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Wine Spectator School

Wine and Aging

Perhaps you've had the chance to taste one of the world's great red wines when it was fully mature. If so, it's an experience you remember for many years. Mature wines from outstanding vintages are the stuff of legends and provide tangible ties to distant summers and harvests.

Most Wines Are Not Designed for the Long Haul
In reality, only a tiny portion, some 5%, of the world's wines are actually better after a couple years in the cellar. Even fewer can improve for 10 or more years.
Most wines, both red and white, do not have the stuffing it takes to improve over time, but they can offer value and are perfect for everyday drinking.
The Rewards of Maturity: Bouquet and Texture
The hallmarks of well-aged wines are bouquet and texture.
A young wine's fruity aromas and flavors come mainly from the grapes. As the wine matures, these vibrant primary fruit flavors slowly evolve, gaining dark, earthy and leathery notes called "bottle bouquet" or simply "bouquet.".
Over time, a wine's texture also evolves. The wine feels smoother and silkier in your mouth. This happens when firm or rough tannins soften and fall out of the wine as sediment.
Wine as History
These 18th century wines belonged to Thomas Jefferson, who enjoyed drinking and collecting wines as well as growing grapes at his vineyard at Monticello.
Ageworthy Wines
Jean Delmas
Chateau Haut-Brion Pessac, Bordeaux

How Cab Matures
with Alis De Mers Arrowood – Arrowood Winery Sonoma County, CA
Read transcript

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