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Dear Dr. Vinny,
Is there somewhere I can look to see if certain vintages and years of wine might still be good?
—Lynn, Forest Knolls, Calif.
There sure is! Wine Spectator's vintage charts are a broad, handy overview to help you decide if a specific vintage of a category of wine is ready to drink or safe to keep aging. More specifically than that, each of our specific wine ratings includes a recommended drinking window provided by our tasters.
You can also access Wine Spectator's vintage charts on our handy WineRatings+ app for iPhones and Android devices.
Of course, these are just our recommendations, and we tend to be pretty conservative, given that most wines are made to be tasty upon release, and not every person has a penchant for aged wines. You might prefer your wines with more age, which is perfectly fine.
If you’re going to age your wines, you should make sure you’re giving them a fighting chance by making sure they are well-stored. That means keeping them away from light, heat, temperature fluctuation and vibration. If you can have a temperature-controlled system, I recommend keeping the wines at about 55° F.
The only guaranteed way to check on a wine's drinkability is to pop it open and taste it. There is no crystal ball to predict how a wine will age, or if you’d like the way it tastes. Chalk that up to some of what makes loving wine so exciting.
Learn from the experts and get the most out of each sip. Take one of our online courses or take them all—from the ABCs of Tasting to in-depth seminars on Food Pairing, California Cabernet, Bordeaux, Tuscany, Sensory Evaluation and more.