Wine Word of the Week: Aging

By Kori ~ July 17th, 2012.

This week’s Wine Word of the Week is aging.

Official definition from Jancis Robinson’s The Oxford Companion to Wine:
Aging of wine is an important aspect of wine connoisseurship, and one which distinguishes wine from almost every other drink. When a fine wine is allowed to age, spectacular changes can occur which increase both its complexity and monetary value. Aging is dependent on several factors: the wine must be intrinsically capable of it; it must be correctly stored (in a cool place and out of contact with air); and some form of capital investment is usually necessary.

Layman’s terms from Kori:
Aging of wine is an important aspect of winemaking and wine enjoyment. All wines are aged for a period of time (some longer than others) in barrels, tanks, or bottles, so that they can mature. In general, the aging process is more important for red wines than white wines. As red wines age, they tend to become less harsh, less tannic, and more complex. However, only a small number of wines truly benefit from extended bottle aging.

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Reader's Comments

  1. Chad T | July 18th, 2012 at 12:07 am

    I have been aging wines for about 10 years. I have taken much pleaure (and bombed a few times) in tasting the results of bottle aging wines in the $35 -$50 range. Chianti Classico, St Joseph/ Crozes Hermitage are some of those that have given me positive results. Theoritical knowledge of grape varieties and vintages are crucial to success, but in my opinion, a large portion of what’s available on the shelf for over $30 can benfit from a few years of bottle aging. I recently had the pleasure of meeting the Pouilly Fume producer Cailbourdin at a tasting. He had taken about 20 vintages of “Les Cris” (Pouilly Fume $40), dating back as far as the early 90’s. What an experience! Interesting to taste how, with time, a 94 vintage and a 95 vintage develope into completely different (delicious) wines. Some of the vintages were gone, but he showed these as well and told “when” they had died. Before this tasting i would never have thought of Sauvingon Blanc as a grape to age for such a long period.

  2. Kori | July 19th, 2012 at 9:44 am

    Thanks for sharing your experiences with aging wines. Cheers!