How Old Is A “Fine Wine” vs. Too Old

Aging of wine is where you purchase a bottle or case of wine with the intention of letting it sit in a cool dark place for many years before you drink it. Fine wines are aged well in perfect, consistent temperatures that assist the wine through to a mature stage in the bottle. However, many people do not have a clue how to age wine, what types of wine should be aged, and exactly when you should drink it. There are of course some simple rules to follow with the aging process that can help you out.

Aging a wine can be done for many reasons. It can mark special occasions like birthdays or anniversaries, and it can simply be done to enjoy a wine at the highest intended quality. However, did you know that 99% of wines are not meant to be aged at all?

What Wines Should Be Aged?

Only 1% of all wines produced are meant to be aged. However technically, what this means – the aging process – is to store a bottle of wine for more than five years. Aging wine is usually defined as storing for any period longer than the five-year storage recommendation. Most modern wines are created to be consumed within five years of production, to allow the wine to keep a to its highest standard. Most cheaper wines – by ‘cheaper’ this can be anything under $30 a bottle -are not meant to be aged past five years, as they can begin to deteriorate. Wines over the $30 a bottle range are created differently, with the purpose of either being drunk in the next five years or to be aged after that. Although, not all wines over $30 a bottle are created equal, and not all should be aged. Wines are made to be drunk. However, if stored correctly they can be improved.

The Difference Between Cheap And Expensive Wines

Cheaper wines are created with the intention of being consumed within five years. This, of course, doesn’t mean that if you do age a more affordable wine, it will go past its used by date, it merely means there won’t be any benefit to aging it, compared to if you drink it now. Whereas more expensive wines are created to improve through the process of aging. Enhancement can include flavors developing that would not be present in the original taste because each different grape has different potential for aging. The various processes that the winemaker uses during the creation process also affect how the wine will age, and what characteristics, flavors, and textures the wine will have in the future.

Fine Wine Gets Better With Age

The saying is of course, well known. However, the definition of fine wine can differ depending on who you speak to. The wine can last a very long time, even centuries. Fine wine, when stored correctly will age, and an increase in quality over time.

How Different Wines Age

Most red wines spend at least two years in the winery, and most wines begin to show signs of development after five years. As red wine starts to age, it becomes far more delicate, it loosens and loses some of its intense color.
Sparkling wines are designed to age, and twenty years tucked away in premium conditions can create some exquisite flavors. Aging them makes the wine appear young and fresh for a long time.

White wine without bubbles has a similar path as sparkling wines, though the aging process will happen much quicker. A ten-year-old white wine will be well-developed; you will notice deeper colors and far richer, more rounded or balanced flavors.

Aging a good wine can bring out something unique in every bottle, and if you love collecting wines, it’s a process that requires patience and dedication but has great rewards. Fine wines should be enjoyed at their peak, and taking advice from your winemaker is an excellent way to know exactly how long you should age-specific wines.


Comments are closed