To a certain extent, most everything gets opened too young! (In other words, it’s not a problem limited only to Bordeaux.) As far back as the 1980s, I remember seeing a statistic that said something like 97 percent of all wines purchased in the United States are consumed within seven days of purchase.
Especially with Americans – who grew up on Central Valley jug wines, White Zinfandel, and a sea of inexpensive “plonky” Chardonnay – there is no history, no tradition of having a wine cellar. America has been (historically) about Jell-o instant pudding, Folger’s instant coffee, Quaker Oats instant oatmeal, etc., etc., etc. – it’s the “me” generation and instant gratification. The idea of buying wine (or anything for that matter) today and not touching it for ten years . . . HA! You’ve got to be kidding me, right?!?!?
Even in Britain and France – yes, it’s not like Tesco or Carrefour are cellaring the wines for you – people are “buying today to drink tonight.” The role of the wine merchant has changed from selling the client x number of cases of this, and y number of cases of that for the cellar (while the 10, 15, 25+ year old vintages of “this” and “that” that you, your parents, or even your grandparents purchased are now ready to drink).
Sometimes i wonder who is smarter, the winemaker making his or her Napa Cabernet ready to drink right now, or the winemaker whose wines are practically undrinkable now but will be in-f’ing-credible in 15-20 years . . .
I’m guilty of it too, of course. Although I have this week opened a 1994 Washington State Merlot, a 1994 Washington Cabernet Sauvignon, and a 2009 Cru de Beaujolais, I have also opened a 2012 Napa Cab, 2012 Carneros Pinot Noir, and a 2010 Pinot from the Santa Cruz Mountains . . .