Why does wine often taste better the next day (or after)

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Jim Stewart
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Why does wine often taste better the next day (or after)

#1 Post by Jim Stewart » September 7th, 2020, 1:46 pm

I notice that many wines seem to taste better to me after a day or more of sitting on the counter or in the refrigerator. In all cases the wine had maybe a glass or two poured the first day and was then re-corked and put aside. Is it the same issue as decanting/exposing to air, and is this telling me that the wines would have been better the first day with a decant? Or is something else going on here? My two most recent examples of this are an 2018 Assyrtiko and a 2016 Oregon Pinot Noir. Both improved significantly in terms of flavor complexity and balance on day two and even day 3 with the PN.
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Re: Why does wine often taste better the next day (or after)

#2 Post by andrewkao » September 7th, 2020, 5:36 pm

I've definitely always chalked this up to exposure to air and an opening up of a (well-made) wine.Same reason why you should decant or at least swirl around. Curious if others have a more scientific answer.
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Re: Why does wine often taste better the next day (or after)

#3 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » September 9th, 2020, 7:23 am

Not everyone thinks they do improve. I can count on my fingers over 20+ years the number of times I've had a red wine taste better on day 2 or after - some aspects may improve, but a stale element appears that is too much of a detractor for me. White wines, especially with some residual sugar, do sometimes seem more appealing after a day or more open, but no where as often in my experience as it seems to be in others'.

Many blind tests have shown that people DON'T, in fact, prefer wines that have been opened for a while over pop n'pour. I'm not saying I think decanting never improves a wine - I often think it does - but I think there might be a psychological element of what we're supposed to think going on. So I wonder if "something else (is) going on here," in a different sense.
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Re: Why does wine often taste better the next day (or after)

#4 Post by RyanC » September 9th, 2020, 7:26 am

This was discussed in another thread and I agree with Sarah. I struggle to think of examples where I've preferred a wine on day two. I enjoy the freshness of young wines, and older wines struggle with too much air. For me, day-old wine almost always has a hint of something off.

I am a fan of decanting, but I will admit that I haven't subjected my decanting practices to blind validation.
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Re: Why does wine often taste better the next day (or after)

#5 Post by Michael Martin » September 9th, 2020, 7:28 am

For me the day 2 phenomenon applies to young, red wines, some Rhône whites, but definitely not reds with some years on them or Rosé.

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Re: Why does wine often taste better the next day (or after)

#6 Post by Jim Stewart » September 9th, 2020, 7:37 am

Michael Martin wrote:
September 9th, 2020, 7:28 am
For me the day 2 phenomenon applies to young, red wines, some Rhône whites, but definitely not reds with some years on them or Rosé.
Michael, I think you have clarified my issue. Thanks. "Reds with some years on them" (or even whites) are not in my usual ballpark, as reflected in my two recent examples of this "better the next day" phenomenon. So does my experience with these youngish wines suggest that I maybe should aerate/decant them a bit on day one for more enjoyment?
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Re: Why does wine often taste better the next day (or after)

#7 Post by Rodrigo B » September 9th, 2020, 8:09 am

It certainly appears that air has made those two wines more enjoyable for you. As others have stated, at the end of the day it’s a matter of personal preference.

If you enjoyed those wines on day two and three, I’d suggest decanting them in a wide decanter with a lot of surface area to aerate them well on day one and see if the results are similar to what you enjoyed on day two. As always, it’s all about figuring out how you enjoy drinking wine, if you enjoy drinking a wine three days laters (and are okay with preparing for it well in advance) then do that. [cheers.gif]
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Re: Why does wine often taste better the next day (or after)

#8 Post by Michael Martin » September 9th, 2020, 8:11 am

Jim Stewart wrote:
September 9th, 2020, 7:37 am
Michael Martin wrote:
September 9th, 2020, 7:28 am
For me the day 2 phenomenon applies to young, red wines, some Rhône whites, but definitely not reds with some years on them or Rosé.
Michael, I think you have clarified my issue. Thanks. "Reds with some years on them" (or even whites) are not in my usual ballpark, as reflected in my two recent examples of this "better the next day" phenomenon. So does my experience with these youngish wines suggest that I maybe should aerate/decant them a bit on day one for more enjoyment?
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With young wines, my wife and I will often open a bottle, pour off a glass. If good, we continue, if not, we recork, put it in the frig and revisit on day 2. 80%-90% of the time it approves, but not always.

