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AGING WINE: YOURE NOT GETTING OLDER, YOURE GETTING BETTER!

THE BEST OF THE BEST: THE 1%

Jancis Robinson, Master of Wine, notes that of all wine produced in the world only 1 out of every 10 bottles will be of such quality that aging that bottle will result in a more enjoyable experience consuming it at 5 years of age rather than at 1 year of age. Furthermore, only the top 1% of all wine has the ability to improve significantly after more than a decade.

WHAT ALLOWS A WINE TO AGE GRACEFULLY?


Grape Variety and Style:
Higher Alcohol and Fortified wines Vintage Port, Madeira, Sherry, Amarone High Acid / Low pH Champagne, Cool Climate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Riesling, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, Semillon Phenolic Compounds and Tannins Thick-skinned grape varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Nebbiolo, Syrah, Petite Sirah Residual Sugar Botrytized wine, Trockenbeerenauslese, Tokaj, Sauternes, Coteaux du Layon, Rutherglen Muscat
when above 34 g/l residual sugar

STORAGE CONDITIONS?
Light: UV rays can create free radicals and allows oxidation, reducing ageing ability Heat: the lower the temperature, the more slowly a wine develops. The target cellar temperature should be between 50F and 70F.

Most importantly it must be a stable temperature


Vibration: often cited as producing negative effects, some scientific studies (1962 UC Davis) have indicated no adverse results on aging. However, vibration will stir up sediment, affecting the serving and enjoyment of the wine

BOTTLES AND CLOSURES

Larger bottle sizes: lower ratio of oxygen to wine at bottling will increase ageing potential. A byproduct of large formats is better temperature control. Alternative closures: screw cap, glass, synthetic corks All affect ageing ability. Some for better, some for worse

WHAT CAUSES AGEING? O2


Oxygen promotes aging of wine in three ways:

1 Promotes the growth of bacteria, molds and

yeasts. Acetic acid in wine, often referred to as volatile acidity (VA), can be introduced through many spoilage yeasts and bacteria. Acetic acid bacteria, such as those from the genera Acetobacter can produce high levels of acetic acid. Oxidation of phenols such as anthocyanins present in wine are those most easily oxidized which leads to a loss of color, flavor and aroma

2 Promotes activation of enzymes


Air consists of:

78% nitrogen 21% oxygen 1%


other gases

Atmospheric Oxidation 3 Oxygen is a corrosive. It is essential to life, but eventually degrades organic compounds

WHAT DO WE SMELL AND TASTE?


Youthful Flavors and Aromas: Fresh, jammy, stewed fruit, fresh flowers and herbs, sweet vanilla and toast, lively and somewhat obvious flavors Maturing Flavors and Aromas : Drying fruits, roasted fruits, nuttiness, slight raisin/prune, more obvious earth notes, leather, cedar, green tobacco, brown baking spices, mild vanilla and clove Matured Flavors and Aromas : dried, desiccated fruit, pronounced mushroom, raisin, prune, dried fig, rancio, wilted flowers, barnyard, dried tobacco, cigar box, more subtle and nuanced flavors

AGING: SUMMARY
The 4 wine types that can age: Higher Acid, Higher Tannin, Higher Residual Sugar, Higher Alcohol Storage condition concerns: Ultra Violet Light, Temperature 50-70F, Stable Cellar Temp Larger bottles and alternative closures: Large format generally will have more age-ability, closures matter

Oxygen deteriorates wine: Growth of Yeast/Bacteria, Activates Enzymes, Oxidation.


Red wines will lighten and sediment will form: phenolic compounds will bond with tannins and precipitate out. Remember, only 10% of wines improve up to 5 years and only the top 1% improve a decade.