This is an odd question posed by Richard when tasting Guigal’s Cote Rotie Brune et Blonde 2008. I think it’s a good question. The statistics have it that the average time between buying a bottle of wine and opening it is 120 minutes. Not long. Or rather, long enough to drive home, change, get food and sit down. Or grab a bottle and get to the party. There are lots of scenarios, I’m sure. This wine had been opened three days – we were trying the last two glasses on Sunday night. The black colour had a slight brick rim and quite noticeable windows. There was a slight hint of white pepper on the nose (Syrah dominant blend) but the main bouquet was of dark red fruits which later developed into lighter, almost strawberry notes. The flavour was full with smoothed out tannins and the sweet red fruits were coming through. A lovely glass of wine but too young to be at its best (and this was after three days). It was great to sip gently but would get so much better, as its restrained power suggested. So, to return to the question. Why sell it when it needs years to be at its best? If the two hour rule applies the buyer will drink a wine way before it’s ready to be really enjoyed. Perhaps it should come with a “Best After Date” on the label. Now, there’s an idea.
[Richard: more accurately – ‘why is this being sold by a supermarket’? As Geoff indicates most supermarket shoppers buy wine to drink, not to keep. Wine merchants have a different (but no doubt overlapping) clientele. Since this wine is often sold discounted at Waitrose (25% off) I wonder if they were offered a parcel at a good price (2008 is not a rated vintage) and were looking to add a bit of tone to their list. Unlike a lot of their fine wines it is available in store. I’ve seen it at Mere Green and Lichfield, where I bought it, for about £28 (discounted), about nine months ago. It’s gone up a bit since then. I tasted it over three days and it was at its best on the third. Really very enjoyable and we wished there was more. But how many shoppers will keep it 10 years?]