Wine Aging

Tasting notes, varietals, grapes - anything related to wine
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Jelana Smith
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Wine Aging

#1 Post by Jelana Smith » March 22nd, 2020, 1:10 pm

So because I am very new to wine I need to know, How do you know which wines should be left to age and how long should you leave it before drinking and how do you know which wine should be drank right away?

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Chris Seiber
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Re: Wine Aging

#2 Post by Chris Seiber » March 22nd, 2020, 1:21 pm

Hi Jelana. Welcome to the forum.

Your question is a challenging one. Here are two past threads where the same question was asked, and you might read through them to get some of the responses:

viewtopic.php?f=21&t=148759&p=2463101

viewtopic.php?f=21&t=133084&p=2343117

One question at the front end, which might make the answer a lot simpler -- what kinds of wines do you buy, and are there certain ones you're wondering about letting them age versus drinking them you?

I ask that because the vast majority of wines are not designed to, and do not, improve with age. And if those are what you drink, then the answer becomes simple -- just buy what you're going to drink in the foreseeable future and don't bother holding bottles to age. If not, then it becomes quite complex, yet in an interesting and enriching way, as you can see from the threads linked above.

I hope you'll stick around, this is a great place.

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Re: Wine Aging

#3 Post by Jelana Smith » March 22nd, 2020, 3:11 pm

Thank you. I was asking just to get a bit more knowledge. I am very new to wine so I haven't ventured to the more expensive and I haven't tried an aged wine yet. I have only tried wines $40 and under so far. Does a higher price point mean a better tasting wine?

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Re: Wine Aging

#4 Post by GregT » March 22nd, 2020, 3:20 pm

Hi Jelana. Another welcome.

Nothing to add to what Chris said. Read through those threads and you'll realize that there's no simple answer.

Most people don't really "age" their wines, even on this forum. For some people and for some wines, five years is a long time. For others 40 years is just right.

To answer your next question, a higher price point means a better wine only to a certain level. As wine gets more expensive, you start paying more for the name and the marketing than for the juice. Forty dollars is a good place to be. You can find a lot of really good wine from around the world at that price. There's not much you'd probably want to drink at $5 or $10. But north of that you're entering a much better world. For me, less than $25 is inexpensive. For other people it's less than $100.

But you can find plenty of reds and whites from around the world that are really good and less than $30.

There are some wines that you can get for around $30 that will be every bit as good as something you pay $200 for, and if you're given both in glasses without knowing the name, you'd pick the less expensive one. It's just that the wine won't be as well known, or the company's costs aren't as high.

And the grapes matter. People are willing to pay a lot of money for wine made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot because those are famous from Bordeaux. Doesn't mean they're better wines than wine made from other grapes that cost less.

Only thing I can say is to try some older wines and see if you like them. They may be more expensive than the younger versions of the same wine, but get some friends and split it.

Good luck!
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Re: Wine Aging

#5 Post by Peter Kleban » March 22nd, 2020, 3:26 pm

Welcome, Jelana hope you enjoy it here.

Price and quality are all over the map with wines. There is a correlation—more expensive wines tend to taste better, but don’t bet on it. One reason is that people have very different tastes, so one person may love a wine that another can’t stand. Then wines from famous regions generally cost more just for that. For instance Champagne which by law has to be from a certain part of France, is more expensive than other sparkling wines only because of its birthplace. Bottom line is to figure out which wines you like and go after those.
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Re: Wine Aging

#6 Post by Philip N. Jones » March 22nd, 2020, 3:42 pm

Getting back to the original question, which was when a particular wine should be consumed and when a particular wine should be kept in storage for later consumption, the answer is difficult. Some critics give you a drinking window. Some wineries, notably Carlisle, post guidelines on their website. Those are the easy ones. The rest are the hard ones.
Some varietals have a very long life. Such as petite sirah. Others, not so much.
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Re: Wine Aging

#7 Post by Juliec » March 22nd, 2020, 4:10 pm

The other nuance that the responders have made. Each person has different taste for wine. Some love aged wine, others like to drink the wine on the younger side. (Even when you do age it properly, it may still have a flaw that you then don’t know about until you actual open the bottle). Also, the aging required for certain wines made in a style meant for aging - differ based on the vintage since weather and it’s impact on the grapes vary from year to year.

