Yes you did read that headline correctly; 99% of wine should be consumed within 5 years! That sounds like an excellent reason to open a bottle of wine tonight, after all we wouldn’t want it to go bad.
Is wine meant to be aged?
I was always told by my grandma each birthday that I was like a fine wine as I only get better with age…and as much as I want to agree, the concept of wine getting better with time is actually a common misconception.
According to Kevin Zraly, who runs America’s number one wine school, wine improving with age is a commonly shared myth. He states that 90% of the world’s wines are supposed to be enjoyed within one year. Whilst only 1% of all of all of the wines in the world should be aged for more than 5 years.
It’s worth noting though that the 1% of wines that improve with age represents over 350 million bottles of wine every vintage. So that bottle of Chardonnay you’ve been saving for a special occasion might be part of that 1% after all.
What makes a wine last more than 5 years?
Zraly argues that there are 5 key factors that will determine how well a wine will age.
1. The colour of the grape. Tannin is a natural preservative that comes from the skins, pits and stems of grapes. Red wines tend to have a higher tannin content than white wines do so they will generally last longer. As well as this, certain red grapes tend to have more tannin that others. So Cabernet Sauvignon, for example, will age longer than Pinot Noir.
2. The vintage. A vintage dictates the year that the grapes were harvested. If the weather conditions for that year were good then the wines included in that vintage are more likely to age longer.
3. Wine storage conditions. If a wine is properly stored then they have a better chance of lasting longer.
4. How the wine was made. The tannin content of a wine can be influence by how it was made. If a wine is fermented and aged in oak, for example, the more tannin will be present and the more likely the wine is to age longer.
5. The vineyard where the wine comes from. The conditions of the vineyard will affect the quality of the wine and the amount of time it will need to age. Factors such as the soil quality and weather will influence how well the grapes grow.
Top 10 wines with little to no aging potential
Jancis Robinson, Master of Wine, provides his list of wines that simply won’t age.
1. German QBAs
2. Asti and Moscato Spumante
3. Rosé and blush wines like White Zinfandel
4. Branded wines like Yellow Tail, Mouton Cadet, etc.
5. European table wine
6. American jug & box wine
7. Inexpensive varietals (with the possible exception of Cabernet Sauvignon)
8. The majority of Vin de pays
9. All Nouveau wines
Top 10 wines with good aging potential
Jancis Robinson also provides his list of wines that are most likely to get better with time. He also gives an estimate of the wines’ aging potential.
1. Botrytized wines (5–25 yrs)
2. Chardonnay (2–6 yrs)
3. Riesling (2–30 yrs)
4. Hungarian Furmint (3–25 yrs)
5. Loire Valley Chenin blanc (4–30 yrs)
6. Hunter Valley Semillon (6–15 yrs)
7. Cabernet Sauvignon (4–20 yrs)
8. Merlot (2–10 yrs)
9. Nebbiolo (4–20 yrs)
10. Pinot noir (2–8 yrs)
Finally, there’s proof that justifies the incredible intake of wine that’s consumed at Evachill HQ! If you’d like to enjoy your wine before it goes bad and want to keep it cold whilst you do so, Evachill can help. Our 750ml bottles fit an entire bottle of wine and keep it fridge cold all day!