The time comes when you must drink those great wines you've been collecting and storing. Here are some top examples of mature Californian wines hitting their stride...

Most readers will be aware that the vast majority of wines are not built to last any significant length of time, and even fewer would be expected to develop beyond the five-year mark.

Many winemakers also now talk about a fashion for drinking even top vintages much sooner than in yesteryear, and some lament this.

Of course, it all comes down to preferences.

Drinking wines young is a great way of enjoying those primary fresh fruit characters, but cellaring ageworthy wines, or buying them at a later stage, can also offer great rewards as complexity develops in the bottle. And the wine, once opened, offers an opportunity to reminisce over years past with close company.

When the flushes of youth have settled down, they can also be exceptional with food.

The perennial dilemma is when to open that special bottle – the delicate balance between finding the right occasion without waiting so long that your wine silently fragments in the corner of the cellar.

Below are some top mature Californian wines from the last four decades, all of which should be good for drinking in 2018.

See also: Birthday wine buying guide for 2018

Mature Californian wines to try this year

Wines below are a collection of those tasted for Decanter by William Kelley in the previous two years


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