Ideas:
1) The best guidelines that are most easily accessible are the vintage charts from Wine enthusiast, Wine spectator or other magazines available online. They will give you a guidance for what the major wine raters believe are the right time to drink the wine. Many berserkers store a lot longer than the recommended guidelines.
2) Ask where you purchased the wine from wine store, winery etc.
3) Buy some aged wine, library offerings from the winery direct or from a reputable wine store. (This is a good time to try since there are some specials). You could buy at auction...but there is a risk to the quality of the storage of the bottle.
4) Best would be see if you can go to an offline in the fall when we may be through the CV. Most wine berserkers have cellared their wine and figured out over time what wine are cellar worthy.
5) check on cellar tracker on the wines that you may want to age to see how they fared over time.

FWIW, Based on what I seen via all different sources:
1) French Sauternes and Germany/Alsace/Austrian, et al Rieslings are long agers. Rieslings, if they are wines that you enjoy can be found most reasonable prices. You can drink them at release and then store for decades or more.
2) French Bordeaux and Italian Nebbiolo are generally enjoyed with significant aging. (Unless you bought them at the French grocery store or they are 20-30 dollars then perhaps better younger within 5 years of release). Bordeaux 15-50 years (could be longer depending on vintage. (You wouldn’t find too many on the boards drinking with less than 10 years of age, many are still in the late 1990s.). Nebbiolo maybe 10-30 years or more especially traditional style. Some newer style Nebbiolo are made to be enjoyed earlier.
3) French Burgundy and Chateauneuf-du-Pape depending on quality of grapes used can be 7-20+ years. You can still drink them with 2-5 years. Same with Rhône and Cru Beaujolais (probably more like 3-10 years; Cru Beaujolais are also very reasonable)
4) US wines - Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux Blends, Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays, Zin, Chenin Blanc, Heritage Wine sites, etc. can be aged depending on the winery. I would suggest looking at the website and contacting the winery if it is one that you like. They can give you guidance on the optimal drinking window.
5) Trial and Error - you can just get 2-3 bottles of a wine that you like. Drink one when you first buy it. Open the next bottle in a year or so down the road. Wait another 1-2 years for the last bottle.
Last edited by Juliec on March 22nd, 2020, 6:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wine Aging

#8 Post by Cris Whetstone » March 22nd, 2020, 4:22 pm

Before you consider the answers above please understand that the point of aging wines is because you want them to change from what they are at bottling. That means you have to like what aging does to them. Not everyone does.

You'll find more answers about aging wines by actually trying some aged versus some that are not. Hopefully from the same bottlings.

Like many things about enjoying wines the best thing you can do to learn and understand is to get out there and taste as widely as possible. Taste many wines in one setting so that you can teach your palate to pay attention to the differences and nuances of the wines. Hope fully find people in your area that are into wine and participate in tastings. That's a good way to find people that may have some aged bottles for you to sample.

You might not like aging your wines. You should really understand and be comfortable with that.
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Re: Wine Aging

#9 Post by Markus S » March 22nd, 2020, 6:08 pm

Jelana Smith wrote:
March 22nd, 2020, 1:10 pm
So because I am very new to wine I need to know, How do you know which wines should be left to age and how long should you leave it before drinking and how do you know which wine should be drank right away?
Oh boy... [que head-slap: "I coulda had a V8"]
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Re: Wine Aging

#10 Post by bmckenney » March 23rd, 2020, 8:41 am

for a wine you're interested in, go to cellartracker and lookup the wine (name, vintage). CT will give you the drinking window for that wine, which IMO gets you a good idea of the aging potential. Then go look at the tasting notes for a few different vintages of that wine and see what people are saying about the (for example) 2015. then the 2010. Taking in to account differences in vintages too. Is a 2010 starting to decline? Is it in the peak window? Is it still too young? You can also use the CT app right in the wine store. take a picture of the label and CT will pop up the wine for you and right at the top is the drinking window date range.

