The benefits of wine aging have been appreciated since the ancient Greek days; the Greek would produce straw wine, which was capable of aging due to high sugar content in it. As for the early Romans, Surrentine and Falerian wines were highly prized because they could be in store for decades without going bad. As if to support the claim that old wine is certainly gold, the Bible asserts, “And no one after drinking old wine desires new…” in Luke 5:39. Is this true? Not necessarily.
Several factors go into aging wine. First, wines (most of them) are produced to be drunk right away. Translated, it means that wines are not meant to be laid down in cellars to mature because they will spoil. To better understand this, let’s consider wine as any other antique or old stuff. Generally, things tend to become junk as they get older. However, some treasures become more sought after as time passes. Old records, cameras, bicycles, antique furniture, and cars depreciate with time- wines too. However, just like some old records become huge treasures, cars become collector’s items, and so on, the same applies to wine. This is not because the old wine has anything special, but is it because of mere imaginations. So, before putting that bottle of wine in your cellar, you need to think twice; the best it can do over time is to become a treasure, that is all!
Furthermore, like antique furniture or fine art, wines should be aged (if it has to) in a proper environment. Temperature, humidity, and light exposure are some of the most important factors to consider in wine aging. The peak of any wine is time-limited, so if you wait too long, your wine may not put its best foot forward at all. One sure way to know when you should open your bottle is to email or call your winemaker.
A point worth noting is the fact that not all wines are aged. In fact, most wines are made to be taken young. Typically, aging is only required for red wines with high levels of tannins. A few white wines, including Riesling, can also benefit from aging. Some wines also develop a bad taste after aging.
In a nutshell, the claim that old wine is better than new wine is misplaced. Remember, most wines are meant for drinking, not collection. Therefore, it is only beneficial to enjoy your drink when it is at its peak.