Are there any wines that will still be decent after 5 years at room temperature?
September 2, 2012 12:23 PM   Subscribe

Are there any wines that will still be decent after 5 years at room temperature?

I am getting married next week (!!!) and we are going to do a little wine box ceremony, which is where we put a bottle of wine and letters to each other that we haven't read in a box that we will open on our 5 year anniversary.
I am aware that wines won't be at optimal taste in 5 years unless stored properly below 72 degrees and with the right amount of humidity...

BUT, if we just put it in a dark box on a shelf at room temperature (we keep house fairly cool) and take care to never expose it to extreme heat, is there a wine that will at least be drinkable in 5 years? I know it won't be incredible or anything, but as long as it isn't terrible we will be fine with it. Preferably a wine on the cheaper side (less than around $40).

All I've been able to find online are wine connoisseurs talking about how for "optimal aging" it must be stored properly. But what about if we just want it be to decent?
posted by kerri13 to Food & Drink (16 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Masi wines keep incredibly well and don't cost an arm and a leg. I keep them in the dark on their sides so the liquid can keep the cork moist and don't worry about temperature (we've spent long periods at -60 outside to +40 so what can you do?) and after anything from 5 to 15 years they still taste wonderful.

posted by pink candy floss at 12:39 PM on September 2, 2012

Generally speaking, more complex and heavier reds store better than lighter ones, but the real thing that you need to do is control the environment. Constant humidity, constant temperature, no intoxicants (i.e., don't store it in a basement with paints, oil and propane and aerosols as it will breathe) and darkness are your primary concerns. Many people use a porch or cellar for this purpose.

In terms of varieties, you could look either old world (French: Medoc, Pomerol; Italian: Barbaresco, Barolo) or turn to a Californian Cab with some character. You can definitely get a bottle for under $40 (although not too far below) that ideally will be like your marriage; not only drinkable after 5 years, but better too!
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 12:40 PM on September 2, 2012

Virtually any decent, non-swill wine will be fine under these circumstances. Will it be super-duper fine? No. Will you notice? Unlikely.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:40 PM on September 2, 2012 [8 favorites]

Oh, and I forgot: store the bottles on their sides. If the cork dries out and cracks, the wine will spoil.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 12:41 PM on September 2, 2012 [3 favorites]

I'd go a red. Port keeps really well and ages nicely so that might be something to consider too. My parents got a bottle of middling quality port for my brothers birth and lugged it around and stored it badly for 18 years as a gift to him for his 18th birthday and it tasted pretty good when we finally drank it.
posted by wwax at 1:02 PM on September 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Madeira is intentionally heat damaged. Its basically impossible to destroy.

But answering your question if its a dark place where you keep things less than 75 degrees or so you can really store anything other than the sans-souffre super natural wine making crowd for 5 years and be fine.
posted by JPD at 1:16 PM on September 2, 2012

five years really isn't aging anything. the wine is still pretty primary.
posted by JPD at 1:18 PM on September 2, 2012

I wouldn't worry so much about room temperature as I would worry about peak temperatures. Once it gets cooked, that wine is done, and drinking it won't be a happy moment.
posted by Forktine at 1:18 PM on September 2, 2012

Seconding the idea of getting a nice Port or Madeira. Almost impossible to ruin and when opened, you'll have a delicious sweet wine to drink rather than something just ok.
posted by vacapinta at 1:26 PM on September 2, 2012

Mr. MonDieu, who almost became a sommelier, and lived in France or many years, says, "pick a young California or N. Washington State red that you like to drink NOW, and put it away for your box." He also did the California wine tour at one point, and he is of the mind that if you like it, drink it! I also had good experience with Washington state wines, very highly recommended by a friend of mine. So I do drink Cali wines for every day, but I go for the volcanic soil WA wines for good things, because they are very tasty. Also, I love some African wines (Goats Do Roam) and of course, I LOVE Australian wines, because the Aussies have some of the BEST wines out there! So look at them as well.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 1:49 PM on September 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

Your wine will be just fine. Wine is not nearly as delicate as people say, and 5 years for a young wine is nothing. Lay it on its side (to keep the cork moist) and make sure it doesn't freeze or get so hot the liquid expands past the cork and you'll be good. White, red, dessert wine, regular wine, it'll all be fine. Put in something from your reception!
posted by Nelson at 2:07 PM on September 2, 2012

All of them. I have the Higher Wine Certificate (brag brag) and I just keep my wines in racks in a cupboard and not a one of them has ever cooked or gone musty.

Get a nice 2010 California Pinot Noir and it will be perfect in 2017 as long as you don't leave it in your car or on top of your refrigerator. This is marvelous, for instance.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:19 PM on September 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

You'll be fine. Really. 5 years in wine years is not a big deal unless the cork dries out or you're storing it next to the furnace.

Store on its side or upside down in a closet. I've had particularly good experience with older Spanish and Italian wines; but California cabs and zins should be fine, if you buy at the $25 price point or up. Big reds, basically.
posted by fingersandtoes at 4:19 PM on September 2, 2012

Thank you all so much! I feel much better. Apparently I have a lot of options. I'm surprised to hear someone say that even a dessert wine would be okay, there is a Moscato that we love. But most likely we will go with a nice Pinot Noir, that seems to be the safest option and one that we both like!
posted by kerri13 at 5:01 PM on September 2, 2012

Couldn't you just get a nice bottle of scotch, or rum, or whatever other hard spirit takes your fancy? Instead of wine it could be your favorite cocktail - 5 year margaritaversary or something.
posted by SassHat at 7:48 PM on September 2, 2012

Brunello di Montalcino is another very storage-stable red that improves with age. 2007 was a fine vintage that will be great in 2017.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:28 PM on September 2, 2012

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