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Does a suggested cellaring time start with the year on the bottle or the date of the critic's review?

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The question

When you list a wine as having a cellaring period of two to 10 years, does that period start at the date on the bottle or the date of your article?

The answer

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It starts with the review's publication date, not the wine's vintage date.

Wines do, indeed, begin to evolve the moment they finish fermenting. But most wine writers, myself included, intend for their cellaring recommendations to refer to the wine at the time it was tasted, not produced or bottled. This becomes obvious when a critic uses an expression such as "drink now until 2020." Obviously "now" refers to the present, not to the bottling date, which of course took place in the past. Make sense?

That said, the cellar-date guessing game is hardly exact science. There usually is a substantial margin of error. Much depends on storage conditions as well as peculiarities of the vintage.

The Flavour Principle, a new cookbook and drinks compendium by Lucy Waverman and Beppi Crosariol, is in bookstores everywhere. Published by HarperCollins.

E-mail your wine and spirits questions to Beppi Crosariol. Look for answers to select questions to appear in the Wine & Spirits newsletter and on The Globe and Mail website.

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About the Author
Life columnist

Beppi Crosariol writes about wine and spirits in the Globe Life and Style sections.He has been The Globe's wine and spirits columnist for more than 10 years. In the late 1990s, he also wrote a food trends column called The Biting Edge.Beppi used to cover business law for ROB and previously edited the paper's weekly technology section. More

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