“Wait, you’re saying that my wine can get even better?!” Well, yes, in some circumstances your wine can get better! As the old saying goes, some things get better with age. This is true for a small variety of wines. Some wine can be aged from five to ten years, and some even 20 years or more! So, how do we begin aging our wine?
Well, let’s find out!
The Wine-Aging Process
The wine aging process is complex and requires lots of patience. The last thing you want to do is jump the gun and open a bottle that isn’t yet at its prime.
A complex chemical reaction happens within your treasured bottle of wine throughout the aging process. A combination of sugars, acids and phenolic compounds react with one another, resulting in a wine that offers an enhanced flavour, aroma, colour, and balanced feeling in your mouth!
Basics to Aging Wine
There are a few things to keep in mind if you choose to age a bottle of wine.
First and foremost, you can only age certain types of wine, which we will cover in more detail later on. Secondly, you need to have the right storage environment to age your wine. You should purchase (or make, if you’re crafty and good with DIY projects) a sturdy and strong wine rack. This rack will hold them perfectly in place – on their side – throughout the aging process.
The room that you choose to age your wine should be quite dim, if not completely dark. A closet, cupboard, pantry or spare room in a basement can make a great place to store your wine. It should also have an average temperature between 55 to 65°F and a humidity of 70%.
If the temperature is too warm or the humidity is too high, this can speed along the oxidization process and cause the wine to age prematurely and most often, spoil.
Speaking of which, all wines have a small window where they are at their peak. If you miss this window, chances are the wine will spoil and all of your patience will have been for nothing. Although, there are a few neat things you can do with spoiled, leftover wine around the house.
How do you know when this window is? Speak with your tour guide or sommelier during your next wine tour when you purchase a bottle to age!
Which Wines to Age?
Some wines just aren’t meant for aging. Fortunately for you, these next wines are!
1-3 years: box wine, gamay, primitiva, and zweigelt
3-5 years: zinfandel, new-world merlot, pinot noir, and petite syrah
5-10 years: malbec, cabernet franc, syrah, carmenere, and chianti
10-20 years: tempranillo, sagrantino, tanmat, nebbiolo, and cabernet sauvignon
1-3 years: cava, moscato, pinot grigio, pinot gris, prosecco, and dry riesling
3-5 years: oaked chardonnay, oaked sauvignon blanc, New York riesling, and fiano
5-10 years: muscat, burgundy-oaked chardonnay, petit manseng, and white Bordeaux
10-20 years: ice wine, chablis, late harvest riesling, rutherglen muscat, and sauternes
Keep in mind that these are just guidelines. The varietal doesn’t always matter when it comes to aging a wine. Make sure to taste the wines you’re purchasing when visiting the winery. If the wine that you’re tasting needs to be poured through an aerator before entering your glass, or if the wine doesn’t taste well-balanced at first sip, there’s a good chance this wine needs some time to age. Always ask your guide or the person attending the wine bar if you’re not sure!
Now that you know the basics to aging wine, why not try it out for yourself? Book a Niagara wine tour today to find your next wine(s) to age, and learn all about how to properly age them from the experts on the tour! What better way to learn about local wine than with Niagara Vintage Wine Tours, the #1 rated Niagara wine tour company on TripAdvisor.