Yes! Wine is stored in sealed bottles for a reason - to protect it from oxygen. If it’s exposed to too much air, the wine will taste old and nutty, without much personality. Eventually, it will even turn into vinegar. However, exposing wine to the right amount of oxygen can make it seem more expressive, smoother, and enjoyable. Typically, younger, denser, more concentrated wines can benefit from decanting and glass swirling, while older, more delicate wines will fade much quicker after opening. The optimum length of aeration time greatly depends on the wine - and the preference of the person drinking it. In general though, most wines are best two to three hours after you open them, and if stored properly, can last a couple of days. You will probably notice the flavors starting to fade by the next day though.
What is residual sugar?
Residual sugar, or RS for short, refers to any natural grape sugars that are leftover after fermentation ends. Before fermentation, the wine grape juice is intensely sweet, but as the yeast eats upon the sugar in fermentation (and produces CO2 gas and alcohol), the sugar content greatly decreases. In the end, more residual sugar will make a wine sweet, while the absence of residual sugar will make a dry wine.
What's the best temperature for serving wine?
As a general rule of thumb, red wines should be served at 65 degrees Fahrenheit, whites and roses at 55 degrees, and champagne and other sparkling wines at 45 degrees.
Originally published in our Gold Wine Club's The Wine Press newsletter, Derby Wine Estates edition.