AGED WINE


  • SUB-TOPICS Of AGED WINE
    • What is Aged Wine?
    • Aromas as Wine Ages
    • Grapes Capable of Aging
    • Other Sub-Topics of Aged Wine

WHAT Is AGED WINE?

AGING WINE Process of Storing a Wine In a Specific Container For a Specific Period of Time to Remove Flavors or to Impart Specific Flavors or to Achieve a Specific Outcome. (Complexity, Smoothness)

  • Wine is a Complexed Combination of Hundreds of Chemicals Compounds That Will Change When They Interact Each Other. (Intricate Reaction Between Acids, Sugars, Alcohols, Esters and Phenolics) When Compounds In Wine React Over Time They Create New Flavors Changing Original Wine Into Something New, More Complex and Subtle.
  • Any Wine Can Be Either Made In a Youthful Style For Relatively Early Drinking or an Aged Style In Which the Wine Will Slowly Age and Show Complexities Over Time.

After the Wine Leaves the Producers Control, Each Bottle Takes On a Different Aging Trajectory.

WINE MATURATION- Refers to Changes In Wine After Fermentation and Before Final Bottling.

  • Vin de Garde- Wine That’s Possesses Proper Attributes to Develop as it Ages and Matures. Wine Must Be Intrinsically Capable of Aging.
  • Vine de L’ Annee- “This Years Wine” Meant to Be Drunk Young and Usually Doesn’t Have Attributes to Age or Mature.
  • QUALITIES IN GRAPES THAT ALLOW WINE TO AGE
    • High Tannins
    • High Acid
    • Quality Grapes
    • Residual Sugar
    • Oak Barrel Aged
    • Thick Skin
    • Extended Lees Contact
    • Quality Vineyard
    • Working With Excellent Genetic Vines
    • Richer Whit Wines Can/ Will Handle a Bit of Aging
    • Not Filtering the Wine
  • WINE & PHILOSOPHY?  What’s the Most Important Quality For a Wine to Age?
    • Is it Tannins, Acidity, Sugar or Something Else?
  • WINE & PHILOSOPHY? Great Vintages For Wines to Drink Now (2-5 Years) Are Not Always the Great Vintages From Wine That Are Meant to Be Aged (10+ Years)?
    • Sometimes the Hot Vintages Are Not the Best For Aging Wines. While They Lead to Wines That Are Ripe and Fruit Forward Early, They Lack the Acidity Which is Beneficial For Long Term Aging.

Wines Have the Greater Potential For Longer Aging When All of the Grape Sugar Has Been Converted to Alcohol, There’s Less of a Possibility For Biological Things to Feed Off the Sugars.

  • PROPER STORAGE THAT ALLOW WINE TO AGE
    • **Refer to “WINE SERVICE/ Storage” For Additional Information.

MICRO-OXIDATION- Process Used by Winemakers to Introduce a Monitored Input of Oxygen Into a Wine In a Controlled Manner to Mimic the Aging Process.

BULK AGING- Refers to Aging a Wine In a Vessel Other Than the Final Bottle. Bulk Aging Can Be Used as a Tool For Letting the Wine Settle Down For a Couple of Weeks Period After Fermentation is Complete. (Most of the Time Done In Car-Boys)

We Want to Cellar Our Wines and Release Them When They’re Ready Because We Don’t Trust You to Cellar it Correctly.

HISTORY Of AGING WINE

HISTORY- As Far Back as Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire Enthusiast Realized That Wine Tasted Different as it Aged. The Problem Was That the Wine Went Bad or Turned to Vinegar Long Before it Could Age.  Wine Kept In a Cask/ Barrel Couldn’t Be Kept  Very Long Without Deteriorating.  Air In the Barrel Would Cause the Wine to Break Down or Become Sour Within a Year of Its Vintage.

