What Happens When You Age Wine
Friendships, love, wine…all these things can grow so much more beautiful with time, or so they say. Of course, we love to dive into all kinds of wine knowledge and trivia, so it’s time to get curious about aging wine! What’s going on in that bottle? What can you expect to change over time? Read on.
At its core, winemaking is both an elegant art and a precise science. The short answer to what is going in the bottle as the wine ages is simple: Chemistry! Though many wines are delightful and ready to serve the day you purchase them, some of them will unfold into mature, developed complexity due to subtle changes to the composition of the wine. This is especially true for red wines as many Rosé and white wines are designed to be enjoyed when the flavors are fresh, crisp and flirty. In aged red wines and some Chardonnays, however, flavors, aromas, and even colors slowly shift from the bombastic fruit notes of youth to more earthy, savory, layered notes. A few examples of the aromas that may come with mature wines include cozy woodsmoke, tart cherry, dried rose petals, shy violets, mixed dry herbs, cigar box, and tobacco leaf.
A bottle of wine is never frozen in time: little chemical changes are always going on. The tannins and acid naturally found in wine grapes are the superstars of wine aging, since they act as a safe built-in preservative that also helps the wine develop over time. In well-made wines, tannins will integrate, moving from prominent and grippy to balanced and velvety. Over time, the molecular structure of tannins causes them to join together, eventually forming tiny solids. No longer a part of the liquid, these tannins will fall, following gravity, as sediment. (Hint: if you are ever worried about sediment in older bottles, set the bottle right side up 24 hours before serving and the solids will naturally fall to the bottom.)
A wine you love now may mature into the best wine you’ve ever had. Every wine has a different timeline, however. For serious wine lovers, we recommend buying a few bottles or a case of an age-worthy wine, and opening a bottle every year or two to have a front row seat for the story of that wine as it unfolds year after year. If the past is any indication, those years will fly by!
For our beloved members who have a palate for well-aged wine, we invite you to Retro Night on September 17! At this after-hours event, we break open our wine library, full of past vintages of delicious wines waiting to be explored, waiting for a moment like this! Enjoy exclusive access to these cellared wines, picked by our winemaker just for you.