Ageing wine, Why and When you should

May 11, 2021

an abundance of black wine bottles been aged filled with dust and cobwebs

For technical Tuesday this week we're taking a look at ageing wine, more specifically why and when you should.

Wine ageing refers to changes in the composition of a wine after bottling in the absence of oxygen, in the barrel you would more likely hear the term ‘maturation’.

 The idea of ageing wines is nothing new. The ancient Greeks and Romans were aware of the potential of aged wines.

 Most people think that aged wine instantly means an improved wine. However, ageing has a vastly different effect on different wines. An aged wine will certainly be different but not necessarily better. Experts estimate that 90% of wine produced is intended to be consumed within a year of production, and 99% within 5 years. It is highly probable that more wine is consumed too old than too young. This is in part due to the prevalence of mass-manufactured wines accounting for most of the worlds market.

 

 Ageing a wine will mellow the acidity and tannin structure so wines with high acidity and high levels of phenolics are more likely to age well. This is true for red and white wines. The outcome of ageing is a reduction in astringency and a smoother softer taste.

 

 When looking to buy an aged wine,  provenance plays a vital role. The less your wine has been moved around, exposed to light and heat the better. Exposure to varying temperatures and light will increase the chances of an oxidised wine, hence why we cellar our wines.

a dozen wine bottles on an ageing rack

 




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