A bottling\u2019s ability to stand the test of time has long been considered a mark of quality, but that might not be the case for every wine or even every region.\r\n\r\nWe\u2019ve never had to question the ageability of wines from Old World regions like France and Italy\u2014we already know the answer. Wineries throughout these countries date back generations, and top vintages of, say, Bordeaux or Barolo can last for decades; we have the pleasure and ability to taste such older bottlings as proof of their prowess. Can New World wines age the same way? More importantly, should they even be held to the same standard?\r\n\r\nGiven the relative youth of many New World producers, the question of ageability can be difficult to answer. Additionally, some of these wines come from warmer climates and are structurally different, with a riper fruit profile and perhaps lower acidity and higher alcohol. While these attributes can make the wines seem more accessible and charming in their youth, they might also impact their longevity. Does this mean that they are lesser wines? Or are they just different?\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nI\u2019ve sampled numerous Washington wines from the 1970s, \u201980s and \u201990s. In most cases, they have showed remarkably well. There\u2019s no doubt in my mind that, from the right producers and vintages, wines from Washington and other New World regions can possess that magic balance of fruit and structure that will allow them to age gracefully for decades. But I\u2019m less convinced that it matters in order for them to be considered \u201cgreat.\u201d\r\n\r\nWe like to compare New World pours against the Old World pillars because, quite frankly, they have been the measuring stick. And yes, there\u2019s something to be said for a wine that can mature for decades. But isn\u2019t there also a place for those that are outrageously delicious for, say, five, 10 or 15 years, and then fade?\r\n\r\nTo me, great wines and wine regions present something different, something that isn\u2019t quite replicated anywhere else. It could be an aroma, flavor, concentration or texture. It could be a variety or style. It could be the wine\u2019s structure, and, yes, maybe even its longevity. Or, ultimately, some perfect combination of all of these things. That uniqueness is what makes a particular wine great.\r\n\r\nEach world-class region brings something different to the table. Rather than get caught up in comparisons, why not simply embrace and celebrate the differences. After all, aren\u2019t these differences part of what makes wine so fascinating and fun?