Maturing fine wines go through a number of perceptibly different stages.

At which point aging a bottle of wine can be detrimental?

Stage 1: Young and Fresh

Young wines usually taste delightful full of flavor and vivacity, but also a little simplistic. Their color is vivid but most of the time quite pale and/or homogeneous.

For the most full-bodied red wines (like Bordeaux reds), they can be unpleasant because of their harsh tannins which tend to cover the aromas of a wine (especially for unseasoned wine customers).

Stage 2: The wine closes up

Fine wines can appear to close up, to turn surly, at some unforeseeable time after bottling, anywhere between a few months and a few years. It appears that they have lost their scent without gaining a bouquet.

Their structure (body, acidity, tannins) can be distinctively sensed. Their potential can be felt by seasoned wine tasters. However, any quality evaluation at this stage can be risky and quite heterogeneous among wine critics.

Stage 3: The wine gains in length

A variable number of years after stage 2, they begin to smell like wine again and gain considerably more palate length.

Stage 4: The wine reaches its full potential

After Stage 3, the wines reach their most satisfying stage, when the aromas appear fully formed and the astringency has dissipated, making the mouthfeel appealing. The wine is superb in terms of flavor, texture, length, and balance. The wines gain complexity and depth while keeping a long length. Their color become very nuanced with many different color variations.

For red wines, the tannins have polymerized to become well integrated and to give distinctive tertiary notes (cocoa, chocolate, tobacco, leather…) that most wine lover really enjoy.

Stage 5: The wine start to pass its peak

After staying for some times at its peak, the wine will start to slowly decline in quality, depth and length. It will be subtle for the first months/years. But at some variable point, the difference in overall quality will start to become very notable.

The wine then enters a period of decrepitude, during which acidity begins to prevail if it is aged for too long.

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