DaveWest wrote:I think most wines in this price range were not meant to go the distance. I'm not sure if wines priced less than $30 were never meant to age so long or if something has changed in the way wines are made (are they made more accessible at a young age now and so they CAN'T age?).
A perceptive observation, Dave.
IMO, cellaring wine for long periods of time is one of the great public myths of the wine world. 99% of all the wine made is meant to be drunk shortly after release, and doesn't really benefit from aging more than 3-5 years.
Like all myths, the mystique of aging does have some roots in fact. There are some wines that, in top vintages, can be downright nasty in their youth, but 10, 20, or even 30 years down the road will repay your patience with magnificent complexity obtainable no other way. Great Bordeaux, Hermitage, Barolo, and Rioja Gran Reserva all fall into this category. Then there is vintage Port, which flat out requires 20 years to learn some manners; vintage Madiera, which is practically immortal and can taste fresh and young at 100; and the monumental dessert wines from Sauternes and Germany that will last and improve over decades.
And there's the great awe that comes from thinking that the magnificent wine you're drinking was made decades before you were born, and others before you had the foresight to save it so that you can savor it at this moment. One of my own most memorable wine experiences was enjoying the 1929 and 1961 vintages of Chateaux Mouton-Rothschild and Latour at a special tasting. And my continuing delight every time I taste the Ports from my birth year--1955--all of which have aged far more gracefully than I have.
But the vast majority of wines, especially those at the lower price points--and under $30 in these days of inflated prices is, alas, at the lower price points--are and always have been meant to be enjoyed young or youngish.
Are wines these days made intentionally so that they don't age as well as they used to? I don't think so. I would say that a lot of wines these days don't require
aging to be drinkable, as they used to, but I don't think the well-made examples from today are any less ageworthy than their predecessors. Some of the overly alcoholic fruit bombs you see these days don't age gracefully, but being graceful is not, after all, what they're about, anyway.
With a few exceptions, I cellar red wines for from 5-10 years.