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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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

#18 Post by AlexCWu »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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

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

#24 Post by K.C0LBURN »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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

#29 Post by Lisa Cheung »

On this. related topic, what's the longest time an refrigerated open wine will still taste good / optimal? Any info would be appreciated.

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

#30 Post by Otto Forsberg »

Lisa Cheung wrote: December 10th, 2020, 8:39 am On this. related topic, what's the longest time an refrigerated open wine will still taste good / optimal? Any info would be appreciated.
It really depends on a wine. I've had a Sauvignon Blanc that was exactly the way it should've been on day one and remarkably flat and lifeless on day two.

Then I've had wines that have been open for months and still drinking good. Probably the record goes to some off-dry Markus Molitor Riesling that was rather reductive upon opening, after 1/3 bottle the wine was just recorked and put back in the fridge. Fast-forward some 5 months and the wine is just singing, full of intense fruit and showing no signs of oxidation whatsoever.

Then there are oxidative wines which can keep good easily for months, even years.

However, most wines will taste good / optimal for a day or two. Some can take a few days more, others don't even survive the first night. And then there are the 1% that can stay good for months.

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

#31 Post by Lisa Cheung »

Thank you otto, do you think those in the 1% might fall on higher pricing? Or that it just comes down to how it stored? Thank you in advance. I'm trying to rationalize spending money and time to learn about wine, constructing storage for it and getting into wine tasting and buying. But a part of me feels overwhelmed by the lack of knowledge, how even the people in wine 101 part of forum knows information that i consider very intricate.

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

#32 Post by Otto Forsberg »

Lisa Cheung wrote: December 16th, 2020, 3:18 pm Thank you otto, do you think those in the 1% might fall on higher pricing? Or that it just comes down to how it stored? Thank you in advance. I'm trying to rationalize spending money and time to learn about wine, constructing storage for it and getting into wine tasting and buying. But a part of me feels overwhelmed by the lack of knowledge, how even the people in wine 101 part of forum knows information that i consider very intricate.
Well, it definitely comes down to how it is stored, as the wine won't continue to develop after it is opened, just deteriorate. As chemical reactions happen faster in higher temperatures, the best way to slow down the deterioration is to keep the wine as cold as possible - in the coldest part of the fridge.

Often these wines that can age for atypically long are wines that are meant to be aged and are often priced accordingly. However, you have to remember that even most of the wines built to age do not keep that well after they are opened, only a very small minority can survive for weeks. Mainly it's the young German Rieslings that can be very closed and backward in their youth - they can be quite tightly-coiled upon opening, but they slowly open up and can keep good for weeks, even months, in the fridge.

Constructing storage is a completely different thing altogether. Wine storage is meant for unopened wines, fridge is the place for wines that are opened. If you are not planning on collecting wines, there's no need for a wine storage. However, it's good to start thinking about one as soon as you start accumulating bottles faster than you can drink.

Finally, I don't think you should compare yourself to others regarding the knowledge. Nobody should feel pressure on how much or little they know about wine, and as long as people remember to keep their eyes, ears and minds open, information will slowly come to them. If you keep on fiddling with wine, year from now you might actually realize that information you now think is very intricate might actually be some very basic information.

Lisa Cheung
Posts: 30
Joined: December 8th, 2020, 7:14 pm

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

#33 Post by Lisa Cheung »

Thank you otto, that helps out very much. When you say wines are priced accordingly to the age capacity, do you think that any napa over 100$ falls in this capacity? Because being so new at this, i really don't know anything about pricing to the actual contents and potentials od the wine. ( like i only researched why wines cost so much and the explanation was about vineyard, distributor, restaurant costs) would you say a wine has more bottle age when is costs more than most? And yes price is everything to me right now because as a newbie , and current climate, I don't have expendable income to pour into fridges , crystal wine glasses, expensive napa tour ( well my sister might help me cover some of trip) and such but in the collection i inherited a lot of them are retail $100 up and i would hate to lower their potentials if I stored them incorrectly. And I will definitely take your advice and i believe Eric michaels and thomas gave me really good advice also. Thank you for understanding because I definitely need yours and others encouragement because i probably would have given up after day 1 one of using this forum. Now im just trying to approach everything as fast as I can learn and cost efficiency / with most value with everything.
Sorry for rambling.. To continue on topic:
since I am new at this, I definitely have opened some bottles and they are in fridge, so i will try and see if the most expensive one I have opened taste better than the cheaper opened ones. ( opened a 2016 odette napa cab, and. 1996 chateau lafon roche saint estephe grand cru, 2000 chateau talbot saint julien, and a 2014 lithology napa cab). I feel bad about opening them because im just building my general palate and getting to understand wine notes and feels, but I had to start somewhere. I would have probably not spend my own money because I can't afford it like that so let's see how they differ in taste in a week or two. ( lol random joke / newbie status for anyone who reads this, when my sister was explaining opus one, I said " but this has Robert mondavi name on it.. Isn't he like cheap table wine status? Lol. I have a lot to learn so sorry all if I keep apologizing for my inadequacy)

Cameron Clark
Posts: 43
Joined: December 3rd, 2009, 4:57 am

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

#34 Post by Cameron Clark »

Hard to find a Chenin that does not taste better the next day. I took an 04 Pinon Tradition Vouvray to dinner last month and deliberately opened it up the night before. Still a bit tight 24 hours later, it was at its peak after 48 hours. Had this with so many Chenin, even with 40+ years in the bottle.

As mentioned earlier, the Audouze method is an example of how wines improve with air. I had it again last week - an 86 Coonawarra Cabernet that just grew and grew. My experience though is that it works best in wines that are not over the top in terms of alcohol - my ‘86 was 11%. I’ve drunk plenty of 14.5 %+ wines over the years and my preference now is to drink young and not to decant.

If I don’t finish a bottle of wine, I pour the dregs into one of 2 screw cap bottles of wine I keep for cooking - one for reds, one for whites. I usually replenish after I have used some for wine for cooking, but that’s not too often. Obviously I taste periodically to see how the ‘Solera’ is progressing and I’m amazed at the lack of oxidation.

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