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Dear Dr. Vinny,

I've recently bought a case of the 2003 Burrowing Owl Estate Winery Merlot. I was wondering whether Merlot is a wine that always benefits from additional aging, or is it as good as it's going to get already?

—James G., Vancouver, British Columbia

Dear James,

If you don't want to age your wines, I'm not going to make you. Does Merlot always benefit from additional aging? No, of course not. But one thing you didn't mention was your own experience with aged wines. Do you like them? Hate them? Never tried them? I suggest that you take this opportunity to see how a wine develops. Clear some space in your closet and put the case in a corner. Make sure the bottles are on their side. Open one now. Open another in six months. Open one more in a year. See how that works for you and report back to me.

—Dr. Vinny

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