Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
I have a collection of aged wine, 10 to 45 years old. According to some websites, some of these wines are ready to consume, and others could be held on to. I drink wine daily, typically a glass every evening. The wine I drink at night is very young wine, 2 to 4 years old. I’m concerned that the collection I have and continue to grow will not be appealing to my palate, since I am so accustomed to young wine. Any suggestions before I delve into my collection?
—Jonah D., Los Angeles
I think your letter is really going to resonate with a lot of people. I get a lot of questions from folks worrying about how to age their wine, and I always ask them to stop and reflect: do they even like the taste of older wines? A wine cellar isn’t a wine hospital—older wines aren’t necessarily better or worse than younger wines, they’re just older. Fresh fruit flavors fade into the background and give way to more dried and baked notes. Spice and earth notes become more prominent.
The good news is that you might be like a lot of wine lovers who enjoy both the taste of new wines and of wines that have aged well. I suggest opening up a couple soon and checking in with your palate.
If you find that you’re not enjoying them very much, you could start giving them away or donating them to some fundraising efforts, or perhaps hosting a party where you open a bunch of them for your friends.
In the meantime, maybe you should slow down on your buying habits to better assess your long-term goals for your collection. You definitely shouldn’t waste your time or money storing wine to age if you don’t have proper storage conditions. Perhaps consider letting your favorite wine advice columnist inherit them?