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Re: Why does wine often taste better the next day (or after)

#9 Post by Jim Stewart » September 9th, 2020, 8:23 am

Michael Martin wrote:
September 9th, 2020, 8:11 am
Jim Stewart wrote:
September 9th, 2020, 7:37 am
Michael Martin wrote:
September 9th, 2020, 7:28 am
For me the day 2 phenomenon applies to young, red wines, some Rhône whites, but definitely not reds with some years on them or Rosé.
Michael, I think you have clarified my issue. Thanks. "Reds with some years on them" (or even whites) are not in my usual ballpark, as reflected in my two recent examples of this "better the next day" phenomenon. So does my experience with these youngish wines suggest that I maybe should aerate/decant them a bit on day one for more enjoyment?
[cheers.gif]
With young wines, my wife and I will often open a bottle, pour off a glass. If good, we continue, if not, we recork, put it in the frig and revisit on day 2. 80%-90% of the time it approves, but not always.
Excellent idea!!!!
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Re: Why does wine often taste better the next day (or after)

#10 Post by Anton D » September 9th, 2020, 2:24 pm

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
September 9th, 2020, 7:23 am
Not everyone thinks they do improve. I can count on my fingers over 20+ years the number of times I've had a red wine taste better on day 2 or after - some aspects may improve, but a stale element appears that is too much of a detractor for me. White wines, especially with some residual sugar, do sometimes seem more appealing after a day or more open, but no where as often in my experience as it seems to be in others'.

Many blind tests have shown that people DON'T, in fact, prefer wines that have been opened for a while over pop n'pour. I'm not saying I think decanting never improves a wine - I often think it does - but I think there might be a psychological element of what we're supposed to think going on. So I wonder if "something else (is) going on here," in a different sense.
+1.

I think a lot of this is palate related. I agree with Sarah that a certain staleness arrives by the next day.

I think I have a wine exemplar that might correlate: I have found that people who like Scholium Project wines tend toward the camp of liking wine after a day, or two, and people who don't like Scholium more often land in the 'better the same day' camp.

This is not a scientific claim, just chatting about this interesting type of palate variation! [cheers.gif]
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Re: Why does wine often taste better the next day (or after)

#11 Post by Jim Stewart » September 9th, 2020, 2:51 pm

That Scholium reference was a 'whoosh' for me, Anton, but I agree that it could just be a palate variation issue. Winemakers are probably not making their wines to open on one day and drink on the next day for optimum enjoyment.
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Re: Why does wine often taste better the next day (or after)

#12 Post by Joe W i n o g r a d » September 9th, 2020, 3:02 pm

I experience this all the time. Many many wines are better after time in the fridge.

I wish it was imagined because then it could happen for all my wines. But sadly it only works for the young ones of good quality.

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Re: Why does wine often taste better the next day (or after)

#13 Post by Jim Stewart » September 9th, 2020, 3:06 pm

Joe W i n o g r a d wrote:
September 9th, 2020, 3:02 pm
I experience this all the time. Many many wines are better after time in the fridge.

I wish it was imagined because then it could happen for all my wines. But sadly it only works for the young ones of good quality.
That statement was a "bingo" moment for me I think! Thanks Joe.
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Re: Why does wine often taste better the next day (or after)

#14 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » September 9th, 2020, 4:32 pm

Okay, so this is just one person's thoughts, take them or leave them.

Giving a wine lots of air doesn't really approximate aging.

The only reason to open a wine that's "too young," is to learn about what that wine tastes like young. This exercise can be very interesting. I am in favor of experimenting like this, and I have learned a lot by doing so.

