The Art of Aging

Would you believe that wine purist state that only one percent of all the wine produced anywhere in the world is created to be aged? This means that the remaining ninety-nine percent of wines should be drunk at least within five years or immediately—good news! Don't become confused by this statistic. What this translates to is that wine can be stored for short periods of time if done so precisely. Rather, wine should not be purposefully aged or else you will have a bitter liquid.

A bottle of wine starts deteriorating from the time that you open it. Wines that can be aged require a skillful hand at maturing it. The art of aging wine and properly storing it is quite an undertaking. Aging wine requires storing it under controlled conditions.

Storing Wine

The pièce de résistance when tasting a perfectly aged wine is that its flavors and textures are beyond a palate's experience. This would not have occurred were it not stored and aged in a fully climate controlled venue, such as Belmont Wine Storage in Hayward, California

It is vitally important to store wine so as not to diminish it during the aging process. For this reason, there are several techniques that should be followed for a successful texture and typicity. To begin the storage process, you must start with the right temperature. The common temperature on each grape variety remains around 55° with a humidity factor of 70% and the absence of direct light whether solar or artificial. This is why aged wine, whether your taste lies in red or white, is so revered at auction sites and in the best wine cellars around the world.

How Wine Ages

The main chemicals in creating great cellared wine centers around tannins, esters, and phenolic compounds. If these ingredients are not married well, then your aged wine will not survive. Wine experts and master sommeliers believe that luck helps to play an important role in a well-aged wine. Aging wine is also called "cellaring."

As we have just discussed, there are key elements needed to bring wine to aged perfection in wine storage: darkness, humidity, temperature/stability, ventilation (free from any permeating odors), and acidity.

With modern technology, wine connoisseurs have the option to store wines in their homes with a dedicated wine cellar or at a professional storage facility. Professional offsite facilities provide wine storage lockers and provide services of the product by the producer extended from production to storage and final sale.

Wines that have a high acidity level will store longer and better. When wine ages, it slowly loses its acidity and begins to taste flat. If a wine that you want to store starts off with low acidity, then you already know that it will not last long.

Selecting The Right Wine

Success in cellaring wine starts with selecting the right wines. Again, the aging potential of wines varies based on acidity levels as is the case with white wines, even though red wines containing high flavor compounds will age better. Also, a wider classification of the best aging wines is chosen by worldwide regions, including Napa Valley in the U.S., Italy, France, and Australia.

If you are a neophyte or an intermediary wine enthusiast who is looking to create the perfect bouquet and you don't know when the best time will be to open your cellaring bottles of wine, just relax. The fear of waiting too long, storing it incorrectly, or that you should err on the side of caution, is normal anxiety that many experts state that is part of the process, it is a trial and error decision.

Here is some good news about aging wine—there is no specific right time to open an aging bottle. The right time is when you wish to uncork your wine. Just know that if you age your wine in the manner consistent of the industry, then it will be hard to make a mistake. In other words, the best time to open a cellared bottle is rather subjective and it takes time, patience, and skill.

Choose The Best Wine To Age

Below are examples of the types of wines that knowledgeable sommeliers say are best for aging:

o- 6 years: Grüner Veltliner, Merlot, Petite Sirah

o2- 10 years: Pinot Noir, Rioja, Tempranillo

o4- 15 years: Red Bordeaux, White Burgundy, Cabernet Franc, Chablis Classico

o5- 20 years: Shiraz, Super Tuscan, Hermitage

o5- 25 years: Barolo, Coteaux du Layon, Madeira

For a better outcome in aging wine yourself, start small. Using this idea, age your wine in shorter increments; start with three to five years to cellar. If that batch turns out spectacular, increase the number of years for future investments.


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