Which Wines Age Best in a Wine Cellar?

Looking to store some wine in your wine cellar but not sure how long you should let it age? Here is a guide to storing common types of wine.

It’s important to note that these aging suggestions are just a guide and are determined assuming the wine is stored under ideal conditions. Wine that is stored improperly will age faster or worse yet, oxidize and become ruined.

The general rule is that expensive wines are meant to be aged longer than inexpensive ones, though the majority of wine produced is meant to be drunk within a few years. Different grapes age better than others and this is just one factor in the aging process. Some wines mellow and soften, while others gain complexity but lose fruitiness.

Here are some aging suggestions for common types of wine to help you plan what to put in your wine cellar and for how long (recommended from the vintage date):

  • Beaujolais: 0-3 years
  • Beaujolais Nouveau: drink as soon as possible
  • Cabernet Sauvignon: 5-15 years
  • Champagne: (vintage) 5-10 years; (non vintage) 0-2 years
  • Chianti: 0-7 years
  • Chardonnay: 0-5 years
  • Merlot: 2-8 years
  • Pinot Noir: 0-5 years
  • Port: (non vintage, tawny, etc.) 0-5 years; (vintage) 10-20+ years
  • Riesling: 3-20 years
  • Sangiovese & Barolo: 5-10 years
  • Sauvignon Blanc: 0-2 years
  • Shiraz: 5-12 years
  • Zinfandel (red): 5-10 years
  • Zinfandel (white): 0-1 years

This is a guide to help get your collection started. Higher quality wines will age better than lower quality wines. Wines from “good” years age better than ones from poor years. Before investing in a certain wine or vintage, it may be worth researching its year if you plan on aging it. After purchasing multiple bottles and letting them age, try one. The results will give a good timeline for the wine-should you let the other bottles continue to age or drink them? This will help you learn how wines develop, shape your personal preferences and help guide your future wine purchases.

Sources: CellarNotes.net & Modern Wine Cellar

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