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Dear Dr. Vinny,

Are some wines more resilient in poor storage conditions than others?

Dear reader,

Young wines can weather less-than-ideal storage better than older wines. This is certainly a good thing, as the shipping process entails certain temperature fluctuations, vibrations, etc. Beyond that, a full-bodied Cabernet has a better chance of holding up to extended storage at room temperature than a lighter-bodied wine like Pinot Noir.

Fortified wines, such as Port and Madeira, are the most impervious of all, as they can withstand temperature fluctuations and even exposure to oxygen due to their higher alcohol levels.

White wines, on the other hand, are generally the most susceptible to oxidation, because, unlike reds, they don't have enough tannins to tie up oxygen molecules.

Of course, no wine is indefinitely resilient to poor storage; even a young Cabernet is going to lose some appeal after a few month's residence on top of your refrigerator. So, regardless of the wine in question, the sooner you get the bottle off the dealer's shelves and into a cool, dark place, the better it will taste in the long run.

—Dr. Vinny

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