A common misconception about wine is that it is always better after it has been allowed to develop over time. But don’t be fooled into thinking that this is always the case. When a wine ages, its flavor, aroma, and color change. The composition of the wine determines whether or not aging will be beneficial to these elements.
Aging is a popular topic in the wine industry. An aged wine has a romantic allure and can be associated with a particular year that may have significance to a wine lover. It even gives wine drinkers the opportunity to experience wine that was produced long before they were born. And though not always the case, the flavor of an aged wine may be superior to a younger version of that same type of wine.
Tannins and acids are the pivotal components in the aging process of wine. Tannins are found in the seeds and skins of the winemaking grapes. Tannins have a bitter taste which lends a sensation of dryness in the mouth. During the aging process, the tannins become softer and less harsh. The color changes during the aging process, with the red becoming lighter and the white acquiring more color. The aromas of the wine create a more complex bouquet, with the more powerful flavors becoming savory as they interact with the subtle flavors.
Wines with high levels of acids and tannins are generally more expensive and are good candidates for aging. If opened too soon, this type of wine will taste acerbic. Only a small percentage of wines are candidates for aging. Most of the wines produced are intended for consumption within five years. If you age this type of wine, the colors, flavors, and aromas will simply deteriorate over time.
In summary, premium wines get better with age, while ordinary wines that you can purchase for less than $30 per bottle tend to be best consumed within five years of production.