  • 100 @Greece/ Rome– Straw Wine Or Dehydrated Grapes Made Into Wine Were Noted For Their Inherent Ability to Last Longer.  These Wines Were Put In Amphorae, Sealed and Aged For a Couple of Years But That Was the Extent of the Aging Wine of the Period.  Aging Wine Was Never a Thing Historically, the Object Back Then Was to Drink the Wine Before it Went Bad.
  • 1500’s  @Mediterranean– Sweet and Higher Alcohol Wines of the Mediterranean (Port/ Madeira) Where Gaining Attention For Their Ability to Age a Few Years.
  • 1600’s  @Germany– Was One of Regions That Started to Successfully Age Their Wine.
    • The Use of Bigger Barrels, the Use of Sulfur, and Their Naturally High Acid Riesling Grapes.
  • 1700’s  @Europe–  The Development of Cork and Glass Bottles Changed the Ability of Wine to Age.
  • 1900’s  @The World–  With Refrigeration and the Ability to Get a Steady, Low Temperature.

PROPER AGING & STORAGE Of WINE Cool, Dark Place, Stable, Consistent, (No Temperature Change) No Direct Sunlight, No Vibrations.

  • Egyptians- Dug Pottery Jugs Into Dirt Floors.
  • Romans- Used Catacombs (Subterranean Cemetery, Built by Ancient Romans)
  • French- Dug Caves Into Mountain Sides.
  • Today- Wine Cellars/ Wine Cabinets/ Wine Refrigerator. (Temperature/ Humidity/ Light Control)

BARREL/ BOTTLE STORAGE

  • Cellar- (English)
  • Cave- (France)
  • Cantina- (Italy)
  • Bodega- (Spain) Refers to Wine Shop, Wine Making Premises, Collection of Wine.
  • Storage Area- Should Be Secure, Cool, Dark, Consistent Temperature.
  • Laying Down- In the Early 1800’s the Practice Became Popular For Bottles Aged In Bins. The Bins Held a Few Dozen Bottles and Where Numbers by Bin Number and Also a Bottle Ticket. (Chain Label Over the Neck of the Bottle)
  • CONTENTIOUS WINE ISSUE!  Wine Gets Too Much Credit For Its Being Able to Age!
    • YESEven Properly Cellared Wine Dating Back Into Last Century Is At Risk of Being Compromise Due to Aging.
    • NOWine With Inherent Qualities For Aging That is Properly Stored Will Age For Decades and Get Better and Better With the Passing of Time.
  • AGED WINE SCALE
    • Fresh– Refers to Wine After Fermentation
    • Young– Wine Just Bottled
    • Aged– Wine Between 5-15 Years
    • Old– Wine Aged Over 20 Years
    • Dead– Wine Somewhere After 30?

Oak Barrel Were First Used Because That was the Most Common and Effective Way to Hold Liquid Before More Modern Vessels Were Introduced. In Time it Became Apparent That Barrels Imparted Good Qualities to Wine.

WHAT HAPPENS To WINE As It AGES

  • Wine is a Complexed Solution of Alcohol, Acids, Phenolic and Flavor Compounds. Wine is a Liquid That’s Constantly Undergoing Changes as it Reacts to Its Different Elements.  Red Wine Lose Their Color, White Wine Gain Color: Both Grapes Move Towards a Brown Hue..  Water Glycosides, Phenolics, Alcohols and Acids Soften, Tannins Connect and Break Down and Drop Out of Solution  Over Time Creating New Combinations With Different Properties. If It’s a Sparkling Wine the Bubbles Diminish.

Wine Doesn’t Age it Transforms.

  • CONTENTIOUS WINE ISSUE! Property Aged Wine is Better In Every Way Than a Young Wine! Is Aged Wine Better Or Does It Become a Different Style of Wine.
    • Aged Wine is Not Necessary Better as Some People Will Lead You To Believe. Aged Wine Takes On a New Life of it Own, and Become Aged and a Different Style of Wine. New Tertiary Characteristics Come Forward, the Aroma, Flavors and Structure of an Aged Wine Are Something to be Appreciated and Aren’t to Every Ones Palate. Before Blindly Starting a Cellaring Program For a Wine the Bottles Owner Must Realize if  That Style of Aged Wine is Right For Their Palate and Do You Like It.
  • DEMYSTIFYING PROCEDURE~ ~Buy a Case of the Same Wine and Drink One Bottle a Year For 12 Years.~
    • Drinking the Some Wine Over a Extended Period of Time Can Be a Multi-Benifitial Experiment, For Both Your Palate and Your Patience.

