The trends and tendencies are moving toward quick or instant gratification and consumption. Fast food, instant coffee … and few seems to have the time to wait for the sublime experience …
A lot of this is contemplated openly by choice; wines are consumed earlier, often just after the release – without taking the time to mature the wine – let alone waiting until the wine is fully mature after perhaps 20 years of cellaring.
This is the choise of the modern world – and old collectors like me who love mature wines are saddened by this development, as I feel that most wines are consumed too early missing out on the ultimate experience of complexity.
However – this is how the world is today – and time seem to be the limiting ressource for most people .. hence instant gratification!
This does however pose another – and for me more serious problem – the fact that some producers seem to adapt the vinification towards instant or very early consumption – thus enforcing the tendency!
I see more and more wines apparently made for early enjoyment and this does worry me, as one would expect that some of these will age rather rapidly – at the risk of developing less complexity than wines made for maturing.
I have seen quite some examples of this tendency over the last 15 years as the wines seem to age without maturing properly.
By this I mean – these wines age rather rapidly, seemingly without the time to develop full complexity .. as the wines start to show signs of decay or even collapse before reaching what I would call maturity, let alone being fully mature.
These wines will presumably never offer the full complexity of a fully mature Burgundy, as the wine apparently run out of steam well before they are fully mature – with the fruit retracting from the wine – or even worse in decay and or marked by oxidation.
The implcations of Instant Burgs
The thought of Instant Burgs can be very enticing – yet this could be the end of classic and mature Burgundies as we know and love them.
My experience with some of these early drinking Burgundies – could be a combination of relatively short elevage, low sulphur and low extraction – show that the point of maturing these often can be questionable. The tradeoffs often are loss of fruit and freshness – that will retract faster than maturity and complexity is gained. Hence enjoying the wines in their youth could well prove to be the best option – enforcing the tendency of early consumption.
A parallel to white Burgundies is somehow obvious – and should be seen as a strong and flashing warning light. The premox problems were, in my view, partly caused by the quest for earlier drinkability – i.e. to provide the consumers with instant gratification. In the end the consequences have been far more severe and has changed the drinking behaviour towards even earlier consumption due to the fear of premox …
Think before you buy!
If you drink and like your Burgundies young – within the first 5 years or so – then probably this tendency will not worry you, but perhaps it should!
The tendency is in fact changing the style and tradition of the Burgundian wines, and in the end the making of Instant Burgs could change the wines in a way that limits the ultimate complexity of the Burgundies as it diminish the impression and expression of the terroir …
Why pay 500 Euro for a grand cru when the complexity never unfolds, and the terroir is never expressed fully?
Whats the point of buying a Ferrari, if you are only driving in the very center of London!
I will return to this topic during 2018 – to explore and discuss further ..