Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
If a bottle of wine tastes better on the second day, does that mean it is a bottle that would benefit from aging?
—Jody, Santa Monica, Calif.
No. And maybe. Let me explain. First off, opening a bottle and letting it sit for a day will expose a wine to oxygen. That’s not exactly the same type of science that happens when a wine ages. Aging wine means that compounds interact, phenolic molecules combine to form tannin polymers, and other magic. There really is no way to rush time, not even in a bottle of wine. And you can’t save time in a bottle. Even Jim Croce knows that.
That said, there’s a mild similarity to what happens to some wines with more air—their tannins might soften, and wines with bottle age sometimes have softer tannins. That’s not a lot of information to go on, and not a lot of assumptions can be made. I think it’s helpful to remember that a wine cellar is not a wine hospital. If you don’t like a wine when it’s young, it’s not going to magically turn delicious with age. But if you like a wine when it’s young, and you still like it a day or two later, you might also appreciate it when it’s older.
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