The Right Wine at the Right Age

          Why do people prize aged wine? It’s all chemistry, complex chemistry. Wine has a special quality about it that makes it different than other foods and drinks because of the interaction between the elements in wine. Let’s make it simple though. Don’t worry—you won’t need to break out a chemistry textbook.

Before we get into it, however, there is a disclaimer. Not all wines age well. The inexpensive wine you found at the grocery store doesn’t age well. So it tastes best in the first 6 months. Most wine should be consumed in a year or two years’ time. The rule is 10 % of wine (or fine wine) becomes better with aging of five years. And 1% of wine becomes better with aging over a decade.

Here’s what happens. For wine (higher quality) that comes from the right agricultural condition and is prepared in a particular manner, the taste of wine improves with age, depending of course if it was stored correctly.  The improvement happens in the aroma, color, mouthfeel and taste, normally moving from a fruity and often tannic taste to subtler fruit flavors, a silky soft mouth feel, and distinctive aromas and flavors. That’s because the sugars, acids and phenolics parts of the wine change over time.    That being said some like young wine, and some even like extremely fruity wine. Some people like both fruity and subtle. Most fall in the middle. To each his own.

Now time to make some generalities, even though we shouldn’t because wine can be immeasurably unique. Some very tannic, acidic wines always require to be aged for a long time to be pleasant. Many of these come from the Bordeaux region of France. Others like Pinot Noir from Burgundy can be aged or not, mattering on the preference of whoever drinks it. New World wines tend to be less suited for long term aging, although some are. The variety in New World wines makes it hard to come up with hard and fast rules except it would be wise not to as patient on them as French wines. That is not to say that Old World wines are better; it’s just different preferences.  A general rule for Old World wines might be the higher the quality or classification the more it is adapted/suited for aging. Also, normally reds take better to aging than whites.

Since there is so much variation (even in Old World wines) and you probably would like to try something you haven’t, AYZA is lucky to have a renowned sommelier, Eric Delcros, a well-trained staff and an exceptional wine cellar. As a result, your wine is at its peak performance. Some you will see of various vintages. All those factors are taken into consideration, along with the previous production of that winery/wine. Go to a wine bar and try some good old and new wine and find out your preference. But at least once in your life, even if you don’t dedicate much energy to wine selection, give an aged wine a chance. You may be a convert.