Young whites and rosés can generally be kept for a couple of years after the date of the harvest, which must be indicated on the label. Barrel aged whites can be held for up to five years, although often each wine evolves differently.
Unaged red wines should also be drunk within a couple of years, the longer a wine has been aged the longer it will last in the bottle: usually up to 10 years. It also depends on the grape variety and how the wine was made.In principal the “blacker” wines last longer, so a concentrated Cabernet Sauvignon will last longer than a lighter Garnatxa.
Sparkling wines are more delicate, as the pressure in the bottle makes it more likely that they could suffer problems at the seal, and shouldn’t be kept much more than a year. Nonetheless in some cases premium wines released prior to their ideal drinking window might benefit from a couple of years in the bottle, as long as they are kept at the ideal temperature and humidity.
In an average home, subject to constant temperature changes, keeping a wine for much more than a year doesn’t make much sense. It’s a common error to expect wines to improve with the years: At best we can hope that the wine will not be spoilt. More than improve we should think of the wine as changing: Wine is a living liquid and evolves with time.
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