Why do some wine reviewers disagree on drink windows?

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Dear Dr. Vinny,

I saw conflicting reviews for a wine, one suggesting to hold the wine for a few years, and another suggesting it was ready to drink. How does that happen?

—Dana, Indianapolis

Dear Dana,

Different wine reviewers will have different opinions on when a wine will be showing at its best (referred to as its “drink window”)—just like people have different tastes in styles of wine, they also have different opinions about at what age a wine tastes best. These recommendations for when to drink a bottle of wine are usually based on years of experience tasting such wines, including examples that are at various stages of development.

Some wine reviewers are more conservative than others, and most Wine Spectator drink recommendations are on the cautious side. We know that older wines are an acquired taste, and not everyone has the means to properly cellar a wine for decades. I never recommend purchasing wines to age if you’re not sure that you like aged wines. But whether you’re comfortable with older wines, or if you’re used to drinking wines when they’re released, you should always take drink window recommendations with a grain of salt: Let your own palate be your guide.

—Dr. Vinny

Ask Dr. Vinny

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