AROMAS As WINE AGES

PRIMARY AROMAS- Refers to Scents In the Wine That Are Characteristic of the Grape Varietal and are Not Added by the Influence of Secondary Sources.

  • Primary Flavors In Wine Are Attributed to Interactions Between Esters, Alcohols and Acids.
  • To Enhance Primary Aromas of a Varietal Fermentation In Stainless Steel, Concrete
    or Neutral Oak Barrel is Suggested.
  • Examples– Fruit, Earthy, Petrol(Is Inherent to the Grape, But Can Also Be a Tertiary Flavor That Can Develop In a Bottle Over Time.)

SECONDARY/ EXTERNAL AROMAS- Fragrances In the Wine That Are Introduced by the Wine-Making Process, from Secondary Sources.

  • Examples– Fermentation, Yeast, Ethel, Lees, Acetate, Cream, Esters, Barrels, Yogurt

TERTIARY AROMAS- Scents That Develop Over Time from the Aging/ Maturation Process. As Wine Ages, Fruit Diminishes and Other Characteristics Come Forward From Bottle or Barrel Aging.

  • Examples– Leather, Tar, Cigar, Earthiness, Tobacco, Camomile

POST TERTIARY AROMAS- Scents That Develops Over Decades of Aging After Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Aromas Have All Died Off.

  • Examples– Beef Broth

**Refer to “WINE EVALUATION/ Assessing Age” For Additional Information.


OAK BARREL AGING

BARREL MATURATION- Storing Fermented Wine In Barrels to Let Wine Evolve While Imparting Oak Flavors.

  • Oak Barrel Aging Add Flavor Compounds.
  • Oak Barrel Aging Allows a Slow Ingress of Oxygen, Which Makes Wines Taste Smoother and Less Astringent.
  • Provides a Perfect Environment For Certain Metabolic Reactions and Chemical Processed to Occur.
  • Barrels Allow Slight Oxidation of Wine Over Time as Wood is Porous and Permeable to Gas. During Oak Barrel Aging, Tannins, Compounds and Flavors Interact, Leaching Out Into the Wine Adding Structure and Complexity to the Wine. Oak Barrels Have Finite Amount of Volatile Compounds and Non-Volatile Polyphenols to Contribute to Wine Over Life of Barrel. Wines Ability to Extract Flavors, Body, Tannin, From the Oak Barrel Decreases Greatly After First Barrel “1st. Fill”. Blending Oaked Wines Together to Get a Percentage of Oaked Used. A Single Bottle of Wine Aged In Oak Can Be a Blend of Two Different Barrel’s Aged Separately In Different Aged Oak Barrels and Blended Together as a Final Percentage.
    • Example– A Merlot Aged in 50% New Oak is Made by Blending 50% Un-Oaked Wine With 50% Wine That Has Been Aged In 100% New Oak Barrel.
  • Toasted Head- Toasting the Top and Bottom of Barrels as Opposed to Just Sides.
  • Oak Barrel Aging is a Style and a Philosophy. Stylistically Some Wines Call Out For Oak While Other Wines You Don’t Want Any Oak. Large/ Small Barrels, Old/ New Oak, Grain Size, to Toast or Not to Toast a Barrel Are All Things That Must Be Contemplated Before Commencing Oak Aging Program. Think of the Different Types of Barrels and Barrel Treatment as a Spice Rack for the Wine-Making. Using Oak on Wine is a Trial and Error Thing That All of the Proficient Wine Makers Have Mastered Over Time.
  • Barrel Program- Term Used to Describe What Kind of Barrels, Treatment of Barrels and the Duration In Which the Wine Was Aged.

