Wine Talk

Snooth User: jono1919

Which wines are enhanced and which lose quality in an unopened bottle over time?

Posted by jono1919, Jul 29, 2008.

Hello wine lovers!

First, let me tell you that I am a long-time lover of wine, but don't have a great deal of knowledge, so I hope you will bear with me. I am curious about which wines are enhanced and which are affected adversely by time in an unopened bottle. Is there a broad rule one could apply to reds and whites, or does it depend on the specific type of wine?

Thank you for your help!


Reply by Philip James, Jul 30, 2008.

Hi there - welcome to Snooth.

Generally (and i'll get in trouble for this), but more expensive wines are likely to age better, and generally reds age better than whites.

More specifically, its acids that give the wine the power to age and tannins that benefit most from aging. So... a tannic and acidic red - like a Nebbiolo or a Cabernet will age well, whereas a soft and fruity red, or a low acid white wont last as long.

However, its a pretty complicated thing overall and people make mistakes - some wines that are supposed to be "age worthy" end up aging faster than expected, so 10 years later are over the hill even though people were predicting them to be just right.

Also, different people prefer different levels of age. Older wines may have more finesse and more secondary tastes (leather, truffles etc), but they have less fruit, and some people like their wines fruity, so its all down to personal preference.

Reply by WineGent, Jul 30, 2008.

I agree with Philip. A lot has to do with the structure of the wine, and level of tannins. A wine should be in balance. There are many wines, like those from Bordeaux that benefit a great deal from aging. The ones that are well crafted and balanced will also taste good now.

Wines are like children. You love them a great deal, and have a difficult time in choosing which age was best. All stages are different. The most rewarding way to appreciate wines is to drink them at various stages of their maturity and see how they develop...

Cheers! WineGent

Reply by Mark Angelillo, Jul 31, 2008.

One of the things we're trying to do is make this decision more transparent -- if you look at the wine details page on Snooth you'll see a graph of the average ratings over time for the wine. If it's an older wine there might be a pretty rich picture of what is happening in the bottle told through that graph.

I'll reiterate though that it's going to come down to your tastes. If you find a wine you really love, WineGent's advice is great. Buy a few bottles and open them over time.

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