Are Older Wines Better?

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It's commonly believed that older wine is better. And that can be true. But often, it's not.

If you've read some of my past blogs, you know that one of my favorite lines is that a wine cellar is not a wine hospital -- it doesn't make a bad wine better.

Today, most wine is meant to be enjoyed right away. When it's bottled, it's ready for consumption. Ageing doesn't make it better.

What you will find is that older wines do indeed change. On the positive side, tannins in red wines will mellow making the wine feel smoother in your mouth. But, on the down side, the big fruit flavors and aromas also fade. You'll begin to get different smells and tastes in older wines that you may not expect from a young wine. Especially if the wine is oxidized, you'll detect a distinct nutty flavor. Also, as red wines age, the red color changes from deep red to a much paler red and can even begin to take on orange colors.

A good rule of thumb is that most wines will being to fade to the down side in as few as five years and after 10 years they'll generally have lost most of their character, if not out-right spoiled. And, remember, this aging must be done properly in a cool, dark place.

So, older wines can be better. But, you don't need to age wines to be able to drink great wines.

Next time we'll look at old wines and their appeal. Cheers!