The older the wine, the better it is. Right? Actually sorry, that’s wrong.
It’s a common misconception that all wines get better with age. In fact most everyday reds will be ruined if you save them up for longer than five years, and for whites that comes down to three.
Take Sauvignon Blanc (pron: sew-vin-yawn blonk) for example. In its prime this wine practically sings with fresh, citrus and tropical fruit flavours. But if you’ve kept a bottle for longer than a couple of years those flavours aren’t going to be as prominent and the wine could take on some unpleasant flavours.
And it’s the same for red wine too. Beaujoulais (pron: bo-jo-lay) is made to be enjoyed young – it’s at its best within the first year or two. And Beaujoulais Nouveau (pron: bo-jo-lay noo-vo) should really be opened within the first six months.
Wines that will age well
But you don’t necessarily have to spend ridiculous amounts of cash on wine to be able to keep it for a long time.
For some great bargains that are guaranteed to get better with age we turned to Guy Watson from Laithwaite’s Wine School for his top tips.
Riesling (pron: ree-zling) is a white wine that’s ages brilliantly, picking up toasty, nutty and sometimes even fuel-like aromas the longer it spends in a bottle.
But, if you’re buying a bottle for a special occasion – say a birthday, christening or wedding – you can’t go wrong with Vintage Port. It does cost more, with prices starting at around £45, but you can store it for up to 100 years and it will still be delicious.
How to store wine
There are a few important things you should know if you are planning on storing a bottle of wine for a while.
First of all, keep it out of direct contact with sunlight and ideally in the dark. It’s also good to keep the wine as still as possible, so don’t leave it near to a washing machine or tumble dryer as the vibrations will disturb the contents of your precious bottles.
Wine that’s being stored long term should also be kept at a constant temperature – so the kitchen is not the best place. You want to be storing your wine at a temperature above freezing and below 18°C.
Finally, if a wine has a cork closure, it’s best to lay the bottle horizontally to keep the cork moist and fully expanded. If the cork dries out it will shrink allowing oxygen into the bottle, ruining your wine.
For more advice on storing, drinking and enjoying wine, take a look at the Laithwaite’s Wine Knowledge Hub.