There are two common misconceptions about average quality wine:
• It will improve with age
• If it doesn’t, I can always cook with it
It will improve with age?
It won’t. There is nothing in this world that will improve a bad wine. You can store a poor quality wine for a hundred years under ideal conditions and it will still be a poor quality wine. You can most certainly ruin a great wine by storing it the wrong way, but you will never improve a poor wine by storing it under ideal conditions.
I can always cook with it.
Again, this is wrong. Heating a poor wine a few degrees will not magically alter its chemical properties. The same off-flavors, the same bitter tastes and the same bad nose will be transferred to your food. The only thing you’ll do to your cooking with a bottle of poor quality wine will be to ruin a good meal.
Things to keep in mind:
A wine cellar is not a wine hospital. When your wine is ruined it’s too late. The best and the only cure is prevention.
The quality of the wine in the first place
Good wine storage procedures with regards to placement, temperature, and humidity, protect your wines’ health. They protect your investment and they greatly add to your enjoyment of a great bottle of wine.
Summary: Start with a good wine, store it properly and you’ll end up with a great wine.