How Long Should a Wine Collector Keep a Merlot?

by Anthony Potenza ; Updated September 28, 2017

Merlot grapes

merlot image by Lele from Fotolia.com

Ready to Drink

Most wines are meant to be consumed upon release. This is particularly true of merlot, since it is a soft, plummy wine with smooth tannins. Tannins are what preserves the wine for aging and what gives your mouth that dry, astringent feeling. When referring to merlot in the $12 range, Cellarnotes.net states, "Drink in the short term. Hold for a few months or even a year but these are usually ready to drink when you get them."

A Few Merlots Can Age

There are some merlots that can age more than 10 years. Regarding merlots that are $25 or more, Cellarnotes.net states, "These wines are likely to improve with age. Depending on the wine, look for five to 12 years of improvement. A few special wines will age much longer." Chateau Petrus, a bordeaux that can sell for hundreds of dollars a bottle, is 100 percent merlot and can age for decades.

Bottom Line

Cheaper merlots are not "age-worthy" and should be drunk within a year. The better, more expensive merlots can be held for about 10 years. This assumes, of course, that the wines are stored properly.

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