Most people say that the older the wine gets, the better it becomes. This is not always the case. In fact, there are a number of factors, both natural and man-made, that can affect a wine’s flavour and quality.
If you have been keeping wine for a long time and people keep on complimenting you on its quality, you might want to read this article.
Two Ways of Ageing Wine
There are technically two ways to age wine before consuming them. It can be done by ageing it in the bottle and by ageing it in the cask.
How Ageing in the Bottle Works
In the bottle, ageing happens as a result of oxygenation as well as the evaporation of some of the wine’s alcohol. Ageing in the bottle helps the wine to reach a balance of acidity and tannins.
According to wine experts, ageing in the bottle should be done in a dark and cool environment. Also, it should be kept in a horizontal position. If you want the ageing process to happen the right way, you should never store the wine upright.
How Ageing in the Cask Works
If you want a quicker and more effective way of ageing wine, ageing in the cask is the way to go. In this method, you will have your wine transported and kept in wooden barrels made from oak or chestnut trees.
Temperature can play a significant role in the ageing process of wine. The ideal temperature for wine ageing is between 55 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature is too low, the ageing process will take too long. If the temperature is too high, the ageing process will happen too fast.
Factors That Will Help Wine Age Gracefully
Here is a list of some factors that will help your wine age gracefully.
- Residual Sugar – If the wine has too much sugar, the ageing process will be slowed down. This component of a wine is often overlooked because of the popularity of aging dry wines. As it turns out, the longest lived wines tend to be sweet wines including Port, Sauternes, and Riesling.
- Acidity – We have already discussed how tannins can affect the way your wine ages in the previous section. There is another component called acidity that can affect the colour, aroma and taste of your wine. Wines with higher acidity tend to last longer. As a wine ages it slowly loses its acidity and flattens out, so therefore a wine that starts out with lower acidity will not last as long.
- Tannins – Tannin acts as a structural component and red wines with higher tannins tend to age better than those wines with a lower level of tannins. Tannins come from contact to the pips and skins of the grapes during wine making.
- Alcohol – Generally speaking, the lower the alcohol level in a non-fortified wine the longer it will last. If the alcohol content is too low, the wine will start to develop a sour taste as it ages.
When you are ageing your wine, you should take precautions to prevent the wine from becoming oxidised. This can be slowed down by using a bottle closure that is made from natural materials such as cork.
Common Aging Wine Vessels
There are various types of vessels used for storing wine and for ageing wine. Here are some of the most commonly used ones:
Barrels – Sometimes, people use barrels to age wine. There are two types of barrels used in wine ageing. Barrels are made from cypress and oak. The oak barrels are said to be better than the cypress ones.
Clay Jars – Clay jars are used in certain regions of the world to age wine. They are mostly used in the United States, Italy and Greece.
Stainless Steel – If you want to age the wine in your cellar, you can use stainless steel containers. Just make sure that you clean them well before using them.
Wooden Casks – lf you are using wooden casks, you should make sure that it is made from a heavy-duty type of oak like the American white oak or the French cooper.
Expert Tip: Whichever ageing method you are using, ensure that the wines are stored in a dark, cool, and relatively humid environment. This is very important in order to prevent the wine from oxidising.
Ageing wine is a complex process that requires a lot of care, patience and knowledge. If you want to get the best out of your wine, you should make sure that you follow the instructions provided in this article.
Cru Wine offers fine wine and spirit for all wine enthusiasts and wine collectors in the UK. Let us help you find the perfect aged wine that gives you a great drinking experience wherever you are in the world. Check out our wine collection today!