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Jun 18, 2012 04:39 PM

Does cheap wine age well?

my neighbor who doesn't drink was cleaning out her cabinets and she gave me two bottles of wine. One is a Concannon Pinot Noir and the other is a giant bottle of Raymond Hill Chardonnay. Both are from 2001! Yikes! i'm gonna open the Pinot Noir tonight just to taste but my understanding is that cheap wine is for immediate consumption. is that correct?

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  1. it all depends on how well (or not) the wine was kept/stored.

    If the cabinet was dark and not too warm, you'd be surprised that a wine can last a longer time than expected.

    1. Most wine is not built properly for aging. With cheap wine, this is especially true. All there is fruit flavors - and these drop out young with nothing left. Additionally, the wine makers do not allow for enough acidity for the wine to age properly, and for reds not enough acidity or tannins. This results in wines over time becoming dull, losing their fruit notes, and having no other flavors to help out. With California wines, sometime the only sensation one really gets is a vague sense of spice and then alcohol.

      Let us know how you do though! Perhaps it will end up being an interesting experiment.

      1. Maybe yes, but more likely, maybe no. It all depends on many factors.

        Let's just say that wine X was stored perfectly. Then, it might impress a taster. If not, then it probably will not.


        2 Replies
        1. re: Bill Hunt

          these are my tasting notes...

          Concannon PInot Noir 2001- UGH! have you ever tasted rubbing alcohol? no? me neither, but this is what imagine what it would taste like. down the drain it went.

          Raymond Hill-Let's just say after the Concannon this baby s going straight down the drain and the bottle into recycling.

          1. re: trolley

            Now, I am not familiar with either one of those (I know Concannon, but not that wine), but at the US $25 price range, one of the best PN's at that level, Acacia Carneros, can age. I have experienced it at 5 years, and while a different wine, than when young, was very enjoyable. Not sure which I like better - the young and vibrant, or the mature, nuanced wine.

            I have also had some Bdx. blend wines, at the lower end of the price scale, that I thought could stand a few years, only to have them fall apart. Shows how little I really know about age-worthiness!

            For aging ANY wine, storage is up near the top. Even a great, 1er Cru Bdx, stored in the garage in Arizona, will not last long.

            Good luck,


        2. Simple rule is if you paid under $25 drink now and if it is something in the $35 plus range with proper storage should age nicely. Not all under $25 are meant to drink today but it is an easy rule. Unless you are on Cellar Tracker and researching drinking windows drink up what you buy. I see too many people think a $15 Cab will be great in ten years and are too often disappointed.