One of the most popular questions out there by wine consumers is how long a particular wine will last or what is it’s ability to stored and aged. Should I drink it now or can I drink it in years to come? If it was that easy to provide a response that was universal across all wines it would make any wine professional’s job a whole lot easier. Unfortunately, every wine is different and there are many factors that go into how long a wine can age which we will address.
The main characteristics of a wine that help determine whether it will age well are acidity and tannin. These characteristics are defined by the particular grapes used as some have lower or higher levels of acidity and tannins in comparison to others. Typically, many wines that have high acidity and/or solid tannin behind them are wines that can age well. In addition to the grapes used, how the winemakers produce wines with these grapes is also key. Decisions that winemakers make including when they choose to harvest the grapes take part in the equation of how long a wine may last. If a winemaker leaves the grapes on the vine too long to the point they overripen and lose some of their acidity this will shorten the lifespan of the wine since they will result in wines that are flabby.
Another key factor in determining how well a wine can age is how it is stored. If you think about the life of a wine and everything from the grape’s infancy in the vineyards to being bottled and making its way into your home, you’ll realize there are many moving parts. Transportation in how the wine bottle gets from the winery to your home is quite the journey. If we’re talking Italian wine it obviously has to make it from Italy to your country, then to a warehouse where it is then delivered to your local store and then to your home. Without knowing every party that took part in the handling of your wine and what the conditions were of how they were stored, it’s impossible to know if the wine was affected en route to you purchasing the bottle.
What is even the purpose of aging a wine? One may want to age a wine because it signifies a special occasion or may have been an unforgettable vacation that we experienced and would love to relive the moment years later. Also, as a wine ages it takes on different nuances that can be very favorable. If you do decide to age a wine that you have selected, make sure you have proper conditions to store the wine in including a cool, dark place on its side. This way you are taking care of the wine in the best way possible to enjoy it for years to come.
If one were to answer the question of how long a wine can age without going into further detail and providing a general response to a wine consumer it’s best to follow the rule tatrose’ wines should be consumed in their youth within the year. White wines are recommended to drink between 1-3 years and red wines can possibly age up to 3-5 years. This is without taking into consideration the finer, high quality wines that can be aged for 10-20+ years.
As you can see there is no clear cut answer this to this question. The best one can do is to ask an expert and professional. Many wine consumers that are looking to purchase a bottle majority of the time aren’t looking to age the wine and are looking for a rather quick consumption. For those of you that enjoy collecting wines, do some research or speak with knowledgeable professionals, understand the grapes and the typical profiles of each wine and that will help guide you in the direction of finding the best wines to age.