Also your personal preferences will likely come in to play. you might prefer to drink aged wines earlier in the peak window and not prefer them much older when the fruit drops out. the style of wine could come in to play when it comes what part of the drinking window you prefer.
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Chris Seiber
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Re: Wine Aging

#11 Post by Chris Seiber » March 23rd, 2020, 9:10 am

bmckenney wrote:
March 23rd, 2020, 8:41 am
for a wine you're interested in, go to cellartracker and lookup the wine (name, vintage). CT will give you the drinking window for that wine, which IMO gets you a good idea of the aging potential. Then go look at the tasting notes for a few different vintages of that wine and see what people are saying about the (for example) 2015. then the 2010. Taking in to account differences in vintages too. Is a 2010 starting to decline? Is it in the peak window? Is it still too young? You can also use the CT app right in the wine store.
That’s a fantastic suggestion. Cellartracker.com is a free site where people (among many other features) record their experiences with wines. You can enter the name of a wine and see what experiences people are having with it from different vintages and at different ages.

For example, say you’re thinking of buying the 2016 Mondavi Napa Valley Cabernet, and maybe laying some bottles down to age.

First, you could look up the 2016 and see what others are saying.

https://www.cellartracker.com/classic/w ... ne=2719739

But then, you could look up, say, the 2013 and 2010 vintages, and look at recent tasting notes to see what experiences people are having with that wine at what would be equivalent to you aging a 2016 for 3 and 6 years.

https://www.cellartracker.com/classic/w ... ne=2187150

https://www.cellartracker.com/classic/w ... ne=1407219

Many caveats apply. Not every vintage of a wine is the same, and some may age differently and better than others. Users on Cellartracker are just regular wine lovers, so you have to read their opinions like you read Yelp reviews of a restaurant or feedback on Amazon to a degree. And so forth.

But it’s an interesting resource.

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Re: Wine Aging

#12 Post by AndrewH » March 23rd, 2020, 12:04 pm

^ You're still running CT in classic mode?!?
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Re: Wine Aging

#13 Post by David Kim » March 23rd, 2020, 10:12 pm

Wow... first time seeing CT in classic mode. How cool!

Agree with all folks above. CT is an awesome resource, wineries will be happy to give yo their thoughts, but the only way to know what you like is to try it first. Just like Vegemite isn't for everyone; to each their own. Buy through respectable retailers, wineries (almost all will hold back several cases of every wine produced and re-release them over time), and auctions. If you go tasting at a winery, they often will have something tucked away with a few years on it so if you ask you might be able to do a side by side with the current release.

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Re: Wine Aging

#14 Post by Chris Seiber » March 23rd, 2020, 10:54 pm

AndrewH wrote:
March 23rd, 2020, 12:04 pm
^ You're still running CT in classic mode?!?
I never could get on board with the new version. It feels like more clicks and layers to get to the same things.

I know Eric hates that, but he is kind enough to leave it as an option for us holdouts.

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Re: Wine Aging

#15 Post by Otto Forsberg » March 23rd, 2020, 10:55 pm

CT in classic mode is the best and more or less the only real option to me. I actually know a few other people who use it too - fellow forumite IlkkaL for one. Furthermore, one person I know actually stopped using CT for years after the big UI update, until I pointed out that the old classic mode is still available.

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Re: Wine Aging

#16 Post by Otto Forsberg » March 23rd, 2020, 10:56 pm

Chris Seiber wrote:
March 23rd, 2020, 10:54 pm
AndrewH wrote:
March 23rd, 2020, 12:04 pm
^ You're still running CT in classic mode?!?
I never could get on board with the new version. It feels like more clicks and layers to get to the same things.

I know Eric hates that, but he is kind enough to leave it as an option for us holdouts.
Seconded 100%

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Re: Wine Aging

#17 Post by scamhi » March 24th, 2020, 7:18 am

Otto Forsberg wrote:
March 23rd, 2020, 10:56 pm
Chris Seiber wrote:
March 23rd, 2020, 10:54 pm
AndrewH wrote:
March 23rd, 2020, 12:04 pm
^ You're still running CT in classic mode?!?
I never could get on board with the new version. It feels like more clicks and layers to get to the same things.

I know Eric hates that, but he is kind enough to leave it as an option for us holdouts.
Seconded 100%
+1
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