Wine writer Lettie Teague has written an interesting and informative article in The Wall Street Journal about whether aging wine has become an outmoded custom. Certainly the evidence suggests that the US market is heading that way. Teague writes:
“After all, nearly every wine in the world today is made to be consumed soon after it’s bottled. (I’ve seen figures as high as 99%.) Wine drinkers seem willing to do their part. According to Bear Dalton, wine buyer for Spec’s, a Houston-based wine store chain, nearly 98% of his customers drink the bottles they buy in under a week.
“At Calvert Woodley in Washington, D.C., proprietor Ed Sands posits that 90% of his customers drink their wines quickly, so most of his inventory is comprised of wines meant to be consumed within two years or so. Even at Sherry-Lehmann in New York, a bastion of blue-chip (aka age-worthy) Bordeaux, nearly half the store’s customers are buying wines under $15 a bottle, according to the company’s president, Chris Adams. Mr. Adams lamented that not many wine drinkers were likely to experience the enormous pleasure that a well-aged wine could bestow.”
The article gives a good introduction to the aging of wine and what makes a wine age well. She ends her article the following paragraph.
“Age-worthy wine may not (yet) be obsolete, but its biggest challenge—beyond money, time and proper storage—may be the belief of a buyer in a bottle, the conviction that something truly transformative can take place. Aging wine is, above all else, an act of faith.”