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wine aging for beginnersWine is meant to be enjoyed, but when should you enjoy it? In some cases, right away, while others are best to be saved for later. 

So what makes a good wine to hold onto for a while before opening or to simply pop open and enjoy right away? In this quick guide, we will talk a little about the basics of aging wine and when it should be done!

Why Age Wine?

Wine often improves with age. Several chemical reactions, including some oxidation, occur among sugars, acids, and phenolic compounds, which can affect the taste of wine over time. This gives it a more pleasant flavor and mellows out some of the outlying tannins and over-acidic flavors. 

In addition to changing the color and aroma of the wine, the chemical reaction can also influence how it feels on the tongue.

When to Cellar

An easy assumption to make is that wines that are aged are more sophisticated than younger wines, but the reality is that most wines are released to be able to drink immediately. Only a few wines do better with time. Here are a few things to consider when choosing when to age:

  • High Acidity - Finding wines with higher acidity will progressively mellow out over time, making wine more enjoyable. Low acid wines will often become flat and bland when aged.
  • Big Tannins - Massive amounts of bold tannins are another solid indicator that a wine can and should be aged. 
  • Some producers suggest aging for a time. 
  • Price  - An easy way to tell if a bottle can be aged is price. If a bottle is less than $20, then in most cases should not be cellared, while bottles over $50 are often built to age, and mellow out with more complex flavors opening up over time.

Examples of Ageworthy Wines

If you are looking for a bottle of wine to age, several grapes or blends fit the bill. Bordeaux is always a go-to when it comes to aging wines. However, they can sometimes be a bit expensive. Cabernet Sauvignon, which is known for its bold tannins and rich acidity, makes it a great candidate for aging. 

Syrah’s are another “big” red grape. Syrah’s tend to have smooth tannins, and with just a few years of aging can be fantastic.  White wines are typically not up for the challenge of aging as they mellow out too much and become flat, but the almighty Riesling as well as white Burgundy make for a wonderful, cellared wine. 

If you want to learn more about which wines are great for cellaring, check out our video here!

Hopefully, this quick guide cleared up the mystery of aging wines (or at least sparked interest in a new hobby!). Wine can be tricky, but it doesn't have to.

Want to learn more about aging? We have got you covered. 

Metro Wines features a large wine range with a focus on matching the right wine to the right food or occasion. Our wine experts are available to answer your questions, give pairing ideas, and work with your caterer or event planner at any time.

We also provide Wine Classes, weekly tastings, and social gatherings throughout the month. Our website contains information about our upcoming events, weekly tastings, and special events.