Why Does Red Wine Get Better with Age?
- June 8, 2016
Answers to the age old question
Anybody who has ever heard a single fact about wine can tell you that generally speaking, it just gets better with age. That is especially true for red wines.
Why is that? Why does red wine get better with age? What is in the makeup of strictly red wine that makes it so deliciously enhanced with age?
It’s All in the Tannins
Tannins are found in the grapes wine is made from that give your mouth that dried out sensation. They are a natural preservative in wine that, when a wine is young, provides it a bitter and astringent taste.
As wine ages, these tannins dissipate and blossom into what wine connoisseurs call the “bouquet” of wines, or the aroma and essence of the body of the wine.
Tannins have been known to keep a wine delectable for 40 years or more blossoming more and more each year, ultimately leaving the aged red wine with a smooth, rich flavor without the astringency of a young red wine.
Keep it Cool
Why does red wine get better with age?
The secret lies in temperature. Since, the aging process of wine is delicate and easy to spoil, the temperature of the storage facility your wine is kept in needs to be precisely maintained.
When wine is subjected to rises in temperature, it begins to oxidize. When wine oxidizes, it starts to age prematurely, leaving you with an undrinkable bottle of wine.
Humidity also has its effects on wine. If wine is kept in an area that is drenched with humidity, you can expect there to be mold or mildew on the label and cork when you go to fetch it. However, too little humidity can leave the cork dry and crumbly, allowing air to get into the bottle and consequently causing oxidation in your wine.
Keeping your wine in a slightly humid area remaining at 10?-16?C (50?-55?F) (such as a wine cellar or basement) will allow it to mature gracefully, its tannins dispersing slowly to reveal a smooth, wonderfully delicious drink when you want it most.
I think it is also good to remember that red wine is bottled in dark colored glass for a reason. It protects against outside light that causes oxidation in the wine, keeping it aging better.
There are many little hints like this that point to the same conclusion: red wine was meant to age and age well. So let your decade-old bottles of red wine rest easy a little longer in the comforts of a cool, slightly humid abode.
The time waiting will be worth it when you pop them open in a few years only to find that they are incredibly rich, smooth, and exactly what you had imagined, leaving you wondering no more, “Why do red wines get better with age?”