How does the ageing of half bottles differ from full sized...?

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Ageing of half-bottles – ask Decanter

Max Helmore, London asks: I have two cases of half bottles of Sauternes stored in ideal conditions: Suduiraut 2013 and Climens 2015.

If they were 75cl bottles, I wouldn’t even consider broaching them yet, but as they are halves I don’t want to leave them too long. What time frame should I have in mind?

Stephen Brook replies: How wise of you to have bought two such excellent Sauternes in digestible half-bottles!

You need have few fears about their cellaring potential. I opened a mixed case of 1983 halves of Sauternes after 25 years and no bottle was past its best, though most were fully ready to drink.


See Jane Anson’s Sauternes 2017 tasting notes and scores


I suspect the Climens will age effortlessly, but to avoid disappointment I’d open a half bottle of both wines in about 10 years.

You will then be able to tell whether they are ready (and whether you are!) or whether either or both bottles would benefit from a few more years of slumber.

Stephen Brook has been a Decanter contributing editor since 1996.

This question first appeared in the June 2018 issue of Decanter magazine, subscribe to Decanter here.

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