Tom over at Fermentation has resurrected an interesting discussion that has gone around and around in the wine blogosphere (and media at large) that I thought I’d bring over there to this here blog as well — Old Vines.
What does it mean? Should it be a regulated term? Does it matter to you when you see it on a bottle?
As far as I know, the only Long Island winery using "old vines" on their labels is Lenz Winery, which uses it on a merlot, chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon. I think that the oldest vines at Lenz are around 27 or 28 years old, making them some of the eldest on Long Island. But is that really "old"?
I don’t think so. But, I also don’t think it’s a big deal if they have it on the label. It doesn’t affect my buying decisions, whether we’re talking 25 year old chardonnay vines or 110 year old zinfandel vines. To me, it’s really no different than putting ‘reserve’ on a label.
Then again, I know that locally, ‘reserve’ means that the wine was barrel fermented or aged in oak longer. It is more an indication of style than quality most of the time. In that way, ‘old vines’ is less useful than ‘reserve’ because it doesn’t tell me anything about the wine’s style.
What do you think?