How long should I keep my fine wine bottles aging?

by Jan 28, 2021News0 comments

wine cellared cabernet.jpgwine cellared cabernet.jpg


Dear reader,

Every wine that is bottled is already good to drink, right? But the few wines that hold tight with time or develop new nuances, thereby improving in terms of quality and complexity, are very interesting to preserve for years on.


As you may know, around only 5% of the wines produced in the world are meant to grow in quality as they age. That is the case of the fine and rare wines we offer at Alti Wine Exchange.

Even if you don’t plan on letting a few bottles rest to improve, you can cellar them to maintain their finest traits for some good years – storing them under cool, specific conditions we showed some time ago.


What makes a wine good to be cellared and improve in the bottle?

The preservation of wines in bottle depends not only on quality of wine, but the ratio of sugars, acids and phenolics to water. Anyway, many other factors can come into play too, such as extent of maceration and amount of filtering (which might reduce tannins, thus risking its aging potential).

It’s not an exact science, but a few common traits will help you identify the age-worthiness and cellar potential, aspects that are crucial about fine wines. As we fully went through in a specific post, they include:

  • Quality traits (terroir, complexity, length)

  • Acidity, phenols, sugar

  • Good storing conditions



Besides the abovementioned characteristics, the aging potential of each wine in bottle depends on what we want from the wine.

Let’s get to it.


How long to store each wine for more complexity

Do we want to add complexity, let it develop secondary aromas? Sometimes we can get even the opposite way: while older, high-end Burgundy (Pinot noir) are rounder, more structured as years go by, younger reds are bolder and more fruit-forward as they’re young. Or if you want to wip your wine looking for its acidity, it’s better to enjoy sooner, as it will soften with time.

On the other hand, tannin-packed red wines develop more secondary and tertiary aromas and soften with the years. For instance: finer Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux blends, Syrah, Douro, Tannat. It surely gives them a new perspective, less aggressive for some.

Here are Jancis Robinson‘s overall estimates for some among the most celebrated age-worthy wines and their cellaring potential of reaching their peak:

  • Botrytized wines such as Sauternes, Eiswein (5–25 yrs)

  • Chardonnay (2–6 yrs)

  • Riesling (2–30 yrs – more for the botrytizeds, such as Beerenauslese)

  • Loire Valley Chenin blanc (4–30 yrs)

  • Cabernet Sauvignon (4–20 yrs)

  • Merlot (2–10 yrs)

  • Nebbiolo (4–20 yrs)

  • Pinot noir (2–8 yrs)

  • Sangiovese (2–8 yrs)

  • Syrah (4–16 yrs)

  • Zinfandel (2–6 yrs)

  • Classified Bordeaux (8–25 yrs)

  • Grand Cru Burgundy (8–25 yrs)

  • Aglianico (4–15 yrs)s)

  • Spanish Tempranillo (2–8 yrs)


To which we can add too:

Vintage Champagne, which can be cellared for well over 10 years. Fortifieds, such as vintage Ports (20–50 yrs and even more, such as our very old Port from Quinta do Vallado and Moscatels.

Check out also what Wine Folly recommends:


On how to cellar

For our pro tips on how to cellar wine, we have a post that will guide you through the basics. But remember to always follow a few steps:

  • Cool, stable temperature

  • Bottles laid down

  • Dark environment

  • Good humidity

  • Avoiding too much vibration


Building a wine cellar to keep your finest age-worthy wines, such as the ones we offer on our exchange, is an almost impossible task unless you have space and the conditions to maintain your bottles under cool temperature, steady humidity and all surrounding things.

That’s also why most of our proud fine wine investors have been opting to maintain the age-worthy bottles they purchase on our platform and marketplace bonded in our partner Bordeaux City Bond, where the best conditions are ensured for fine wines to age under the perfect conditions and reach their full expression in the long term and be tasted or re-sold later on (read our FAQ to know more).


As we said a while ago: no use in keeping a wine that’s not age-worthy at home for years and years. If a wine is not meant to develop its finest qualities as time passes, drink it sooner rather than later!

Until next time.



 More you might want to read

Explore More from Our Blog

Ever heard of a wine cocktail?

DEAR READER, I hope some of you learned from the reader letter last week [hyperlink to Week Ten post] and checked your attics! You never know how much wine sits above you, waiting to be uncorked and decanted—on someone else’s dime! Dear Sommelier Ferdinand, I have a...

What on earth is a ‘Wine Decanter’?

DEAR READER, It’s come to my attention that many of you are ill-informed, misinformed, and frankly, uninformed about how wine is to be consumed. Were I only a wine enthusiast, it would be wholly dispiriting. But—wine is my profession, and I’m obligated to recognize...

“What’s My Next Question?” – Benjamin Kaplan

What’s My Next Question? On a random day like today 11 years ago, a legendary Harvard Law professor and lawyer, Benjamin Kaplan, died at 99 years of age. A rich, marked life that left an impact long after his last breathe. Apart from influencing the likes of Ruth...

Wine that Makes You Look Up

Wines that Make You Look Up Can you imagine having a device that magnifies your view and never thinking to look up, never pointing it toward the sky? Until August 25, 1609, nobody had. Enter Galileo Galilee, the man who changed the way we see and interpret all that is...

Should you be swirling your wine before consumption?

DEAR READER, Through all the melodrama of the past few weeks, I’ve neglected to educate the newcomers about the art of winetasting. So, I dug deep into my inbox for this query: Sommelier Ferdinand, I went to a ball last night and wasn’t aware of the proper pre-drink...

Sommelier Ferdinand answers “What’s the point of drinking wine from a hundred years ago?”.

DEAR READER, I’ve heard what you’ve all had to say, and I’ve decided to reach out to Jerry, once again, to bury the hatchet. Who’s to say if he would be open to making amends… but I made the effort, on behalf of all you insightful readers! I’ll keep you all updated on...


DEAR READER, Something unprecedented has happened. My assistant has received an additional letter from Jerry. Remember him—from last week [READ HERE] Well, our beloved wine purist wrote back after reading yesterweek’s column: Sommelier Ferdinand, I don’t care about...

Transcending Time through Wine

On August 11, 1888, The Scientific American published its 658th issue, replete with exciting findings. From “A Study on Whirlwinds,” to “The Distillation of Peppermint" and thoughts on the human conscious, this popular science magazine had already been around since...

Boxed Wine and an angry recipient.

What an experience, to receive all your criticisms. That would shake any normal individual. But I’ve spent years having my judgments under a microscope, so I’ve learned to shut my doors to it. You are all welcome to try—but I won’t be changing any time soon! Speaking...

Sommelier Ferdinand answers “What it takes to become a Sommelier”.

DEAR READER, As the grapes grow richer, so do the bottler and buyer! Wine is an investment, my dear readers. Never forget the long game! Now, for some advice you folks have solicited: Sommelier Ferdinand, I want to be a sommelier, like yourself. I have the respect for...

Harry Potter and the Magical Creation of Seña 2007

On July 21, 2007, J.K. Rowling released her seventh and final book of a most memorable series. In just 24 hours, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows sold more than 11 million copies! On that same day, in a land more fascinating than Hogwarts, Seña 2007 was getting...

This week Sommelier Ferdinand answers the difficult question “Which do you prefer: Red or White?

DEAR READER, Some wrote in after last week, wishing me happiness…? Sending me love…? What do you all think, I’m still in love with Matilde? Save your pity for someone who needs it, I beg you! Anyway: Sommelier Ferdinand, Which do you prefer: Red, or white? -Clarise...