How long you should store red wine: a collector’s guide.
While casual wine drinkers will open their red wine within a few weeks of purchasing their bottle, many wine collectors are diligent about building up their red wine collection, from cabernet sauvignon to pinot noir to zinfandel blends.
For those who may hang on to their red wines for months if not years, the question is often asked, “How long should I store red wine for?” Below are a few things to consider.
Not every wine needs to be aged to be enjoyed.
A common misnomer is that all red wine must be aged in order to be considered “drinkable”. However, that’s not always the case.
As a matter of fact, throughout the world most wine is drunk while it’s “young” and there is little storage prior to consumption. Granted, many of these young wines would likely have more robust, complex flavors had they been aged for a while, but many are fine without the long wait and are perfectly enjoyable 12 – 18 months after it’s bottled.
What variety are you looking to age?
Similar to how ideal temperature to store wines varies by type, the same principle applies to the type of red wine you’re looking to age. There are some varieties that improve over time. They include:
- Cabernet Sauvignon
- Red Burgundy
- Pinot Noir
Still other are fairly drinkable right away. They include:
Consider the structure of the wine you want to age.
While the lists above give a good guideline to which wines to age, more dedicated wine collectors know that it actually depends on the structure of the wine as to how well it will age. According to WineFolly.com, structural elements of age-worthy red wine includes:
- Acidity (moderate-high)
- Volatile Acidity (VA, low)
- Tannin (moderate-high)
- Alcohol Level (moderate)
- Overall Balance
Are you cellaring your wine collection?
People have different reasons for building custom wine cellars. If you’re in New York, you may have a wine cellar to collect wines for a cold winter ahead. Or you could collect wines as an investment. Or you may have a special occasion and are saving a prized cabernet sauvignon to open at the right time.
Of course, keep in mind that any wine can rapidly age if left in ambient conditions. If you leave a bottle of wine out on the counter in Phoenix at 80 degrees for three weeks, it will age too rapidly.
There’s a reason so many homeowners in Arizona have custom wine rooms! Climate control is critical, no matter what part of the country you live in.
Before you start a red wine collection (or any wine collection for that matter) we recommend meeting with a wine cellar professional who can guide you to the kind of cellar, climate control, and storage that will meet your vision for wine collecting; ideally a wine room professional that has a national presence and understands the challenges of building wine cellars in different environments.
These professionals will gather ideas and evaluate site conditions in order to design and build the cellar with your tastes and ideas in mind, and will work with you on how to build a wine cellar for form and function to protect your wine collection for years to come.
What would you like to create?
Let's talk about your vision.