Have you ever kept a bottle of wine for a few years, hoping that like you’ve always heard, wine gets better with age? Then, when you opened up that bottle of aged wine and poured a glass it actually tasted wretched? How did that happen?! Does wine get better with age? Knowing when to drink a bottle of wine is an important part of basic wine etiquette, so we’re here to help you with the answer.
Does wine get better with age?
The only reason you should age your wine is to make it taste better, but do a few years actually make a bottle of wine more enjoyable? Just like most things in life, the answer to this question isn’t as clear-cut as you probably hoped. The best quick answer is sometimes yes, wine does get better with age, and sometimes, no, it doesn’t.
Some wines aren’t supposed to be aged at all!
Winemakers realize that in this day and age very few people have a wine cellar where they can age wines. Plus, we live in a society of instant gratification. Because of these two things, a lot of wines are actually made so be consumed immediately. Attempting to age these wines will wreck them. When you open up a bottle of “aged” wine that’s not meant to be aged, all you’ll smell is sour grapes!
How do you know if you should age a wine?
A very, very small number of wines are actually meant to be aged. Chances are, the bottles of wine you have on hand are not meant to be aged.
If a wine is meant to be aged, you’ll know it.
Collector wines won’t fail to tell you how prestigious they are. If you’re gifted a collector wine, you’ll be told by the person who gifts it. If you bought it yourself, you’ll know by the price. If you’re still not sure if that fancy bottle of wine will benefit from a decade in the wine cellar, then you can always read up about that particular wine online.
Here’s a pretty standard way to tell if you should age a wine, and if so for how long:
Less than $30 – ready to consume; may last in proper storage up to 4 years
More than $30 – age up to 5 years
Premium wines – research and follow wine-specific ageing instructions
If you’ve just grabbed a bottle straight from the liquor shop, chances are you want to drink it in the near future. So does wine get better with age? Good news! Not always; so enjoy that newly purchased bottle of wine…today!