For most of wine's millennia-long history, everyday reds were drunk very young, usually before next year's harvest came around. These wines were very simply fermented, using wild yeasts, then put into barrel with minimal or no preservatives and shipped off to thirsty local customers. A couple of hundred years ago, the invention of the cork-sealed glass bottle, the scientific understanding of wine microbiology and the widespread use of preservatives changed all that, making it possible to keep even basic reds for at least a couple of years.
Now, though, around the world and increasingly in Australia there is a refreshing return to reds produced specifically to be drunk before the next vintage: juicy unwooded wines, sometimes bottled without preservatives, with bold, mouthwatering flavours that would be perfect with this sweet-sour summer dish of grilled vincotto quail with grape, pecorino pepato and thyme salad - preferably eaten in a vineyard, watching the grapes ripening for the imminent 2011 harvest.
Expect to see more reds in this style appear from this vintage, from cool-climate pinots and gamays to fuller-bodied, warmer-climate merlots, shirazes and tempranillos. Drink them without delay.
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