1981 Jordan Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon next to decanter with red wine and glass with red wine

Five Tips for Aging a Cabernet Sauvignon to Perfection

A well-crafted Cabernet Sauvignon continues to develop over time. The wine’s personality evolves in a way that leads to increased aromatic complexity and texture. When stored properly, balanced Cabernet Sauvignon can be enjoyed for decades. Here are five tips for aging and storing red wine to ensure your patience is rewarded when you uncork that older wine you’ve been saving.

Select a cellarworthy wine that ages well

Does Cabernet Sauvignon age well? How long a red wine ages gracefully depends on two key factors: tannin and acid. Tannins are those astringent compounds derived from both the grape and the oak barrel in which the wine is aged. Over time, these compounds soften, allowing different aromas and flavors to emerge. Acid in the wine acts as a natural preservative and refers to the natural citric acid level evident in the grapes at the time of harvest. The Jordan winemaking team works diligently to pick cabernet sauvignon and other Bordeaux grape varieties (merlot, petit verdot and malbec) at lower-than-average sugar levels in order to achieve an acid balance that will create a Cabernet Sauvignon built to age for decades.


Consider wine aging time frame

How long to age Cabernet Sauvignon wine before opening it? It depends greatly on the style and quality of the wine. Top Cabernet Sauvignons aged in fine oak and crafted with balance can be cellared for several years, and enjoy the lasting aromatic and flavor influences of bottle age. Though many serious collectors enjoy filling their cellars with wines built to last, most Napa and Sonoma Cabernets are consumed within 1-5 years of their release. If you plan on aging red wine, be sure to take into consideration that different styles of red wine enjoy different aging potential. For example, a bottle of Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon will rest comfortably and age beautifully for a minimum of 7-10 years and continue to bring pleasure to wine collectors even after 20 years of aging in bottle. Many Russian River Valley Pinot Noirs might enjoy peak drinkability sooner at about 3-5 years.

Find the right environment for storing wine

To build a basic cellar for storing wine, designate a cool, not-too-damp, not-too-dry area in your home that is out of direct sunlight and stocked with simple wine shelves. When considering how to store Cabernet Sauvignon, avoid places like the kitchen, laundry room or boiler room, where hot temperatures and excessive vibration could negatively affect both red and white wines. Most importantly, find a place where the overall temperature is least likely to fluctuate—the key to successful wine storage is an environment wherein the wine can rest quietly and undisturbed at an even, cool temperature. The best locations are usually under a bed, on the floor in a coat closet or in a temperature-controlled basement. The ideal environment for storing Cabernet Sauvignon and other red wines maintains a consistent humidity and has a temperature of 45-65 degrees (55 degrees is optimal). Purchasing a wine cooler with temperature and humidity controls (Wine Enthusiast has a great shopping guide) helps to achieve the best wine storage conditions for cellaring your entire collection.

Store your wine bottles lying down

How wine bottles are stored is vital to their longevity. Store Cabernet Sauvignon bottles on their sides to ensure the wine rests against its cork. This practice creates a liquid barrier between the wine and the cork and helps to prevent the cork from drying out. Aging wine in a location with a consistent humidity of 50-80 percent will also help to keep the corks inside resting bottles from becoming too dry.

Wine bottle sizes matter

The size of a wine bottle affects the Cabernet Sauvignon aging process and thus the cellaring potential. Magnums and other large-format bottles enjoy an increased volume of wine resting in its glass vessel. This offers more stability from outside forces, such as heat and light, causing the evolution of flavors that take place during aging to be slowed down. Jordan has a “find a wine” drop-down menu allows you to search by magnum, double magnum and imperial big bottle sizes.

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About the Author

Born and raised in rural Kansas, Lisa Mattson fell in love with wine during college in South Florida and worked for a wine magazine before moving to Northern California. She spent almost a decade working as a writer, marketing director and photographer/videographer for Jordan Winery and now serves as a hospitality design and marketing consultant for several wineries, including Jordan. She also designs succulent gardens under the name Sonoma Succulents. When she’s not eating and sipping her way through Sonoma County in the summer and Baja California Sur in the winter, she travels the world with her husband in search of new succulents, ethnic foods, snorkeling spots and tiki bars.

    • Claire Masters
    • June 30, 2021

    I appreciate your tip about how wine cellars should always be out of direct sunlight. My husband really likes fine wine so he’s planning on building a wine cellar at our house. I’ve looked it up and I saw that there are consultants I could hire so I can build the perfect wine cellar so I hope I find one in the next few months.

    • Aww20
    • February 27, 2021

    Nicely written article!! Keep up the good work!

  1. Pingback: Jordan Library Trust Cabernet Sauvignon | Old Wines for Sale

    • Ash @ The Delightful Home
    • January 27, 2017

    Such great information! It can be tempting to cellar wines “forever” or save them for longer than we should.

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