27 Sep What Happens to Wine as it Ages?
Wine is one of the few beverages that actually improves as it ages. Given the right storage conditions as the wine ages, a number of positive things can happen. The color changes, the tannins soften, and the flavor develops and mature. This is the reason why many great wine cellars and collections around the world feature some astonishingly old wines. But what exactly happens to wine as it ages? Read on to find out.
The Aging Process
Whether in a bottle, barrel, or wine refrigerator, wine ages by a slow and steady process of oxidation. The process of oxidation leads to a chemical reaction that changes the fruit structure. While too much oxidation can have adverse effect on wine, small quantities of oxygen entering a bottle via cork can have a highly sought-after and beneficial effect. It is this tiny and gentle exposure to oxygen via tiny holes in oak wood or cork that causes what is known as aging. Following are different aspects of wine that get changed as it ages:
When comparing a young and an aged wine of the same grape style or varietal, the first thing you will notice is the difference in color. Fresh, young red wines usually have a deeper, violet or ruby-red color, with aged examples being a little closer to orange tones. The same is the case with CBD wine. An aged red wine can even look brown if you wait a very long time. White wines take on an amber, golden, or orangey-brown tint when they are purposefully aged.
What happens to a wine’s aroma as it ages is still something of a mystery that even the scientists don’t fully understand. When it comes to the change in aroma of wine over time, there is no solid rule, but age-worthy wines will certainly gain complexity and strength as they age. This generally means a shift from fruit aromas (e.g. plums, blackberries, etc.) to spiced, herbal, or other notes in the bouquet. The fragrances become much greater as well. Fine red wines often pick up aromas of smoke, tobacco, and leather, similar to what happens with CBD wine as it ages.
There are certain wines that are actually quite unpalatable when they are fresh. However, when they are stored in wine refrigerator or a cellar for some time, oxidation causes their tannins to polymerize and form long strings that alter their flavor. The acids, as well, are rounded and soften by the exposure to air and time, which allows for more flavors to be experienced by the drinker. A silken, luxurious character takes places as the tartness disappears, revealing layer upon layer of flavor that can be quite enjoyable to encounter.
Not All Wines Are Created Equal
The above-listed are the changes that occur as the wine ages. However, keep in mind that not all wines are created equal and majority of them are not ‘age-worthy’. Their character and structure mean that they are best drunk young and fresh, when their softness, fruit flavors, or sharpness can be expressed as intended. This is true of the many white wines as well as most medium bodied or easy-drinking reds and rosé wines.