Understanding the phases of wine ageing

May 1, 2023

Wine aging is a complex process that involves many factors, such as the variety ...

Bien que la plupart des vins soient consommés dans les 1 à 5 ans suivant leur mise en bouteille, certains vins peuvent être vieillis pendant plusieurs décennies, ce qui leur permet de développer des saveurs et des arômes plus complexes. Dans cet article, proposé par Oeni, votre app de gestion de cave à vin disponible sur iOS et Android, nous allons explorer les différentes phases du vieillissement du vin.

Phase 1: Youth

The youth phase is when the wine is at its freshest and fruitiest. Young red wines have a dark purple color and aromas of fresh red fruits such as cherry, raspberry and strawberry. Young white wines have a pale color and fruit aromas such as lemon, green apple and peach.

During this phase, wine is generally consumed within the first few years after bottling. Young wines are ideal for informal occasions and light meals such as salads, seafood and white meats.

Phase 2: Maturity

The ripening phase is the period during which the wine begins to develop and become more complex. Ripe red wines have a lighter color and more complex aromas such as leather, tobacco, cedar and chocolate. Mature white wines have a darker color and richer aromas such as vanilla, honey and dried fruit.

During this phase, the wine can be consumed or stored for between 5 and 15 years. Mature wines are ideal for more elaborate meals and special occasions such as refined dinners.

Phase 3: The climax

The apogee phase is the period during which the wine develops deeper, richer flavors and aromas. Aged red wines have a paler color and more complex aromas such as truffle, earth and leather. Aged white wines have a darker color and richer aromas such as caramel, honey and nuts.

During this phase, the wine is generally stored for a period ranging from 10 to 30 years or more. Aged wines are ideal for very special occasions and for wine connoisseurs.

Phase 4: Decline

The decline phase is the period during which wine begins to lose its complex flavors and aromas, and to deteriorate. Red wines in decline have a paler color and lighter aromas such as vinegar and earth. White wines in decline have a darker color and heavier aromas such as rancid hazelnut.

During this phase, the wine is generally considered to have passed its peak and should no longer be consumed. It is important to note that not all wines are meant to be aged, and that aging will not necessarily improve the taste of all wines.

Factors influencing wine ageing

The aging of wine depends on many factors, including :

  1. Grape variety: Some grape varieties are better suited to aging than others. Bordeaux red wines, for example, are renowned for their ability to age for several decades.
  2. Terroir: The conditions in which the grapes grow, including soil, climate and exposure to the sun, have an impact on the quality of the wine and its ability to age.
  3. Winemaking method: Wines that have been aged in oak barrels for several years are often better suited to ageing than wines that have not been aged in barrels.
  4. Storage conditions: Wine aging also depends on storage conditions, including temperature, humidity and light. Wines should be stored in a cool, dark place with a relative humidity of 70%.

If you want to start building a wine cellar, it's important to research which wines are suitable for aging, and to consider appropriate storage conditions. Building a wine cellar at home can be a fun and interesting project, but you need to invest in quality equipment to ensure temperature and humidity stability.

It's also important to note that aging wine is no guarantee of improved taste. The wine may not age well due to production or storage problems, or personal preferences may play a role in determining the taste of an aged wine.

Finally, it is advisable to taste aged wines regularly to monitor their evolution and determine the ideal moment to drink them. If you notice that the wine's taste is starting to deteriorate, it's better to drink it quickly rather than keep it longer. Similarly, if you notice that the wine's taste is exceptional, it's best to drink it soon to enjoy it to the full.

Manage your wine's aging phases with the Oeni app!

Wine aging is a fascinating process that can add complexity and depth to some wines. However, it is important to understand the phases of aging and the appropriate storage conditions to ensure that wines reach their peak and to avoid any alteration in their taste. With careful attention to detail and a passion for wine, building a wine cellar can be an exciting and rewarding experience for any wine lover.