Most wines at your local store are meant to be drunk within a year or so of their vintage. But one thing I learned during my tenure as a rare wine specialist at Christie’s auction house is that if you're only drinking young wines, you're missing out. Certain flavors and aromas are unique to aged wines, and drinking them opens up new levels of enjoyment. And you don't need a collection of painfully expensive Bordeaux or Burgundy (or even a true wine cellar) to get into the game. First, keep these three rules in mind:
Storage matters. No matter what kind of wine you buy, if it’s not stored in the dark at a reasonably consistent temperature, it’s going to go bad. Invest in a wine fridge and stick it in your closet. (Sadly, you'll discover that they only make fridges in one size: too small.)
Buy worthy wines. Good producers almost always make good wines, even in what people call "off vintages." Sure, we could debate the merits of so-and-so’s 2007s, but generally, I’ll take a good producer in an off year rather than the opposite. There are great producers all over the world, not just in the famous, expensive wine regions.