Taking a wine that's too young and giving it hours and hours in the decanter, or holding until day 2 or 3 teaches you nothing about that wine when it's young. It also teaches you nothing about that wine when it's aged. It shows you a Frankenstein of semi developed qualities and stale elements. That's not something I personally have much interest in, even if it means I drink I wine that has a slightly higher pleasure quotient.

So, from my perspective, drink wines young that were made to be drunk young. Age wines that were meant to age. Drink young wines to learn about young wine. But don't try to change one thing into another.

Of course, if you only have a dozen or so wines and all of them are really young, I can see where you might try and extend that experience as far as the collection can stretch. But in general, my advice is to try and learn from what things are, rather than try and guess what they might someday be.
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Re: Why does wine often taste better the next day (or after)

#15 Post by Jim Stewart » September 9th, 2020, 4:45 pm

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
September 9th, 2020, 4:32 pm
Okay, so this is just one person's thoughts, take them or leave them.

Giving a wine lots of air doesn't really approximate aging.

The only reason to open a wine that's "too young," is to learn about what that wine tastes like young. This exercise can be very interesting. I am in favor of experimenting like this, and I have learned a lot by doing so.

Taking a wine that's too young and giving it hours and hours in the decanter, or holding until day 2 or 3 teaches you nothing about that wine when it's young. It also teaches you nothing about that wine when it's aged. It shows you a Frankenstein of semi developed qualities and stale elements. That's not something I personally have much interest in, even if it means I drink I wine that has a slightly higher pleasure quotient.

So, from my perspective, drink wines young that were made to be drunk young. Age wines that were meant to age. Drink young wines to learn about young wine. But don't try to change one thing into another.

Of course, if you only have a dozen or so wines and all of them are really young, I can see where you might try and extend that experience as far as the collection can stretch. But in general, my advice is to try and learn from what things are, rather than try and guess what they might someday be.
Sound advice. Thank you.
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Re: Why does wine often taste better the next day (or after)

#16 Post by Joe W i n o g r a d » September 9th, 2020, 4:53 pm

These are like comments from an alternate universe. I am reminded of the scientists from the 1950s who thought that animals couldn’t feel pain.

The reason for drinking wine that was opened some days ago is because I wasn’t that thirsty on the night that I opened it.

If it tastes better, which it often does, then I am happy. If it doesn’t taste good, I pour it down the drain.

This happens a lot, both ways. It is an experience observed and reported by many.

Some people don’t even use the fridge; they just leave it on the counter.

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Re: Why does wine often taste better the next day (or after)

#17 Post by Jim Stewart » September 9th, 2020, 4:58 pm

Joe W i n o g r a d wrote:
September 9th, 2020, 4:53 pm
These are like comments from an alternate universe. I am reminded of the scientists from the 1950s who thought that animals couldn’t feel pain.

The reason for drinking wine that was opened some days ago is because I wasn’t that thirsty on the night that I opened it.

If it tastes better, which it often does, then I am happy. If it doesn’t taste good, I pour it down the drain.

This happens a lot, both ways. It is an experience observed and reported by many.

Some people don’t even use the fridge; they just leave it on the counter.
Just between the two of us, Joe, I do both. [pillow-fight.gif]
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Re: Why does wine often taste better the next day (or after)

#18 Post by AlexCWu » September 12th, 2020, 11:23 am

I find this true with more bold reds, like hermitage, Rhone, sometimes Napa cabs that time helps them to open up more. Not so much with more delicate wines like Espeite de Tablas Blanc, a rhone blend. The complexity and crispness I had were a bit lost after a day in the fridge.

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Re: Why does wine often taste better the next day (or after)

#19 Post by Paul @bbott » September 12th, 2020, 11:36 am

Joe W i n o g r a d wrote:
September 9th, 2020, 3:02 pm
I experience this all the time. Many many wines are better after time in the fridge.

