Suggestions On When To Break Open Your Wines

Drink within the Year of Production Enjoy within three Years Approach after three Years bottle age
Beaujolais Nouveau, Carbonic Maceration, Cab-Mac etc. Generic Burgundy, Bordeaux Superieur Best producers of dry Alsace
Generic red wines without a vintage/year on the bottle Less expensive mass market wines from New World producers More expensive Loire Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé Vieilles Vignes (old vines)
Light white wine Corbières et Minervois Chablis
Light sparkling wines including Asti (Italy), Sekt (Germany) and Cava (Spain). Touraine Cabernet Franc Graves from good Châteaux
Côtes-du-Rhône Villages Sauternes from lesser Châteaux or less than great vintages
Lighter styles of Shiraz and Syrah Vintage Champagne if you like them young
non Riserva Italian reds with the exception of high quality IGTs and Super Tuscans Sweet German and Austrian
Most reds from Spain including Rioja (but not Reservas) Reserve Chardonnays from the New World
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and blends from the New World (not the top end boutique wines) Italian Riserva

Spanish Reserva

Pinot Noir from the New World (less expensive versions) Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from the New World.
Sauvignon Blancs including those from Sancerre and Pouilly Fume. Syrah from the New World
Muscadet (non Reserve and those not considered from exceptional years).
New World Chardonnay (non reserve)
Chenin Blanc
Dry Alsace wines (not the special selection)
Non Vintage Champagnes

Let these wines rest in the calm of your cellar for at least 5 to 8 years

  • Good vintages from Sauternes/Barsac lesser known Chateaux
  • Vouvray
  • Alsace Sélection de Grains Nobles
  • Best from Austria and Germany
  • New World Marsanne
  • Premiers Crus and Grands Crus of Burgundy (average years)
  • Good years generic Burgundy
  • Reserve and special bottlings of Pinot Noir of the New World
  • Côtes du Rhône : Côte-Rôtie, Hermitage, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, etc.
  • Most of the Crus Bourgeoise of Bordeaux
  • Average years of Grands Crus of Médoc and Graves (Left Bank)
  • Barolo
  • Super-Tuscans
  • Rioja Reserva
  • Great Cabernet Sauvignons and Meritages from the New World
  • Top Classed Australian Shiraz

These wines demand minimum of 8 year ageing

  • Sauternes from the great years (can be aged 20+ years)
  • Best of the Vintage Champagnes
  • Vendanges Tardives (late harvests) Grands Crus of Alsace
  • Premiers and Grands Crus of best vintages in Burgundy
  • Grands Crus of Bordeaux
  • Great vintages from Côte-Rôtie, Hermitage, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
  • Spanish reds, the Gran Reservas
  • Beerenauslese, Trockenbeerenauslese of Germany
  • Italian Passito, Recioto and Vin Santo
  • Vin Jaune and Vin de Paille
  • Oloroso Sherry
  • Tokaji from Hungary
  • Port

Read more: