Show menu >>

Aged wine = Better wine: myth or truth?

Aged wine = Better wine: myth or truth? What's Up site

To those of us who have never received that precious bottle of wine as a gift, perhaps bought for some special occasion, then not opened waiting for the right moment to drink it, since an aged wine will certainly be better. But are we sure that all wines become better with the passage of time?
2022-01-13, by ,

#Wine || #Food || #Cooking ||

Table of contents:

Why does wine age?

The type of aging that a wine undergoes is never the same, but it presents differences depending on the grapes we have harvested, the vintage, the type of wine and therefore the specific characteristics of each one.

Red wines, for example, present in themselves polyphenols and acidity which give the wine a longer conservation and consequently a higher quality.

It is clear that we cannot and should not generalize but we can say that usually red wine has a higher aging potential than a white one.

In fact, the high presence of tannins in red wines makes it more suitable for aging, during which the tannins decompose making the wine softer.

White wines, on the other hand, need the right acidity, given by tartaric acid.

Sweet white wines, unlike dry wines, have high amounts of sugar and acidity and are therefore more suitable for aging.

Aged wine: in barrel or in bottle?

In wooden barrels: it is of the oxidative type, particularly suitable for red wines, due to the positive evolution of polyphenols. The wood is in fact endowed with a certain porosity, yielding small quantities of oxygen to the wine. This technique is not suitable for simple wines intended for immediate consumption. During this phase, both in winter and in summer, the level of the wine drops, respectively by contraction and / or evaporation. Air therefore takes the place of wine. This is a very delicate phase, since oxygen can be responsible for diseases and alterations in the wine, transforming it into acetic acid, so it is necessary to proceed with topping up. This operation is carried out by adding the necessary wine from time to time so that too much air does not form inside the barrel. Many prefer to use the filler cap which is placed in the hole in the barrel.
Until a few decades ago, in Italy for important wines, such as Barolo, large wooden barrels were used. Today, as the French teach, we prefer the use of barrique or oak barrels of 225 liters.

After the aging period in wood, it is necessary to bottle it as soon as possible to avoid oxidation.

In bottle: it is of a reductive type, a technique used above all for white wines but also for reds, even if in this case the correct term is refinement rather than aging. There are no significant dangers for wine, since oxygen enters it only in small quantities. What happens during this phase is above all the formation of a pleasant bouquet.

Refinement of the wine with the Sur Lies technique

There is also another type of refinement, particularly suitable for full-bodied non-fruity white wines.

It is sur lies: the wines are aged on the lees formed by already fermented yeasts. It is a technique that uses either wooden barrels, bottles or steel containers. The purpose is organoleptic due to the effect of the substances released by the yeasts on the wine.

Physical and chemical processes follow from the aging phase, such as oxidation, oxidation, esterification, saturation and evaporation.

To remedy some of these phenomena, the use of added sulphites is used, thanks to which the development of bacteria in the wine is avoided and fermentation can proceed. But, they are also used for storing wine, precisely to limit oxidation.

Wine production is by no means simple and requires specific knowledge, accompanied by the right amount of luck with regard to independent external agents, such as the climate, to obtain a good quality wine.

Store the wine in the cellar

Unfortunately not everyone knows that once purchased, the wine needs some precautions for its conservation.

It is not enough to put it on a shelf and believe that aging continues to take its course. In fact, once the bottle is opened, we may discover the disappointment in tasting a wine that we thought was of a special vintage.

Even in our homes after we get wine it should be stored in ideal environments, with a humidity of at least 70%, low-intensity lighting and in general a cool environment such as a basement.