I wish it was imagined because then it could happen for all my wines. But sadly it only works for the young ones of good quality.
I would agree with this as a general statement, for wines that some would argue have been opened too young the last glass or other serious aeration can work wonders.

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Re: Why does wine often taste better the next day (or after)

#20 Post by Joe W i n o g r a d » September 12th, 2020, 2:44 pm

Paul @bbott wrote:
September 12th, 2020, 11:36 am
Joe W i n o g r a d wrote:
September 9th, 2020, 3:02 pm
I experience this all the time. Many many wines are better after time in the fridge.

I wish it was imagined because then it could happen for all my wines. But sadly it only works for the young ones of good quality.
I would agree with this as a general statement, for wines that some would argue have been opened too young the last glass or other serious aeration can work wonders.
Yes; and “only” is too strong. I was forgetting about that unreconditioned 1967 Borgogno Barolo that was much improved after a month open in my fridge.

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Re: Why does wine often taste better the next day (or after)

#21 Post by Paul @bbott » September 19th, 2020, 8:47 am

AlexCWu wrote:
September 12th, 2020, 11:23 am
I find this true with more bold reds, like hermitage, Rhone, sometimes Napa cabs that time helps them to open up more. Not so much with more delicate wines like Espeite de Tablas Blanc, a rhone blend. The complexity and crispness I had were a bit lost after a day in the fridge.
You nailed it with this comment. On Thursday I opened a 2017 Cave du Tain, Crozes Hermitage. It was lean, acidic, unbalanced and half was left. Last night it was richer, fruitier and had developed the herb and tar smells of a good Syrah.

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Re: Why does wine often taste better the next day (or after)

#22 Post by ybarselah » September 19th, 2020, 9:12 am

always an interesting subject which, again, always completely removes the individual from the equation; we don't all taste the same. there is zero doubt that air will affect various perceived things within a wine and there is zero doubt that we all respond differently to various tastes and smells. it follows that some people prefer what a wine exhibits with extended air, and some will not. this idea does not undermine real and expert advice, but they are at best guiderails. i've only been drinking wine "seriously" for 20 years and my takeaway is that i don't really *know* much at all. wine - like life - is full of weird surprises.
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Re: Why does wine often taste better the next day (or after)

#23 Post by Jim Stewart » September 19th, 2020, 11:16 am

ybarselah wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 9:12 am
always an interesting subject which, again, always completely removes the individual from the equation; we don't all taste the same. there is zero doubt that air will affect various perceived things within a wine and there is zero doubt that we all respond differently to various tastes and smells. it follows that some people prefer what a wine exhibits with extended air, and some will not. this idea does not undermine real and expert advice, but they are at best guiderails. i've only been drinking wine "seriously" for 20 years and my takeaway is that i don't really *know* much at all. wine - like life - is full of weird surprises.
An honestly humble admission!
But I sense,Yaacov, that you might be an exemplar of the saying "Those who speak don't know, those who know don't speak". I would encourage you to share some of the things that you don't "know", but have learned about drinking wine in over 20 years of serious wine drinking. See the "beginners mind" thread I started here: viewtopic.php?f=21&t=173150#p3073424

Cheers.
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Re: Why does wine often taste better the next day (or after)

#24 Post by K.C0LBURN » September 19th, 2020, 2:01 pm

ybarselah wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 9:12 am
always an interesting subject which, again, always completely removes the individual from the equation; we don't all taste the same. there is zero doubt that air will affect various perceived things within a wine and there is zero doubt that we all respond differently to various tastes and smells. it follows that some people prefer what a wine exhibits with extended air, and some will not. this idea does not undermine real and expert advice, but they are at best guiderails. i've only been drinking wine "seriously" for 20 years and my takeaway is that i don't really *know* much at all. wine - like life - is full of weird surprises.
Lovely observation! A close family member of mine cannot taste at all the fruit notes of Petite Sirah, has weird (and weirdly consistent) Pinot Noir clone preferences, and also leans toward specific soil types for favorite Zinfandels.

