Domenico Winery + Osteria

Bottles of Wine Aging

Do Wines Get Better with Age?

Whether you’re perusing a wine shop or wine list at a restaurant, you may notice older bottles of wine, often accompanied by higher price points. It begs the question – do wines get better with age? If so, why?

This question is an important one for any wine lover. Knowing if and why a bottle of wine can age will better inform your decision-making when choosing what to drink. And, this knowledge will also keep you from purchasing wines that are way past their prime.

Do Wines Get Better with Age? (A Quick Guide!)


Not all red wines can age

One big misconception is that red wines all have the potential to age, and white wines do not as much. When we talk about aging wine, we’re talking about a minimum of 3 to 5 years. The reality is that aging a red wine is very variable. But, there is a way to judge whether a red wine will age well (or not).

The first is the grape type. There are red wine grapes out there that have more aging potential due to their innate characteristics. Typically, grapes higher in acidity and tannins have the structure to last years aging in the bottle. A few examples are Cabernet Sauvignon, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, and Syrah. These may not come as a surprise since they comprise some of the more famous (and often expensive) wines (e.a. Nebbiolo is the main grape in Barolo and Cabernet Sauvignon in Bordeaux wines.)

Another factor to consider is the winemaking style. Now, this can get a little more complicated and require some research. It is never a bad idea to look up the winery website and find details on the wine. Usually, there will be details on the wine’s aging potential. If not, a wine blogger will have the answers. This is an important step, as the winemaking style does determine a huge part of a wine’s aging potential. Some winemakers opt to make a wine – even with grapes known to produce age-able wines – meant to be enjoyed within a year.


Both white wines can age too

There are white wines out there made for easy immediate drinking. And, there are also white wines out there that can enjoy well over five years of age in a bottle. Which road the white wine goes down all depends really on style.

Style begins with the grapes. Like red wines, the white wines that can age depend a lot on the grape type. Chardonnay, Riesling, and Fiano are all wine types recognized for their exceptional aging capacity. This potential comes from these grapes’ innate structure. They have high acidity, performing well in cooler climates (further evolving this age-worthy acidity.) Also, each of these grapes is known to produce white wines that can age well over ten years.

When it comes to white wines to drink asap, we can look at the style. In other words, wines aged in stainless steel and focused on maintaining the ‘freshness’ of wine are for drinking now. These wines often are made using varietals that show their best potential young – Gewürztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc are two perfect examples. Nonetheless, there are white wine grapes that can both age and be made in ‘drink asap’ styles as well. Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc are two fine examples.

glasses of rosè wine 

Rosé is (usually) meant to be enjoyed immediately

This point may sound pretty obvious. But, it has to be said. Rosé is typically meant to be drunk ASAP. The crisp, refreshing fruity flavors of your favorite rosé will only fade over time (around 1 to a maximum of 2 years.)

We must say – though – that there are some exceptions to this. There are unique styles of rosé that have shown the capacity to age beyond 2 years. These rosés usually have way more structure – more intense acidity, fruit, and sometimes even a bit of tannin (from skin contact.) While knowing a rosé’s aging potential will take some research, it is always safe to drink that rosé you bought now.

Price point does matter

Everyone has seen a bottle that’s 20 years old commanding a pretty steep price point on a wine list. Of course, this is for many reasons beyond age. It could have been an amazing vintage year, limited edition production, an excellent producer, or all of the above. Regardless, this is another example of why price point matters when identifying if wine can age.

Wines falling under the $25-$30 range are usually not meant for long-term aging. And – a reminder – when we say long-term aging, we are talking about storing wines longer than 3-5 years.

Usually, more affordable wines are for rather prompt consumption. It makes sense as if you were to spend more money on a bottle of wine, it should last longer, so to speak.

Like everything, there are exceptions to price points indicating aging capacity. But, it’s a solid general rule to follow.

No matter what, storage matters

Found a beautiful bottle of wine that can age for 5-10+ years? Amazing. So, don’t ruin this aging capacity, something that’s quite easy to do if you don’t do your wine storage homework. 

Knowing the proper steps for aging wine will ensure that your wines last as long as the winemaker intended. Don’t miss our simple guide to aging wines to guarantee your bottles stay safe for drinking.

So do wines get better with age? As you can see, there isn’t one single answer. It depends on the wine, style, and vintage, which requires a little research. The team at Domenico Winery is here to help with all your wine questions. Keep up with the latest on our blog to learn more!