I recently bought several old bottles of wine. I am not a wine collector. I only buy them to drink. I am just an enthusiast who want to know what old wines taste like. Some wines are made to age, and when you taste them young, they are just too harsh. You can definitely drink them but you will see that the older wine taste distinctly different. It is like two different bottles.
Why letting wines age matter? Well, wines are like men. They are constantly evolving. Some wines taste better with age. Over time color, flavors, and aromas develop and the real identity of wine reveals. A wine that is aged perfectly can deliver the finest complexity.
To age wine is not a simple task. You need patience and a good cellar. You also need to know what wines age well because 98% of all the wine produced in the world are meant to be drunk young. The average shelf live of these wines is about 3-5 years.
If you want to taste an old wine, do not just buy a young wine and keep it, buy an old bottle and taste. Getting affordable finely aged wines is not an impossible mission. You can buy them via online auction, where you can bid on some old bottles at low bid price. Just don’t look for those sought-after names. It is easier to find wines with great aging potential from lesser-known producers. Wines that are meant to last long, do not need those big names to age impeccably.
When buying old wines via online auction, you should look into appellation, vintage, label or capsule condition and ullage (level of wine in the bottle). Each appellation has different aging potential; for example, Cornas can age longer than Saint-Joseph. The vintage can also indicate whether the wine will age well.
The most important thing to keep in mind; there is never a guarantee that an old wine will be good. Uncorking an old bottle is usually fuzzy. Though, there is something special about it. It is kind of bittersweet feeling. It could be a wine that is already passed its peak or it could be one of the best bottles you have ever had.
One of my favorite quotes about old wine
“Le bon vin est à l’image de l’homme. Il est turbulent dans sa jeunesse, fort et viril dans son âge mûr et quand il est très vieux, quand il n’est plus que l’ombre de lui-même, il lui reste encore le parfum attardé de ses anciennes qualités.” James de Coquet