripeness before harvest.  The resulting wine is one which can be drunk in it’s youthful stages of life without any problems. Of course, some of these wines also have the potential to be aged in oak, which will add greater complexity and evolve the wine further.

Apart from old world versus new world, there is of course, always a question of quality (which you can see excellent examples of in Argentine wine). If the winemaker has a good quality grape to begin with, then it will have the substance and ability to stand up to the powerful flavour of oak and can therefore start it’s liquid life aging in oak barrels, while also having balanced alcohol, good acidity and robust tannins; all factors which give a wine storage capacity. But not all wines are made to save. Some grapes which have experienced a undesirable growing season or have not been grown in the best conditions will of course not be top quality. These grapes do not have the power to compete with oak flavours and maturation in oak barrels, therefore will taste nothing short of vinegar on the outcome. In this case wines should be drunk and enjoyed in their youthful state.

Wines will always evolve for the better or for the worse but, ultimately, it is up to the drinker to decide what is superior, depending on their tastes, which are of course, all individually different, whether that be preference for the first the fruity flushes of flavour in the wines youth or a desire to uncover the complex, diverse aromas of evolution (leather, mushrooms, chocolate, etc.) of aged wine….it really is up to you!

So it is…..a Myth!

Unless…wine improves with age: the older I get, the better I like it!