MATURATION- Process Wine Goes Through From the End of Fermentation to the Time of Drinking, Period In Which Wine Evolves Into a State of Readiness.

BOTTLE MATURATION- Time or Maturing the Wine Spends In Bottle as Opposed to Aging In a Tank or In a Barrel.

**Refer to “CONTAINERS/ Oak Barrels” For Additional Information.

  • AGING OPTIONS
    • Bottle After Fermentation
    • Sit On Lees
    • Aging in Inert Container/ Aging In Oak Barrel
    • Cast Aging(In Oak In Order to Impart Oak Flavors)
    • Barrel Maturation
    • Fume Blanc= Oak Aging Sauvignon Blanc

GRAPES CAPABLE Of AGING

  • RED GRAPES CAPABLE OF AGING
    • Aglianico (to-15 Years)         Cabernet Sauvignon(to-20 Years)
    • Merlot (to-15 Years)               Nebbiolo (to-20 Years)
    • Pinot Noir (to-10 Years)       Syrah (to-15 Years)
    • Sangiovese (to-10 Years)      Sagrantino (to-20 Years)
    • Tempranillo (to-10 Years)   Touriga National (to-20 Years)
    • Xinomavro (to-10 Years)      Zinfandel (to-6 Years)
  • RED WINES THAT SEE NEW OAK
    • Australia Shiraz                Bordeaux Blends        
    • Burgundy Grand Cru      Napa Cabs
    • Priorat                                  Rioja Tempranillo
    • Super Tuscans
  • WHITE GRAPES CAPABLE OF AGING
    • Albarino (to- ? Years)                   Godello (to-20 Years)
    • Chardonnay (to-6 Years)            Chenin Blanc (to-20 Years)
    • Furmint (to-20 Years)                  Malvasia (to-6 Years)
    • Pedro Ximenez (to-20 Years)   Xarel-lo (to-20 Years)
    • Pinot Gris (to-10 Years)               Riesling (to-15 Years)
    • Botrytis Wine (to-25 Years)
  • WHITE WINES THAT SEE NEW OAK
    • Chardonnay(California)        Bordeaux Whites
      (Cinnamon, Nut-Meg, Vanilla, Clove, Baking Spice, Oak, Smoke)

You Can’t Fake Dust On Bottles.

  • **Refer to “WINE EVALUATION/ Wine Age” For Additional Information.

OTHER TOPICS Of AGING WINE

PREMATURE OXIDATION

  • Premature Oxidation is AKA=”Premox” or Just “Pox” In the Wine World.
  • Flaw That Happens In White Wines When Presumably Ageworthy Wine Which Was Stored Properly and Thought to Be In Excellent Condition is Found to Be Oxidized and Undrinkable. Most Whites Are Susceptible to Oxidation and is Relatively Common From 10 Years On But This Premature Oxidation Effects Which After a Few Years.  A Greater Occurrence of Premature Oxidation is Found In  Burgundy But Other Instances Have Been Found World Wide and Are Said to Be Random and the Exact Cause Remains Unclear.
    • Hypotheses– Although There is No Definitive Explanation For Premox There is a Few Theories Going Around the Wine World.
      • Faulty Corks
      • The Modern Movement of Using Less or Insufficient Sulfur Dioxide/ So2 In Wines.

UNDERWATER BOTTLE AGING Process of Aging Wine In an Underwater Environment.

  • ADVANTAGES– Under Water There’s Little to No Light, No Noises, No Vibrations, the Temperature and Atmospheric Pressure is Constant.

ATYPICAL AGING ATA.- Phenomenon Found In Cool Weather Growing Areas Where Wine Loses its Varietal Characteristics Early, Associated With Insufficient Nitrogen In the Vine.

VINO-NECROPHILIA– Someone Who’s Likes or is Attracted to Dead Wine.

Wine is a Living Thing, It’s Born, Goes Through Youth, Maturity, Old Age and Death.



**Refer to “BIBLIOGRAPHY/ Sources” For Details On Scholarly Works Referenced.