“Hi, Karen. I've read that wine that is shipped should "rest" for a month to settle down, even if it is ready to drink. My limited experimentation with California Pinot Noir suggests that wine is indeed better when rested, but after two months. Am I imagining things, or is there truth to this rule of thumb?” –Victor N. (San Francisco, CA)

Hi Victor:  Great question. Especially since, these days, we’re all inclined to grab a corkscrew the minute wine arrives on our doorsteps. The helpfulness of “resting” depends on two things. 1) Was the wine just recently bottled? After being bottled, wines often go into a kind of “dumb stage” where they taste very muted. A wine that’s just been shipped only adds to the chances that the wine’s flavors are shut down. Most wineries post a “bottled on” date on the tech sheet for the wine and you can find that on the winery’s website. 2) What type of wine is it? You mention pinot noir, and pinot is known to be temperamental. Of all wines, I’d worry about pinot noir, sangiovese, nebbiolo and grenache the most. I don’t have any scientific evidence to support this by the way. Just experience. Lastly, just how long should you let a wine rest if you think it will benefit from resting? Two months (as you mention) is too much delayed gratification for me. I’ve heard many winemakers mention two weeks. That seems like a safe bet. Happy tasting!  –Karen

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