I find it hilarious to taste with this person because I have a broader palate and can taste and enjoy a much wider variety of flavors than they can. My short decade of experience with wine has lead me to decant things that taste "closed" -- more or less, young reds that have great aromatics but taste a bit dull/muted. Air either from a decant or in the glass does seem to have them develop over time.

With white wines, "muted" primary fruit and aromas a lot of the time seem to be associated with those that have been chilled too long. Many times I've needed to warm up white wines in the glass in order to release more of the fruit and floral aromas that tend get locked down with cold.

My favorite part about the wine tasting experience has been sharing it with other people who have very different tastes!
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Re: Why does wine often taste better the next day (or after)

#25 Post by Dave McCloskey » September 21st, 2020, 12:10 pm

This topic has been discussed in the past. Within the last year someone posted a scientific article about the affects of decanting and air on wine. According to science there's no measurable impact of air on improving and or changing the flavor and or aroma of wine. That said, I too have experienced enhancements with young wine when exposed to extended periods of air.

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Re: Why does wine often taste better the next day (or after)

#26 Post by Kevin J » October 27th, 2020, 10:34 pm

I am in the habit (for everyday wine) wine of popping and pouring, take a smell and sip or two right away, then let sit in glass for 15-30 minutes and see some evolution. Usually put half bottle back in wine fridge for 1-2 days and usually get whole different tasting experiencing upon reopening - sometimes better, sometimes worse but keeps things interesting. That being said I make sure the nice wines get decanted properly.
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Re: Why does wine often taste better the next day (or after)

#27 Post by Anton D » October 28th, 2020, 2:18 pm

Question looking for palate correlations:

What is your opinion of Scholium Project wines?

I am hypothesizing Scholium fans will also be more likely to enjoy wine that has been open a few days.

Same for Ch. Musar?
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Re: Why does wine often taste better the next day (or after)

#28 Post by Eric Egan » December 2nd, 2020, 1:47 pm

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
September 9th, 2020, 4:32 pm
Okay, so this is just one person's thoughts, take them or leave them.

Giving a wine lots of air doesn't really approximate aging.

The only reason to open a wine that's "too young," is to learn about what that wine tastes like young. This exercise can be very interesting. I am in favor of experimenting like this, and I have learned a lot by doing so.

Taking a wine that's too young and giving it hours and hours in the decanter, or holding until day 2 or 3 teaches you nothing about that wine when it's young. It also teaches you nothing about that wine when it's aged. It shows you a Frankenstein of semi developed qualities and stale elements. That's not something I personally have much interest in, even if it means I drink I wine that has a slightly higher pleasure quotient.

So, from my perspective, drink wines young that were made to be drunk young. Age wines that were meant to age. Drink young wines to learn about young wine. But don't try to change one thing into another.

Of course, if you only have a dozen or so wines and all of them are really young, I can see where you might try and extend that experience as far as the collection can stretch. But in general, my advice is to try and learn from what things are, rather than try and guess what they might someday be.
I completely agree - letting a young wine air is in no way an approximation for ageing.

That said, I have had many red wines that have improved on day 2, or even beyond. Contrary to what people have said above, they've usually been older wines. Just the other day, I drank the last third of a bottle of Mouton d'Armailhac 1945 the day after opening it. It had been recorked and left on the table(!) since the night before. The evening before, after 3 hours slow-ox, I decanted into a carafe (I didn't want to give it too much air) and it was pretty closed and, although pleasant, it wasn't a great drink. The following day, I poured the rest from the bottle into a spare glass. It was superb. Certainly old, but it had power, elegance, finesse, and great length - a revelation. Personally, I think this has more to do with the style of wine than the age. This wine was very old-school - clearly familiar with oxygen but needed time to acquaint itself with the outside world. The most extreme example was a 1/4 full bottle of 1943 Barolo that had completely transformed after 10 days(!) of air, on its sediment, in a recorked bottle. It was outstanding. I know it sounds crazy, but there we are.
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