If a wine ages more slowly in a larger bottle, then do smaller bottles age more quickly?

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Dear Dr. Vinny,

I have another bottle size question. If a wine ages slower in a larger size bottle, then it must follow that wines in a smaller, 375ml bottle must age more quickly, yes? Is there a general rule of thumb for the drink recommendations a reviewer makes concerning the difference between the formats? I’m assuming that the dates given in reviews are for standard 750ml bottles. Would that parameter be shortened for the smaller bottle? Will I have to start chugging those half-bottles of Sauternes?

—Rob K., Portland, Ore.

Dear Rob,

You’re right that our drink recommendations are typically given for standard-size 750ml bottles. And you’re also correct that the conventional wisdom is that larger bottles age more slowly, while smaller bottles age more quickly. You can still use our drink window recommendations and apply them to different sizes. For example, if there’s a range, use the earlier end of the range for the smaller-format bottlings and the later end of the range for larger bottlings. (And remember that we tend to be conservative in our drink windows; we would rather drink a wine too early than too late.) If the recommendation is “drink now,” it means that we don’t think the wine will improve with any additional aging, no matter what format the wine is in.

—Dr. Vinny

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