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If you open a bottle of a young red wine and leave a half-full bottle without refrigeration, chances are it’ll be oxidized by Day 3.

To keep reds a bit longer, refrigerate leftovers. They’ll be fine for a few extra days, allowing them to warm up a bit before retrying. Cold slows down chemical reactions; heat speeds them up.

Most of today’s red wines aren’t made for long aging. Oxidation is the prime reason. Wines with high acid and low pH withstand the ravages of oxidation better than most. Some even improve and are candidates to age for years in a cellar.

This topic is complex and even challenging to wine scientists around the world. Winemakers often disagree about what’s at play here.

In the last 11 years, I have discussed this with winemakers and scientists and have done much informal analysis leading to a personal theory that involves a new idea about aging that no one else, to my knowledge, has ever propounded.

In 40 years evaluating wines, the one thing I’m proudest of is consistently choosing wines with great aging potential. I can count on one hand the number of wines that we aged without success.

But it’s not guesswork. I cheat. I analyze wines for their chemistry. High acid and low pH are two vital issues for all wines to age well. This is well known. Low-acid, high-pH wines generally are doomed to die young. Another key: wines that taste great when they’re young frequently are not for long aging.

My latest theory, I believe, adds a parameter to the aging argument that science has yet to prove: Wines with rotundone age better than most.

Rotundone is a naturally occurring chemical that’s rare in wines but seems to either block or mask oxidation. When present, it can benefit red wines by giving them a sort of insurance policy against premature aging.

Rotundone is created in certain grapes, from certain cold regions, and especially in cool-to-cold vintages. Simply put, any red wine that smells like it has both black pepper and violets in its aroma probably has rotundone, in varying concentrations.

It seems more common in syrah, grenache, gamay noir and a few other red wines. I have only occasionally seen it in pinot noir and only once in cabernet sauvignon (from British Columbia.)

I was one of the first to write about rotundone (2007). It was identified in 2006 by the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) after much costly research. Since then I have sought examples to prove my theory that rotundone, especially in large amounts, either blocks or masks oxidation and assists wines in their aging.

I have discussed this theory with key scientists at the AWRI. Most suspect my thesis is accurate, but because the research is so expensive, they haven’t investigated it.

California winemakers generally agree with the idea, including some star winemakers such as David Ramey of Healdsburg. He suggests there is something to the idea that black, peppery wines resist deterioration.

I have had several wines that display rotundone’s “black pepper and violets” aroma. They can be more evident in the red wines of France’s northern Rhône, reds from Australia’s cold Victorian highlands and in syrahs from parts of New Zealand.

In some wines, this element is prized. The most distinctive French versions (such as Cornas and Côte-Rôtie) often sell for $100 to $300 a bottle.

One of the world’s best syrahs to display this unique characteristic is from Sonoma County’s Ramey. His 2014 Ramey Syrah from the Rodgers Creek Vineyard in the Petaluma Gap ($65) is simply remarkable.

The black pepper/violet aroma is varietal in ways you almost never see in wines this reasonably priced. It’s in the same league as Rhône versions that sell for $250 to $300 per bottle. And it’s better three days after it is opened.

Other wines that displays this rarely seen element:

2014 Dutton Goldfield Syrah, Russian River Valley, ($50): Less peppery, with a lot of blackberry, cherry pie, bacon and elements of pepper and violets. duttongoldfield.com

2016 Blaufrankish (a red Germanic grape) from small Left Foot Charley Winery in Michigan: The winery’s 2017 version of winemaker Bryan Ulbrich’s Old Mission Reserve will be released in six months at $36. To order this amazing wine, see the websiteleftfootcharley.com Shirazes from Australia’s Mount Langi Ghiran often are loaded with pepper.

The 2014 and 2015 Trinity Hill Syrahs (about $36) from Hawke’s Bay: Rotundone appears regularly in the syrahs of New Zealand, notably those from Hawke’s Bay and Martinborough, two north island regions that now produced some startling reds.

Noiret: This East Coast grape variety developed at Cornell University specifically for cold climates has consistently produced wines with a strong pepper/violet aroma. Most of it is from New York and other upper-continental areas.

Wines of the Week: Two inexpensive red wines from Spain that both usually have rotundone regardless of vintage:

Bodegas Borsao Garnacha, “Tres Picos,” Aragon ($16): Grenache from Spain occasionally makes peppery-scented wines, and this long-time favorite bargain often is seen closer to $12. Lots of fruit here and some aging potential (2 to 3 years). Pepper is mild.

Las Rocas Garnacha, Calatayud ($12): Slightly more rustic and with a bit less generous fruit, the wine still delivers excellent balance and some pepper.

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