Last weekend I was visiting my boyfriend’s family in Wisconsin. As a parting gift, his dad gave us a bottle of wine that had been sculpturally tipped atop a CD collection for a few decades.

I don’t know if this will be any good, he told us. It’s from 1978.

My eyes lit up, remembering stories of rare and expensive vintages. Doesn’t all wine get better with age? I asked.

Apparently not. The wine that we buy most commonly is made to be drunk within a few years at most, if not immediately. Other wine truths that I took as gospel are similarly misleading. Such as: white wine shouldn’t be served directly from the refrigerator. It’s mean to be served cooler than reds, but not cold. And when we say that red wine should be served at room temperature, apparently this doesn’t mean the temperature in your kitchen, but the temperature in your wine cellar. Ya know, that thing where you store all of your rare and expensive vintages.

But back to the bottle at hand: I googled “Does all red wine get better with age?” Yahoo helpfully provided this response: “Sorry, most wines do not improve with age. The most common ones that would age are the big bold and assertive reds — like Cabernet Sauvignon.” The 1978? A Cabernet Sauvignon. Commence the snobbish drinking party.