The process of wine aging is similar to watching people age. While youth give us energy age gives us wisdom. I believe wisdom makes a person more interesting. Sometimes I want energy and sometimes I like wisdom. The actual process is oxidative. With over 2000 components in wine the reaction stemmed by binding oxygen free radicals to form new compounds with different properties, gives complexity. When this happens to the structure, mouth feel, there is a softening affect.
The question I usually get is at what temperature should I keep my cellar? The optimal temperature is 55o F but anywhere from 45o F to 70o F is acceptable. The colder it is the slower the wine will age and it may have the disadvantage of crystalizing tartaric acid crystals which look like broken glass, where at 70o F it speeds up aging quite a bit. What you don’t want is sudden swings in temperature, keep it as even as possible.
The second question is one of humidity. Optimal humidity is 85%. That keeps your corks moist. If you have one of those coolers like Whispercool or some other brand name it usually takes this into account.
There are two points to remember. You should keep the wine on its side or if in a case upside down to keep the wine in touch with the cork. Second, you should keep the wine away from light as ultraviolet will decompose your wine.
The ultimate test is check your wine from time to time and if the cork is pushing out of the bottle the conditions are too hot and if it is getting sucked into the bottle they are too cold.