It’s no secret that some fine red wines in the world spend time in oak barrels before being bottled and released to the market. And although we’re all used to enjoying aged red wine, we rarely ask ourselves, what’s the point of maturing wine?
Here’s all you need to know about wine aging, its purpose and its effect on our favorite wines. Before we go deep into the cellar, let us invite you to taste our wines by booking your appointment here, made with local and international varieties, including Kotsifali and Mandilari; all farmed sustainable and turned into fine wine. Visit our cellar and see our red wines mature and age!
Why Age Red Wine?
A percentage of the wine on the market is meant to be enjoyed young and needs little to no aging. Only a few white wine styles benefit from oak aging, but most red wines, even the youthful ones, spend at least a few months in barrel. But why?
When producers age red wine in oak barrels, the wine’s aroma, flavor and color change. There are several ways of aging wine, so let’s explore the most interesting. From aging wine in oak barrels to letting it mature in its bottle, from aging wine underwater to seeing what happens to it in space!
How Does Wine Age in Barrels?
In an oak barrel, wine oxidizes slightly because of the tiny amounts of oxygen that find its way into the vessel; it also gains aromatic richness as oak infuses it with vanilla and brown spice scents. Finally, the wine’s texture mellows as some of the solids from the grape skins precipitate, making it more palatable. New oak barrels have more influence on wine than old barrels, and small barrels have more impact than big ones. The type of oak matters, too, but that’s another story.
How Does Wine Age in Bottle?
Wine can change and evolve after being bottled, notably if topped with a porous cork stopper. Bottle-aged wine can lose some of its rugged texture (tannins), and color as the solids precipitate to the bottom of the bottle. The alcohol, acid and sugar in wine combine and recombine, creating new aromatic molecules. Tertiary aromas reminiscent of earth, mushrooms, leather and spices eventually replace the wine’s fruit aromas.
Stability is key.
Wine ages slowly at cold temperatures and considerably faster above 16°C. Aging wine at a stable, cold temperature, away from direct light, heat sources and vibration, is key to maturing it to its full potential. This has led experimental winemakers to age wine underwater or in outer space in their quest to find stable conditions that let their wine evolve naturally. The result? Interesting, to say the least. When wine ages undisturbed, it develops a balanced palate and a layered bouquet!
You Can’t Rush Fine Wine
Aging red wine is only part of the labor-intensive process behind the finest wines, especially when made organically and sustainably. Winemaking is a craft and a beautiful one indeed!
For more vinous knowledge about fine red wine with a sense of place, aged and matured patiently to perfection, try our collection. Crete’s splendid landscape and unique Mediterranean climate result in extraordinary wine, especially when hand-crafted. This is the very definition of fine wine — wine made in the vineyards and allowed to mature in dim-lit cellars. Patience is the secret ingredient!