When it comes to wine, there is a common misconception that every single bottle of wine will taste better only after it has aged. In truth, knowing what wines are best after they age and what whites you can pull right from your wine refrigerator to drink the day of purchase is something that separates wine connoisseurs from casual drinkers. The truth is that not all wines need to sit for a while to age. Some are simply made for immediate consumption.
There is a difference between the kinds of wines that will do best when allowed to age for a while in a cellar and those that are best to drink straight away. This is determined by the kind of grape that is the most dominant in any particular wine. It is true that certain grapes flourish with time, allowing their unique flavor profiles to fully emerge to delight the palate. Before thinking about what kinds of grapes are best for aged wine, first consider why aging is something to even consider.
Age affects wine through a process called oxidation where oxygen comes into contact with the wine and tweaks its flavor profile. Regardless of the seal on the bottle, it will eventually undergo oxidation, causing it to age the longer it sits. Tannins tend to decide which of these wines are best for aging due to the oxidation.
The Aging Process
A number of white and red wines are typically mellow, free of the large amounts of tannins that are capable of making some fresh wines nearly impossible to drink. Due to the makeup of these wines, aging would simply make them fall apart in the bottle and even turn brown. However, grapes that are so full of tannins that your lips immediately pucker are the wines that are best-suited for aging. This is also true for wine that is full of acid, because excessive amounts of acid can ruin a fresh glass right out of the wine refrigerator if it has not been aged.
Three Grapes for Aging
- Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon is a favorite for its strong tannins, bold flavor and lush taste, and because it is also high in acids, it is ideal for aging. While some bottles are released with the intention of immediate consumption, Cabernet Sauvignon is always better after it sits for a while. Do keep in mind that Cabernet Sauvignon made in New World regions like California and those made in Old World regions are not the same, and it is usually best to drink New World Cabernet Sauvignon soon after production.
Syrah grapes are known for producing smoky tastes blended with cassis, stewed plums and black cherry, which makes a wine that is rich and full-bodied. making them rich. This type of grape has strong tannins that most people don’t have a taste for, making the aging process important to make the wine smoother and more enjoyable.
White wines are ones you can usually drink immediately, but this isnÕt necessarily true for Riesling wine. Rieslings are aged to tame the sweetness to be a little drier for those who don’t want all of the typical sweetness of white wine.
Depending on your taste and preference along with the correct type of grapes, it may do you well to allow wine to sit and age. For wines that don’t really need any aging, it’s best to enjoy them as soon as the mood strikes; you won’t be missing out on anything by doing so.