“Life is full of events that make us desire to get older”Albert Camus – ( French writer, essayist and Nobelpricewinner literature (1956) 1913-1960 )
What the winemaker intended
What can we tell about de storing and aging of wine? There is a lot to tell actually. One of the first things we have to keep in mind is the following: Most wines are not intended to store for a long time. That means that not all wines are suitable for ageing. 90% of the wines are made to be drunk young. There is no point in preserving these wines in the hope that tertiary aromas will develop. This is not what the winemaker intended.
Rose and red “nouveau” wines are the least stable and should preferably be drunk within a year. If they are well made, they will not deteriorate quickly, but they will not get any better either.
Beaujolais, Merlot, Zinfandel are examples of wines that should preferably be drunk young. But this is, of course, only a directive. A Beaujolais or Merlot of very high quality can age fantastically. But I’m sure you’ll have noticed that in the price whether it’s a good candidate suitable for aging.
An easy rule to remember is that simple, common white and red wines can be kept for 2 to 3 years (with the exception of what is mentioned above, of course). You don’t keep these wines in the hope the aromas will develop, but just to have a bottle of wine in the house when you need it.
Some wines can be kept longer
Some wines can be kept a little longer. But that’s only about 9% of all wines. They can usually be stored between 5 and 7 years. Only concentrated wines are suitable and can develop new flavours and aromas. Often they are the better, traditionally made wines. These can be both white and red wines. Especially red wines and dessert wines are suitable because of the high tannin content or high sugar content. The tannins or sugars act as a kind of preservative. The tannins of red wine often become softer and rounder when they age.
10 years or more
There are few wines that can be kept for at least 10 years.
It concerns only 1% of all wines produced. Because the production time of these wines is much longer, and because they are rarer, they are also more expensive. Here, too, it can be both white and red wines. They have to be of high quality. The red wines in this category are actually not very pleasant to drink if you drink them young. Because of the tannins that are still hard, stiff and “unripe”. Aging is what you would prefer if you have such a wine so that beautiful aromas are formed and the tannins become riper, softer and rounder. To give some examples: Bordeaux, Barolo, Grand Cru Bourgogne, and Vintage Port are examples of wines that generally age well and can even benefit from it.
For a quick overview I made an infographic.
Again: the simpler (often cheaper) the wine, the shorter the shelf life.
More about storing wines