As many of you know I have been on medical leave (more about that shortly) and haven’t been able to write any blog articles for a number of weeks. It’s something I truly have missed doing. I want to thank my editor Melissa Hiner for her many years of great work on my blog, and also for manning the helm the past couple of weeks, and posting the blog and updates.
I also want to thank all of you who checked on me, dropped me very kind notes and for all the prayers and support. Believe me when you hear the words “you have cancer,” it is a game changer in your life.
The doctors are very pleased with the surgery and believe with the removal of my prostate they got all of the cancer. They don’t believe the cancer has spread beyond my prostate. So now it’s physical therapy and three to four months of healing. Thank you again for all of your support and prayers.
The Aging of Wine
As I have mentioned a number of times in my blog over the past years, most wines sold in the U.S. are made for immediate consumption. Usually they should be consumed within 24 months after purchase. (Editor’s note: a good number of people these days will consume these wines within 24 HOURS of purchase.) Even though the wines are made to consume at an early age they still need to be kept in a good environment: below normal room temperature, and some place dry with not too much humidity.
As wine ages there is the tendency for wine flavors, aromas and colors to change. Whether the wine benefits from these changes depends on many different including personal tastes.
All of us wine lovers are familiar with the concept of aging wine. We know that some bottles improve with age. Do all aging bottles improve? No, not all improve but they all tend to undergo change. Let’s take a look at what changes in a wine as it ages.
As red wines age they become lighter in color than they were as young wines. For white wines, they get darker as they get older. Some wine experts have gone as far to say that given enough time to age that red and white wines can become the same medium amber color. I for one don’t think I would care to drink either wine at that point.
Wines have lots of categories and they come in three groups:
- Primary Flavors
- Secondary Flavors
- Tertiary Flavors
Primary flavors come from the grapes themselves as they grow. Primary flavors consist of mostly fruit notes such as black fruit, red fruit, peaches, grapefruit, etc.
Secondary flavors come from the winemaking process. The flavors produced include flavors include oak, butter, vanilla, etc. As wines age, primary flavors begin to fade and what’s called tertiary flavors begin to emerge.
Tertiary flavors include such things as leather, tobacco, dried leaves, coffee, etc. It’s a fact that as wine ages it will have fewer primary flavors and more tertiary flavors (less fruit flavor and more muted flavors).
What about Tannins?
I have talked about tannins in the past as well, but I’ll touch on them now as a reminder. Tannins are found in the skins and seeds of grapes. They have somewhat of a bitter taste and can make your mouth feel dry when drinking your wine.
Over time, as wine ages, tannins begin to soften and precipitate out of the wine and form into solids. These solids are called sediment and end up on the bottom or side of the bottle depending on how you store your wine. As tannins change and fall out of the wine, the structure of the wine becomes smoother and less harsh. I have found that there are a lot of red wines that are too tannic to enjoy early in their life and need to be laid down and aged for a number of years before they are moderated enough to drink. I should mention that both tannins and acids act as preservatives, slowing down the oxidation and slowing the flavor changing. This may cause you to cellar your wines a little longer.
Not everything changes during the aging process. Acidity, alcohol and sugar levels will remain the same throughout aging. Typically wines that are tart have high alcohol levels and those that taste sweet will remain like that throughout the life of the wine. In some cases, as the tannins diminish, their strength might seem to get stronger.
The big question is how long should a wine age? There is no cut and dried rule on the question or even an easy answer. Frankly, it depends on the taste of the wine drinker.
Personally, I like my reds to be somewhat fruity on the nose, it can be subdued from aging, but I still like fruit on the nose and palate. I like a dry and chewy mouthfeel with a finish that is as balanced as possible.
Some people like their wines to taste fresh with plenty of primary flavors. Others, like myself, will enjoy wines that some folks might find to be over-aged or too old.
I think you’ll find the hunt for the perfectly aged bottle an enjoyment and perhaps a bit irresistible. Enjoy the journey to find that perfect bottle!
As always, I appreciate your support of our wine blog and encourage you to share it with family and friends. If you are reading this blog for the first time please consider subscribing while you are on the website. This way you’ll get our reviews and articles delivered to you for free in your email box. If you care to share your comments on this blog posting or other topics please do so in the comments section below.
Look Forward To These Happy Things:
Upcoming LEX 530 Events!
Spring Wine Dinner – Friday, April 17, 2020 — CANCELLED
High Tea – Sunday, April 26, 2020 (Status yet to be determined)
Mother’s Day Brunch – Sunday, May 10, 2020
LEX 530 Wine & Dinner Club Dinner – Wednesday, May 20, 2020
LEX 530 Wine & Dinner Club Dinner – Friday, June 26, 2020
LEX 530 Wine & Dinner Club Dinner – Wednesday, July 22, 2020
LEX 530 Wine & Dinner Club Dinner – Friday, August 21, 2020
LEX 530 Wine & Dinner Club Dinner – Friday, September 25, 2020
Oktoberfest Dinner – Tuesday, October 27, 2020 — with Elkhart’s Iechyd Da Brewing Company
LEX 530 Wine & Dinner Club Dinner – Friday, November 20, 2020
Important Wine Holidays
April 17 – International Malbec Day
May 1 – International Sauvignon Blanc Day
May 9 – World Moscato Day
May 21 – International Chardonnay Day
May 25 – National Wine Day
June 26 – International Rosé Day
June 21 – Lambrusco Day
August 1-5 – International Albariño Days
August 4 – National White Wine Day
August 18 – International Pinot Noir Day
September 3 – International Cabernet Day
September 18 – International Grenache Day
November 7 – International Merlot Day
November 12 – International Tempranillo Day
November 18 – National Zinfandel Day
November 19 – Beaujolais Nouveau Day
December 4 – Cabernet Franc Day
December 20 – National Sangria Day