99% of all wine produced in the world does not require cellaring. The majority of wines are at their best the day after they are released. Consider that most wine bottles are purchased the day they will be consumed or shortly after that.
A small amount of wine that is aged and improved with proper cellaring can be produced. This article focuses on the aging and storage of these wines.
Wine is alive. Wine changes over time. It can take years or decades to see a change in the molecular structure of a wine. However, changes can occur when the wine is cellared.
You can see, smell, and even taste a difference if you open two bottles of the same wine, say, from 15 to 20 years ago.
Properly cellaring your wine is essential if you plan to collect wine seriously. For thousands of years, wine has been cellared and aged. The wine was initially stored in large amphora or jugs.
The Romans used the catacombs to store wine as cellars. The marriage of glass and cork in the 1600s was the first time that wine cellaring and aging began.
Before the widespread use of corks, bottles were sealed with rags and then glass stoppers. These were made individually for each bottle. This was also the time when bottles were made one by one, by hand. All that changed with the birth of modernity.
Wine does not require a cellar to be enjoyed. Truthfully, many people enjoy the aroma, taste, and texture of young wine. This is a perfectly acceptable approach. Wine appreciation is entirely a personal matter.
I like a lot of young wine. Many of the 2009 Bordeaux, particularly from the Satellite appellations, are already very tasty. Pomerol, St. Emilion, and other top wines are already quite tasty. The 2009 St. Emilion wines have been spectacular since their release.
I love young Chateauneuf-du-Pape, as well as the best wines in Napa Valley, California. Sauternes is one of the best-tasting wines. But, for my palate, at least, these wines all get pushed aside when an aged and properly cellared wine is available.
In today’s fast-paced world, where everything happens faster than ever, the idea of buying wine and storing it to be consumed 10, 15, 20, or more years down the road is archaic to many people. Many inventions on the market claim to be able to age wine within minutes. You can trust me. These products do not work.
Time is the only thing that can be substituted. The auction market places a high premium on Bordeaux and other wines that have been properly stored. The people who buy these wines know that wine will become more valuable over time.
The history of wine that has been properly cellared and aged is not just bottled history. It is also valuable.
The best wine producers are now making wines that require less time to age in the cellar. In the past, wine was aged in oak barrels that were not new. It took decades for the tannins to soften enough in Bordeaux wines, and even then, it was not sufficient to produce a great-tasting wine.
In their youth, the wines were too tough to drink. Most top Bordeaux producers today use French oak barrels that are 30% to 100% new during the wine’s aging process.
Grapes are now picked at a higher level of ripeness, removing the skins, seeds, and tannins when possible. This gives the wines a rounder, softer feel. The consumer can now enjoy their wine with less storage than in previous generations.
The debate or discussion about whether Bordeaux wines today can age as well as those of previous generations continues. I believe that Bordeaux wine will age as well today as it did in previous generations.
Bordeaux wine is now also enjoyed at an earlier age. This meets the demands of new consumers who lack patience. This is a complicated issue and deserves its article.
The magic of the bottle is not fully revealed until the wine has been properly aged and cellared. Older, mature bottles offer a unique tasting experience that is not possible with younger wines. The complexity of aromas, the flavor profile, and the texture of the palate are all enhanced by their maturity.
Temperature control, humidity, and a lack of light and vibration are the keys to cellaring and aging wine.
These four factors are all that matter, regardless of the wine you choose or the size of your collection. Rare and expensive are wines that can age and develop into something better than their youth. It can take many years or even decades to mature a wine, depending on its vintage and the wine itself.
It is important to store your wine properly. The conditions in which the wine was transported are beyond your control. Today, every serious importer will take the necessary care to ensure that the wine reaches the store in good condition. Once you accept delivery, you can still control the way in which the wine ages.
At what temperature should wine be stored and cellared?
Remember that wine is alive when aging or cellaring wine; temperature is a major concern. The cooler the temperature is, the longer it will take for your wine to mature. This also increases the life of your wine.
The ideal temperature for long-term aging is 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius). Your wine will have a long and slow evolution at 55 degrees. Your wine will age faster at warmer temperatures.
The simple act of increasing or decreasing the temperature will not necessarily affect the maturity rate of your wine. You could have a warm cellar to make your wine mature faster. The complexity of a wine is influenced by the rate at which the chemical reactions or hydrolysis take place.
It has been shown that a higher temperature in the cellar can have a negative effect on the quality of the wine. I’ve tasted enough wine to know that warmer temperatures in the basement are bad for wine. Aging Wine is about the old saying that patience is a virtue.
