Do all wines get better with age?
Complexities aside, the answer is no. The ever-evolving nature of wine depends on what goes into a bottle– and what goes into a bottle is dictated by the quality of grapes.
The main elements of grapes are sugar, acid, and phenolics (tannins, which are mainly found in red grapes from the stems, seeds, and skins). The ripeness of grapes dictates acid and tannin levels. Perfectly ripe grapes yield appropriate acidity, which transfers vibrance and freshness to the wine. Grapes considered “too ripe” generally yield lower acid and produce a “flatter” wine, resulting in bitterness and sourness.
Tannins give the wine structure, depth, and mouthfeel. They can also add complexity to the wine during the aging process. For a wine to benefit the most from aging, it must contain the right amount of acid and tannins. It should also be temperature-controlled at 50-55°F during the process.