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Wine Aging

Wine Aging
Unlike what common folklore may promote, an aged wine is not necessarily better than a young wine, and all wines do not in fact improve with age. The majority of wines, and especially whites, are ready to drink right away. In fact, 90% of the world’s wine is consumed within 2 years of its vintage date. For the most part, there is really no point in waiting for most wines to evolve. Many wines however do need time to smooth out and mellow in order to evolve into a far superior and complex beverage. So the question is, how long should I keep my wine or “cellar” my wine before drinking it? Ultimately all wines, even those that can be aged for several decades, have a timeline and will reach their peak. Wines that are to be matured can be sabotaged through improper storage. Make sure to read our learn piece on “Storing and Serving Wine” to optimize the maturation process of your wine.

There are many components that will determine how long it is appropriate to age a wine for; some
of which include:

Acid
Acidity is a critical component in determining whether a wine will age well. When opened prematurely, wines that are better aged may seem too acidic. Over time, this acidity will decrease, and as long as the wine has sufficient amounts of fruit flavors, it will become balanced with age.

Alcohol
A wine with a high alcohol level may seem balanced in youth, but as it ages, the fruit will diminish, leaving the alcohol levels high. Wines that are out of balance due to high alcohol content will be perceived as hot in the mouth. Ultimately, wines high in alcohol concentration rarely age well.

Water
Grapes with a lower water concentration prior to their harvesting have a longer aging potential. Those berries with thicker skins, grown in a dry climate, with little irrigation, will have lower water concentration, while having a higher ratio of residual sugar.

Effects on the Wine as it Ages
With maturation, a red wine’s dark inky color with fade and become more of a brackish red. Its tannins, once harsh and astringent will ease up and have a softer mouth feel. As the wine matures, a visible sediment will settle in the wine, often having an unpleasant taste. Separating the sediment from the wine, this is one of the reasons it’s important to decant an aged red.

As wine ages, its aroma develops as more complex and multilayered. The interaction of certain phenolic compounds creates the development of a tertiary aroma, also referred to as a “bouquet”. Aldehydes and esters are formed during the oxidation of the alcohol and fruit acids as the wine ages in its bottle. This complex bouquet will have pronounced fruit, floral, mineral, oak, and earthy notes. In addition, the wine will develop a much longer and distinct finish. Each wine has its “peak” period, wherein it is at its most complex, and creates a full and smooth mouth feel. After this period of maturity it will start to decay, its flavors and bouquet will dull, and its acidity will become over pronounced.

 
 
Contents
Appellation d’Origine Controlée
Wine Through The Times
Wine Trivia 7
Fast Wine Facts 3
Grape Harvest
Oh the Horror! Red Wine Stains.
Wine Trivia 6
Grape Growing Problems
Fast Wine Facts 2
Ice Wine
Fast Wine Facts
How Many Grapes
Wine Aromas
Kosher Wine
Wine Trivia 5
When To Send Wine Back
Sherry
Wine Trivia 4
Prohibition
Great French Wine Blight
Port Wines
Wine Trivia 3
Wine Trivia 2
Wine Trivia
Oak Barrels
Sweetness
Sparkling Wine and Champagne
Organic and Biodynamic Wine
Aging Wine
Wine Varietals
Wine Labels
New World Vs Old World Wines
How Terroir Effects Wine
Clarifying Wine with Egg Whites
Tips On Preserving Open Wine
Why Red Wine Makes Me...
The Biology of Tasting Wine
Choosing the Perfect Glassware
Corks vs Plastic Corks
Wine Laws and AVAs in the USA
Tasting Wine
Wine and Food Matching
Buying Wine
Storing and Serving Wine