In our Millesima Tips series we have discussed and discovered the vine cycle and how wine is matured after fermentation. Now we’ll discuss the penultimate step before drinking wine, aging them.
Aging wine? Why?
Wine is a living product. As soon as the cork, or screwcap, is put on the bottle the wine is in a constant state of change. Some wines reveal their finest qualities after twenty or more years. Time stimulates the development of powerful aromas, soften a wine’s tannic structure and better integrate flavors.
Picking & choosing
Rose wines are typically made to drink within the year, and red, white and sparkling wines are more commonly kept for aging.* High-quality wines are rarely meant to be opened right away. Red wines, in general, tend to develop a yellow-orange tint on the rim of a glass after several years. White wines don’t have the red pigment (anthocyanin) that red wines do. In the way that red wines become lighter over time, white wines become darker (in some cases opaque). They become oxidized, and turn into a yellow-brown color. Sweet wines and their increased sugar content allow them to age longer than a typical white wine.
How to store a wine?
Part of the experience of drinking older wine, is that immediately transports you through history. Drinking older vintages is unforgettable. Many things can occur over the period of 20-30 years. The slightest change in the bottle’s surroundings can affect a wine.
Unfortunately, purchasing wine is just as important as the way that you choose to protect it. If a wine is poorly protected, the opportunity to drink a wine that has aged beautifully can be ruined. A few tips to keep your wines safe and protected:
- Temperatures should be cool and constant 10-15 C
- Store horizontally to keep the wine in contact with the cork
- Avoid kitchens
- Avoid sunlight
- Avoid vibrations
Any changes in temperature can rapidly increase the aging process for a wine. Wine that should be drinkable in 20 years, can turn quickly. Storing wine on its side creates a barrier for excess oxygen to enter the bottle. Excess oxygen is harmful to the aging of wine. Sunlight is also another factor that can damage a wine. Once the grapes have been harvested, heat and sunlight are no longer friends to wine. Vibrations also disturb wine’s aging process. There are many different places that fit these requirements. To learn about how to choose a wine cellar, stay tuned for the next edition of our Millesima Tips series.