The Mirrington Level is a method
of determining how well a wine
has been cellared over a period of time by measuring the level of the wine in the neck of the bottle
, otherwise known as the ullage
. A lower level of liquid
within the bottle increases the risk of the wine having oxidised
, and therefore being undrinkable
. The grading system is measured between the bottom of the cork
to the level of the wine, and is catagorised as follows:
- High Fill (HF) to In Neck (IN) is acceptable for wines up to 15 years old
- In Neck (IN) to Top Shoulder (TS) is normal for wines 15 to 20 years old
- Upper Shoulder (US) to Top Shoulder (TS) is normal for wines 20 years of age and older
- All wines with ullages Mid–Shoulder (MS) or lower carry proportionally greater degrees of risk
- Lower–Mid–Shoulder (LMS) to Below Low Shoulder (BLS) levels are not usually recommended for drinking, but may be of particular interest to collectors for their label or other characteristics.
As wine bottles from different regions have different shapes, the above grading system can be quite hard to judge, so it is now possible to buy Mirrington Level 'rulers' that fit the profile of Burgundy and Bordeaux bottles from several auction houses and wine dealerships.
Along with other key factors, such as the condition of the cork, the Mirrington Level of a wine is amongst the main ways of determining the likelihood of the bottle still being drinkable, which if you're spending £85,000 on a single bottle of 1787 Yquem Lur Saluces, is quite an important thing to know.
Grading scheme taken from www.madaboutwine.com. If you're interested in the bottle of Lur Saluces this can also be purchased from the site