How old should your wine be?

How do you know the best time to open a wine bottle? If you have read my previous post about this subject, you would remember that many of the wines in the market are produced to be consumed when they are rather young. However, this is not true for all wines of course.

We can have a brain storming here togehter, but don’t ask me to to tell my experiences on this subject, because I do not have any. I have never kept a wine at my home for more than a few months. Since I don’t have a wine cooler refrigerator at home, I don’t think that I can preserve wines in proper conditions for years. You may read about the proper conditions here.

Let’s start with the information that is disclosed by the producer. You may see a year in the front side of the bottle. This is the year of the grape’s harvest. It can also be mentioned  how long the wine has been kept in oak barrels or steal tanks or when it was bottled. These information may not be sufficient to judge when to drink the wine as there is not any general rule telling us how long to wait after bottling or production.

If I’d like to buy a wine that is young, but I doubt it would be wise to open it immediately; or, if I’d like to buy a wine that has been produced years ago, I look carefully on the bottle to see something like “this wine can be consumed best by …” If we have not passed the year …. yet, and if I am confident that the wine has been maintained in proper conditions, I buy the wine. Actually, I have never seen someone selling a wine that should have been  drunk years ago. I guess we find such wines only in forgotten spots of our own houses.

Sometimes, there are no information on the bottle at all. Previously, I would evaluate this as a sign for drinking immediately, but I saw that this turned wrong recently for more than once. Based on my limited experience, I can tell you that French wines’ bottles do not provide you with much information on the wine. They do not even need to mention the grapes from which the wine is made of, let alone the best year to drink it or the best food to match with. These wines can be produced with a potential to age for years.

In such hopeless situations, I try to ask someone in the shop to give information. As a last resort, I google it! I write the name of the wine and read the information which appears reliable to me. If still no usefull information, I try to guess 🙂 I have to admit that I usually can not wait so long to open a wine bottle since I am curious about it.

I can summarize the basis of my guesses as follows: Producers generally use fancy expressions to indicate that the wine has a certain quality, so it is woth to age it. Those expressions include “premium”, “special collection”, “reserve” etc. If you find out that you have such sort of wine at home that is a few years old already, do not panic! It is very likely that it is still in good conditions.

Besides, it is known that a wine with relatively higher acidity and stronger tannins can be aged for more years compared to others. So, you may consider that a Cabarnet Sauvignon has more potential to age than a Merlot, and a Merlot has more potential than Chardonnay in that sense. However, you should not overlook the fact that the quality of the grape and the stages of the production process may affect the potential of a wine for aging. You see that this last sentence proves that all my brainsrorming conversation here is useless 🙂

If you believe you learned something from this post, I suggest you better buy wines to drink young and enjoy them. Let’s drink younger wines. There is a lot to learn until we can age our wines.