How to Buy Wine for Aging: Your Guide to The Longest-Lived Wines - Vinfolio Blog - Deepstash

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Why Age Wine?

Why Age Wine?

Knowing how to buy wine for aging is a challenge for many beginner collectors. This is partially because it’s easy to conflate quality with aging potential. However, just because a wine is delicious and received high scores from critics does not necessarily mean it can age for decades. So, which wines do have great aging potential and why should you age wine at all?

Aging wine is an important part of wine collecting for many collectors and it can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Buying wine young and laying it down to age has a number of advantages, including:

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Development of complex, mature flavors

The flavor profile of many age-worthy wines shifts over time. The flavors become more complex and savory, the aromatics turn into a bouquet, and the tannins become fine and silky. This isn’t true of all age-worthy wines (some stay more or less the same with age), but the vast majority of wines with aging potential show at least some flavor evolution.

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Higher return on investment

If you consider fine wine a financial asset, then age-worthy bottles are some of the most reliable investments. You can buy bottles at a relatively low cost while they’re still immature and then resell them on the secondary market at peak maturity and at a much higher price.

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Ideal for special events

Aging wine yourself prepares you for future milestone celebrations. If you have a special occasion coming up like an anniversary or graduation, you’ll already have a collection of impressive, mature wines to choose from.

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More time to decide what to do with your wine

If you’re unsure whether to open that valuable bottle of 2001 Château d’Yquem or resell it later, you don’t have to make a decision right away. A wine like this could easily age for another few decades, giving you more than enough time to make your choice. A decade from now, you might discover that your wine is worth much more than expected (or vice versa). Or, if your tastes change, you can use the profits from selling your older wines to buy new bottles that better match your current tastes.

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What Qualities Do Age-Worthy Wines Share?

What Qualities Do Age-Worthy Wines Share?

A few qualities set age-worthy wines apart from most other wines.

A wine doesn’t need to have all of these qualities to be age-worthy. For example, Château d’Yquem and other Sauternes producers make wines that are high in acidity but not particularly tannic. The acidity alone is enough to increase the aging potential. 

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Need To Be Oak Fermented

Some wines have one or more of these qualities but are still meant to be drunk young. A good example of this is Sauvignon Blanc. This variety is high in acidity, yet most of these wines don’t age well (with some exceptions). This is partly because producers typically don’t ferment Sauvignon Blanc in oak. Instead, they choose to make crisp Sauvignon Blanc that drinkers can enjoy immediately upon release.

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VARIETIES AND STYLES THAT AGE WELL

It’s also important to keep in mind that just because a wine is age-worthy doesn’t necessarily mean it’s valuable. If you’re looking for ageable wines that you can resell on the secondary market later, then you’ll need to invest in wines that are both age-worthy and profitable.

Commandaria is a sweet red wine that can age for centuries, yet most bottles are inexpensive.

A bottle of 2009 Château Cheval Blanc has great aging potential but will also increase significantly in market value over the next few decades.

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value or quality

Aging potential doesn’t automatically correlate to value or quality. You should invest in long-lived wines only if you want to taste how they evolve or if you plan on reselling your bottles after they reach maturity. 

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Nebbiolo

Why it ages so well: Nebbiolo is extremely acidic and tannic. It’s a well-structured wine that is not very approachable in its youth but that mellows with age. 

Aging potential: 20+ years (in the case of fine Barolo) 

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How to Buy Wine for Aging (and Store It Properly)

Before you buy any age-worthy bottles, make sure you have a safe place to store them. Full-service professional storage services are the best option for keeping bottles that have aging potential because there’s less risk of damage and spoilage than if you kept them in a home cellar or self-storage locker . A storage warehouse is maintained at precise environmental conditions, with careful temperature and humidity regulation. Bottles are also kept in secure containers that block light and prevent vibration.

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Under these conditions, wine can mature slowly and gracefully without any disruptions. Another benefit of using professional storage services is that you won’t be tempted to open your long-lived wines too early. If a bottle is sitting in your basement cellar, it’s easy to grab it by mistake or give in to the temptation to open it at your next dinner party. For this reason, many experienced collectors keep their best bottles out of reach.

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Once you have a storage plan for your wine, you can buy your first age-worthy bottles. One way to make the most of your investment is to buy full cases of a single vintage whenever possible. This allows you to open one bottle from the case every few years to see how the vintage is maturing. You may find that a vintage is developing faster than you expected, and you can plan to open the bottles soon or resell them on the market.

You may find that the wine is maturing much more slowly than anticipated. In this scenario, you should delay opening your next bottle or wait longer to sell.

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