The longer you wait to open that bottle of wine the better, right? Well, unless you actually bought some nice wine designed to be aged, not really.
Photo by Peggy Lohse.
As certified wine sommelier Madeline Puckette at Wine Folly explains, most wines these days aren’t designed to age. In fact, Puckette says most wine you can buy in stores won’t last nearly as long as you think it will. Here are a couple of her general rules of thumb:
Everyday red wines have about a 5 year life span
Everyday white and rosé wines have about a 2 — 3 year life span
And waiting until the end of those life spans to drink them doesn’t really make them better. It’s also important to note that wine you buy at supermarket usually isn’t all that complex, and according to Puckette, a wine that isn’t complex to begin with won’t become more complex with age. So there’s no point in trying. Sorry, that bottle of Yellowtail you bought in 2011 isn’t getting better.
There are still age-worthy wines out there, but you need to buy them from serious wine dealers, specialty stores, or straight from the vineyards. What should you look out for? Age-worthy red wines are vibrant, high in tannins (what gives wine that bitter taste), high in acidity and possibly fortified with added spirits like Port.
Age-worthy white wines are nearly clear in colour to start, high in acidity and very sweet (like dessert wines). Puckette has a great chart of wine types that are worth ageing and how for long, here.
But honestly, unless you’re seriously looking to get into the wine investment game, you should just buy wine you want to drink here and now. Better yet, just grab some boxed wine. It tastes pretty excellent for coming out of a plastic bag inside a cardboard box, you get a lot more for less, it lasts longer and come on, you can’t tell the difference between it and the expensive stuff. Stop kidding yourself.
How To Tell If A Wine Is Age-Worthy [Wine Folly]