I use to collect wine before I realized how much more I liked a good beer. Perhaps there is something to learn from analyzing what happens as a wine ages.
Regardless of what is thought by the masses, only very small percentage of wine is actually suitable for aging and the majority of wine produces is best when fresh.
In the wine world the bottles that are generally thought to have the best potential for aging have higher levels of extract, are those reds with high levels of polyphenols (such as tannins), and are those whites with lower pH. Oak aging can add additional phenols that benefit aging. Filtering and fining can remove some of these needed compounds.
Changes occur due to the complex chemical reactions of the phenolic compounds of the wine. In processes that begin during fermentation and continue after bottling, these compounds bind together and aggregate. Eventually these particles reach a certain size where they are too large to stay suspended in the solution and precipitate out. The presence of visible sediment in a bottle will usually indicate a mature wine. The resulting wine, with this loss of tannins and pigment, will have a paler color and taste softer, less astringent. Additionaly, at this time acids are combining with alcohols in complex arrays to form esters. Other chemical processes that occur during aging include the hydrolysis of flavor precursors which detach themselves from glucose molecules and introduce new flavor notes in the older wine and Aldehydes become oxidized.