Wine drinkers worry more about the vintages and readiness of Bordeaux than of any other wine, with the possible exception of burgundy.
Is such great concern warranted? In Bordeaux itself, chateaux owners often feel that Americans are rash and hyper judgemental concerning vintages. Further, they suggest that this tendency causes us to miss out on many delicious wines since vintages and wines not given immediate high marks tend not to be imported.
Generally, the tighter and more structured the wine when young, the more slowly it will evolve. Since most top Bordeaux are very structured wines, they usually take at least eight to ten years of ageing before beginning to soften and show more complex nuances.
In the end, perhaps the best way to gauge readiness is philosophically. A wine is ready when you can’t bear to wait for it any longer.