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Time and taste wait for no man

Let’s get ready to ramble - I feel a potentially discursive post coming on!

In many posts over time I’ve seen comments about how your tastes may change in future. There are others about not buying wine with a possibly longer maturity time than yourself. In general I have the impression that people tend to go for more complex and nuanced wines as they get older physically and/or in their wine life (and trying to avoid financial deductions). I’m also aware of some of the changes in my taste over time. For example I can remember having enjoyed Coca-Cola, or creme eggs, though I haven’t had, or wanted either for many years.

I’ve been reading on the internet that the sense of smell/taste tends to decline with age, though these tend to be very generalised comments, and don’t give much clue to what might happen individually.

So where is this leading? That’s the question. If I consider myself on a slowly evolving path towards better wines - more complex, subtler, less manufactured, whatever - might there come a time when diminishing faculties will eventually lead me back to bigger, bolder, simpler flavours? Will it be influenced by how much effort I put into tasting and smelling or will any change just happen to me inexorably? Might any changes be similar for others, or completely different?

I started lockdown with some 500 bottles in the house and decided that rather than buying more, I’d try to get rid of a few. If lockdown ends sometime what should I aim for most? Long or short-term term wines? Are my tastes likely to have a major change at some point, or just a very gradual one? Is it likely that I’ll ever feel about drinking some of my wines the way I now feel about drinking coke?

Well, I did warn you! Perhaps all I want is an accurate crystal ball.


You might need to reveal your age before that can be answered well! :wink:


I can’t offer any real advice as I suspect everyone’s journey is different. However my experience was having an interest originally based on wines with simpler and more obvious characters. Partly this reflected the times, as the wine World was approaching peak Parker, and partly the fact they were easier to understand.

I then went through a period of exploration where novelty was as, if not more, important as drinking pleasure (I see this quite a bit in more than a few posters on this site). As an example when faced with a wine list I would always choose a wine I didn’t know over one I knew and liked. This was great for learning but as time has gone on I have slowly realised that although there’s always something new out there I seldom got any real thrill from going there, ennui had set in.

These days I have pretty much narrowed my buying to classic areas. I do find that some wine styles I have in the past been less keen on (Chateauneuf a case in point where I was keen then less so later on is something I can appreciate again, though only with some bottle age) appeal once more. I’m in the enviable position of sitting on a stash of wine which should see me well into my dotage.

So if I can offer any advice it’s probably buy in three categories - wines for now, wines for five years and wines for ten years plus. I’ve done that and never ended up with stuff I didn’t want to drink.


Your username may be @Andy999 but I doubt 999 is your age :slight_smile:

Advice on buying for the future is a tad difficult without revealing - as @MikeFranklin asks - your age.

I am in my ‘70s - tho’ how I got here puzzles me. I have noticed that I am missing many of the subtleties in wine that appear in my old tasting notes, and I now prefer wines with more up front bold flavours.

My experience is that ones tastes change all the time, I recall buying a case of wine when I started that a couple of years I didn’t want to finish. Not only does taste change because of ones age and experience, one can become bored with particular tastes. I used to love the pepperiness of Shiraz/Syrah but I find it a cliché now, and I avoid varietals, though I still enjoy blends where Shiraz/Syrah is a component.

Like you, I am drinking through my cellar and opening wines I have saved for special occasions and dinner guests as who know if they happen.

What I do know is there is a new vintage every year, and every month TWS will tempt me with their monthly offers.


Ok, so I’m 65, and pretty sure I still have a while to go! I think my mum’s death 10 days ago, and my own very near death experiences a few years ago have made me over conscious of age and mortality recently. I don’t really expect someone to give me a buying plan for the rest of my life, but it is interesting to read that, for example, you Peter now prefer bolder wines. I wonder if that’s common?

I also lost my sense of smell about 25 years ago. After seeing numerous specialists, and trying various treatments, it did eventually come back. Whether due to treatment, or just as randomly as it went, I don’t know, but it does make me slightly apprehensive about what might happen in future.


So you’re just a tad older than me!

I would say that I buy maybe 25% to lay down for 10+ years (I’ll probably start reducing that % before long) maybe 40% to lay down up to 5 years and the rest to drink within a couple of years (sometimes young sometimes bought mature).


I too am drinking “special” wines on a weekly if not daily basis.

I started buying en primeur in the mid 90s in anticipation of enjoyment on a gradual basis over the years. However then embarked on best part of 20 years working overseas when getting your hands (taste buds) on the cellar became very difficult thanks to the “shoe bomber” stopping wine carriage in hand luggage! :frowning_face:
So my cellar planning for a nice steady supply became disrupted leading to a current “glut”.

Now back in UK for last six years with a significant back catalogue (1000+) in cellarage and have been working on “reduction”, so pretty much every red that I drink has plenty of age. I find that I enjoy these more complex wines rather than the cheap fruit bombs that dominate the “drink now” market. The more average/available stuff I drank overseas the more I hankered after the complexity. As I mostly consume with food, IMHO, the aged wines compliment better. That is not to say I don’t drink others - just bought some Beaujolais for summer pleasure.

All this however has not overtaken my natural optimism as evidenced by my ongoing and recent EP purchases which will still be drinking well in 2060 … but I suspect my “everyday is special” consumption will have done for them well before that, if not it is most unlikely to me doing the drinking. :wink:

My advice: make a cellar plan around how (young/old) you like your wine and plan around it. If you like young but decide later to prefer old no problem … but if you like old and later decide young you might have to drink or sell a lot quickly. However don’t forget life has a way of messing with your plans !


As a lateral thought, why not share a cellar (buying) plan with your son/daughter…? That way someone gets to drink the wine young or old (-the wine that is) even if each of your tastes change.

I’m over 50 and i stopped buying any wine for long ageing a while back, partly because i hope i won’t be here much longer and partly because I’ve become sceptical about the value of ageing wine. i find I’m drinking far more of the stuff I’ve been buying recently (refreshing “liquid” reds from coolish climates) than the more “classic” stuff I’ve has for years, which i just don’t seem to fancy much. So can’t see a shift towards bold flavours for myself, but who knows? What is certain is that, as Peter says, there’s always new stuff of interest so no real need to hoard.


I am rapidly approaching 60 and over the last year or so have stopped buying wine, with a few exceptions, for long term cellaring.

I find the biggest change on my wine drinking is education. I have bought odd enpremiere wines for 26 years off the back of buying a case in St. Emilion in 1991 that I noticed improved over 2 years of sampling. WSET level 2 and 3 courses have broadened my enjoyment and horizons tremendously. With wine based holidays now a constant feature the enthusiastic people you meet and their wine are greater than the sum. This weeks zoom session with Giuseppe from GD Vajra is a case in point. An entirely fascinating man and so inspired rushed down to excellent Luvians wine shop and acquired his wonderful Dolcetto with black cherry and perfumed violet and intense fruit flavours. I would never have found or enjoyed this without the education and stimulating blogs such as this.