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MONTREAL GAETTE – Zacharkiw: Four wines that aged with grace in the cellar

Drinking wine at its apogee is the reason people have wine cellars. If you truly love wine and have the cash and the space, there is no greater gift you can give yourself. Enjoying your favourite wines with a bit — or a lot — of age will redefine how you think about them. You will notice more complex and interesting aromatics, and the texture changes.

As I have written before, aging wine is not an exact science. That being said, you can hedge your bets by buying expensive Cru Classé Bordeaux, Burgundy or Napa cabernets. Part of the reason they’re so expensive is because they’re supposed to be age-worthy.

I have very few of those wines in my cellar. I’ve learned through decades of experience that simpler, less expensive wines can age just as well. Plus, I believe you should stock your cellar with wines you already know well. For me, there is no greater pleasure than sifting through a pile of bottles, finding one that’s been there for a few years and tasting what I’ve got. Here are a few that were stellar, and are available at the SAQ in more recent vintages.

Muscadet 2017, Amphibolite, Les Domaines Landron, France white, $24.75, SAQ # 12741084. The new release is coming soon, and I can’t wait. I drank the 2015, despite the back label saying the wine was meant to be drunk young. It was more aromatic, more full, but with that signature crystalline minerality on the finish. With mussels, it simply rocked.

Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2014, Château Mont-Redon, France red, $49.75, SAQ # 856666. My 2007 was $39.75 when I bought it. While that is still a fair amount of cash to drop on a bottle, it was one of the least expensive Châteauneufs at the SAQ. And it still is. While it was supple and complex in its youth, that’s nothing compared to the majesty at 12 years of age. Fruit, flowers and a gamey pheasant note. Every swirl of the glass was so intriguing. Talk about mouth velvet.

Vouvray 2016, Brut, Domaine Vincent Carême, France sparkling, $26.10, SAQ # 11633591. I wrote “drink now” in my original tasting note for the 2012, as I have on all successive vintages of my favourite “non-Champagne.” I won’t do that anymore. While in youth this bubbly was a study in nuance, at seven years of age it’s fuller, with more defined aromas of brioche and mushrooms. Really, really good, and I bet it could have passed for some as real Champagne.

Ribera del Duero 2015, Tinto Pesquera, Spain red, $34.25, SAQ # 10273109. This 100 per cent tempranillo is always released with four years of age, so I left my 2011 for another four. If you want the perfect wine for barbecue veal, this is it. I bet it would be equally awesome with chicken mole. Soft tannins, delicate fruit and a hint of vanilla and spice from the wood on the finish.