Does wine get better with age and how to pick a bottle to store for the next 15 years?
I am pretty sure that most of you, at least once in your life, will have thought to buy a wine to keep in the cellar for a few years and then open to celebrate a special event; a bottle from the year when your son/daughter was born to drink when he/she gets 18, a collection of wines for your golden wedding anniversary…
Obviously a question arises: does wine get better with age how to choose that special one?
WHICH WINES ARE SUITABLE FOR AGEING?
The attitude of a wine to develop and improve with time is strongly connected to the grape components and more particularly tannins, acidity and body. Grapes such as Nebbiolo, Riesling, Pinot Noir or Chardonnay, to name a few, can be particularly prone to ageing. Equally important, however, are area of origin, yield control, methods of production and the weather conditions affecting the specific vintage.
Riesling from Germany or Alsace is a great candidate for ageing in your cellar.
Red wines, thanks to the the presence of poliphenols tend to age longer, but high quality white wines with good acid content are also capable of improving in the cellar. Sweet wines can be stored for a long time thanks to their high sugar content and high acidity.
Ageing Sparkling wines
On the contrary, with the exception of Champagne, few sparkling wines can improve with bottle ageing, and, even among Champagnes, it is advisable to choose vintage and prestigious cuvées without forgetting that, even if aged Champagne is a special experience, carbon dioxide content normally tend to reduce significantly with time.
Among Champagnes, it is advisable to choose vintage and prestigious cuvées for example
Red and White Wines That are Suitable for Ageing
Some examples of red wines suitable for ageing are the great Châteaux of Bordeaux, the Grand Cru or Premier Cru of Burgundy, some of the most prestigious appellations of Côtes du Rhône (Hermitage, Côte-Rôtie, Cornas and the best Châteauneuf-du-Pape).
The Italians Brunello, Barolo and Aglianico as well as the famous SuperTuscans, the Spanish Gran Reserva, the American red fine wines, in particular the Cabernet Sauvignon as well as the Australian Shiraz.
American red fine wine, especially Cabernet Sauvignon is perfect for ageing. On the photo Stags’ Leap Winery Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley
If you are looking for a white, check among the big Burgundy wines, the Vouvray and Savennières appellations form Loire Valley or the best Riesling from Germany or Alsace.
Vouvray appellations form Loire Valley foe example
Obviously, I understand that, if you are not a wine expert you may find it difficult to choose the right bottle. No worries, because, nowadays, online there are plenty of vintage reports (this one for example) that can direct your choice as well as reviews from experts, suggesting the approximate wine life. Alternatively check Wine Picker wine app for the best wine recommendation and food matching advice.
A COUPLE OF CONSERVATION TIPS
Finally, once you have found the right wine, we recommend you to:
1.Store the bottle in a horizontal position away from light sources, at a constant and fairly low temperature in an ambient with constant humidity (60% to 80%).
2.Keep only one cellar key…personally, I know too many people who have had a family member ending up in the cellar and, accidentally taking that mythical bottle that had been carefully preserved for decades….
3.Be patient! This is the most important point to me as I always tend to be tempted to open that bottle…So, never forget that you bought it for a special occasion!