Aged Wines

Why do we age wines?

It’s important to remember that not all wines are made for aging. In some wines, the fruitiness can deteriorate quickly, and undesirable aromas and flavours can appear. Wine experts claim that only 1% of the world’s wines should be aged for over 10 years. It’s also important to talk about the storage conditions, as big changes in temperature or exposure to light can reduce their aging potential.

Aging wines changes the profile of the wine, and some wines are potentially able to improve their quality and bring new flavours and textures - one of the main reasons a lot of wine lovers age their wines. The aging process involves chemical reactions, and will alter colour, tannins, mouthfeel, aromas and taste, becoming more complex and often more pleasing to the palate. The wine will develop tertiary aromas and flavours, meaning that young and fresh fruit flavours and aromas will become more reminiscent of dried fruit, plus the wine can develop additional, exciting aromas and flavours, such as mushrooms, earth, tobacco, etc.

When do we drink aged wines? Many people like to celebrate a special occasion, such as a milestone birthday or their anniversary, by drinking a bottle of wine from that year. Others simply want the prestige that comes with having the chance to drink something that has been in a bottle for years or decades.

How do I know if the wines have cellar potential?

The ability for a wine to age well depends on many factors, including grape variety, vintage, viticulture, region, winemaking style and how it is stored. Before aging wines, we need to observe a few factors in the wine, including the balance of style, acidity, tannins texture, length, intensity and concentration, which will determine if the wine is likely to improve over time or not. Some grapes are famous for their capacity for aging, such as Riesling, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, etc.

Why are aged wines more expensive?

The quality of the wine will determine its potential for aging, and quality wine is more expensive to make for many reasons. Factors that influence quality and price include the land where the grapes are grown (it is much cheaper to buy a property or grapes from Riverland than Barossa Valley for example), viticultural practices vary (such as higher yielding vs lower yielding, conventional vs organic / biodynamic practices), winemaking techniques (such as fermenting in smaller tanks vs large tanks, new barrels vs old barrels). These practices add costs due to the high prices for (new) oak barrels, space requirements in the winery to store the barrels, additional labour and time needed to make wines in smaller vessels compared to large tanks where great quantities of wine are produced easily and are available for sale a few months after vintage. Packaging also has to be taken into account, great quality wines must have a closure that will allow the wine to be kept in the bottle for a long period, then also bottles and labels for premium wines are more expensive. This is just a brief list, of what could become a very deep conversation.

It’s also important to mention that it’s not cheap to age wines – the process requires significant time and financial investment. You need the right storage conditions to be able to age wines; storing your wine in extreme heat or cold, in areas with constant vibrations, or with exposure to sunlight will all negatively impact on how it ages.

Clutch wines have a secret collection of prestigious aged wines from Italy, with only two bottles of each available.

1996 Arpepe Valtellina Superiore Sassella Rocce Rosse

 

 

Producer

Arpepe

Varieties

Nebbiolo (the grape is known locally as Chiavennasca)

Region

Lombardy, ITALY

Alcohol

12.5%

Vintage

1996

Size

750 mL

Winemaking Style

 

2010 Campi di Fonterenza Brunello di Montalcino DOCG

 

 

Producer

Campi di Fonterenza

Varieties

Sangiovese

Region

Tuscany, ITALY

Alcohol

 

Vintage

2010

Size

750 mL

Winemaking Style

Organic vineyards