Will all wines improve with age? A very common question. In general the answer to the question is no. Most wines especially those from the “new world” are designed in a “drink now” style. They don’t keep more than 1-2 years. Some wineries would do well to put best before dates 🙂
Others are designed to improve with age! How do you tell? Do your research. Some wineries are clever and put it on the back of the bottle. Some put it on their website. You can also find a raters opinion on how long the wine will age in some tasting notes. Not all tasters do this and they are not always accurate.
Depending on the grape some wines will simply mellow over time, some will become more integrated and complex. It really depends. Take Shiraz for example. Shiraz’s will continue to smooth out as they age, loosing that sharp edge and distinct pepperyness, ending up more like a Syrah. A cab will become more complex as it ages.
When a wine does age it get’s better up to a point where it peaks and then it starts to go downhill and eventually will be expensive vinegar 🙂 The trick is to not wait that long (ya think?).
Did you know, one of THE most ageable grape variety in the world is a white, not a red? Yes it is the Riesling grape!
In terms of storage you need a place that is cool (not too cool or it won’t age), dry, vibration free and dark. I have wine fridges and you can buy these at places like Home Depot and Bay or at more specialized places for bigger ones. You don’t need a wine fridge unless the temperature in your place varies significantly. Store the bottles laying down.
Be sure and take keep records of what you have put in the cellar. Keeping track of tasting notes, best before/after, price paid etc. These will be helpful in the long run. Consider using a database. There are free ones for example Bottle count or just keep paper notes.
So … do your research, age only those wines that will improve and don’t wait too long. How do you know when you’ve waited long enough and it’s time to drink it? When you just can’t bare to wait another moment!