Active and passive wine cellars are used to store wine. A mechanical device is used to control the temperature in a functional basement. Passive cellars are those where the temperature changes with the changing seasons.
Most passive cellars that are best for wine are underground, where temperatures can be kept constant. A change in temperature for wine is fine as long as it does not happen at a rapid rate that could cause the cork to loosen.
The cork seal is affected by the changing levels of liquid within the bottle. The increased oxygen that enters the bottle when the integrity of the seal is compromised will increase the rate of evaporation.
Transfer of oxygen to a wine can be a crucial factor in aging the wine properly. The cork and glass bottles are porous to some degree. The rate at which oxygen is transferred to the wine is what counts. The best wines should age slowly and steadily.
Keep wines for long-term cellaring at cooler temperatures. Preferably close to or under 60 degrees Fahrenheit. We have already stated that 55 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal temperature for wine cellaring.
If, for example, you only plan to cellar wine for a short period of time, temperatures near 65 degrees will not cause any problems. If you have just bought a case of 2010 1st Growth Cabernet and are planning to open a bottle in 30-40 years, temperatures closer to 55 degrees will provide the best cellaring conditions.
Why is humidity so important when cellaring wine?
The need for humidity when cellaring wine is a point that is often debated and argued. The level of moisture inside the bottle is 100%. The act of placing a bottle sideways should be enough to provide the water needed for wine cellaring. Yes, the simple answer is “yes.” It’s sort of.
The humidity in the bottle protects only the part of the cork closest to the wine. This humidity keeps the top and bottom of the pin, as well as any portion that is not in contact with the wine, in a moist state. The hook will retain its seal and elasticity.
Ullage is less likely to occur in bottles with better seals. The space between the cork seal and the wine is called ullage. The better the wine is, the smaller the ullage. This is because there’s less air between the cork of the bottle and the wine.
Anecdotal and personal experience have shown that the wines that taste freshest and youngest at maturity are those that are stored in wine cellars where humidity hovers between 70 and 80 percent.
Higher levels of humidity are not harmful to the wine or cork. This could actually be beneficial for both wine and cork. Increased humidity, however, can damage the labels attached to the wine.
It is a problem if you plan to sell your wine. Bottles with damaged labels are worth less. It won’t matter if you cellar your wine for personal enjoyment.
Does the light and vibration of a wine cellar matter?
Both light and vibration are enemies of wine. Strong light can change the delicate chemical makeup of wine. This is why dark green glasses are used for red wines.
The white wine does not age as long as the red wine. This is why it is stored in bottles that are clear or lighter-colored. A strong light can radiate heat, which can affect the development of wine.
Another potential problem is vibration. Unwanted vibration can cause chemical reactions, which could lead to bottles developing differently from what you want.
Here are some other tips to help you decide whether or not to cellar wine. If you buy a case of wine that comes in wood, you can store it there if you wish. The wine can last longer in the wood case than it does in the bottle.
Many Bordeaux negociants still have original wood wine cases that are more than 100 years old and in excellent condition. You can stack Bordeaux wood wine cases up to 10 instances high because they are all similar in size and shape. Remember, you won’t have fun if you need a bottle of wine from the bottom case.
If you store your wine in a cardboard case, the box will bend and eventually disintegrate over time. If you plan to keep your wine for a long time, it might be worth considering wood cases or wood racks.
Save the original wooden case if you plan to invest in wine or if you think you may want to sell it in the future. The original wood case can add up to 10% to the price, particularly if it is still sealed in its wooden case or has not been opened.
What type of cellar is best for my wine?
Most people don’t have the space or underground cellar to store wine. There are many options for cellaring wine. There are dozens of companies that sell properly-refrigerated home cellars. These can hold anywhere from 10 to 500 bottles.
Many wine stores and merchants also rent out temperature-controlled wine cellaring equipment at a range of prices. It would be best if you compare prices and reviews.
Most wine does not improve much after bottling. The world’s finest wines evolve, soften, and develop textures of silk and velour that are not found in young wine.
We cellar those special wines. Only by cellaring your wines can you ensure a perfect provenance. Cellaring wine demands patience. If you enjoy older wine, it is worth the time and money.
As someone who has been cellaring wines for over 20 years, I can tell you that the wines in my cellar are much better tasting than the bottles bought after many years on the market. My bottles are fresher and younger and provide a better-tasting experience.