Thursday, 16 October 2008

Systembolaget Ageing Recommendations

Ever wondered what the ageing classifications mean that the Systembolaget adds to each wine description in Varunytt. I asked Anna-Karin Ene at the Systembolage for a full clarification and this was her response :

No individual can assess when a wine is perfectly mature. There are too many variables to be taken into consideration when making such an assessment. The quality of individual customers' storage facilities may for example differ quite a bit, but more importantly the notion of when a wine is perfect depends on the taste of the individual consumer. This is why we are reluctant to give exact ageing recommendations.

Most wines today are made for early consumption and even wines from classical regions like Bordeaux, Rhône and Piedmont are today a lot more approachable at a younger age than they used to be.

For this reasons, most wines that we sell are categorized as "will not improve with ageing" (Vinner inte på lagring). This does not mean that we believe that they have to be consumed immediately after being purchased. With the exception of the simplest wines we do not believe that the wines change remarkably during the first year and many will last for a few years.

When we feel that a wine is pleasant to drink now but has not reached its (theoretical) peak, we categorize it as "can age" (Kan lagras). By this we do not mean that the wine requires ageing but that it probably will improve when aged.

Sometimes, but admittedly quite rarely we categorize wines as "needs ageing" (Bör lagras). These are wines that are so young and undeveloped and expected to improve with ageing that we feel it would be a shame to drink it directly after purchase.

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