Aging wine is a century-old practice that has brought significant financial benefits to wine collectors. Aging wine, also known as extended cellaring, is a process of storing wine under the right conditions for long durations of time to develop unique characters and flavors. While extended cellaring is a lucrative business, not all varieties of wine are eligible for this trade. Some wines are meant for everyday consumption and have no additional value no matter how long you postpone serving it. Examples of everyday wines include Basic Sherry, Tawny Ports, Vermouth, and much more. Take time to research suitable wines for aging and how much value they can fetch. Otherwise, you end up with overly fermented alcoholic beverages that have no value in the market. Such losses could be frustrating if you were banking on this investment to cater for significant financial responsibilities such as college tuition, mortgages or even retirement. Knowing what type of wine improves over time is the first step in aging wine. There are countless online sources to turn to for this information, or you can stop by your local wine shop and ask for guidance. Read on to discover the best types of wine for aging.
Benefits of aging wine
Extended cellaring requires a lot of patience as it can take decades to reach the desired maturity of wine. Different people age wine for various reasons such as:
a) Financial gain– The biggest motivator for aging wine is to sell it at a higher value than your initial investment.
b) Special occasions– wine collectors will age wine to enjoy it while celebrating special moments, for example, wedding anniversaries and college graduation.
c) Prestige– casual wine collectors enjoy the attention and admiration they receive from colleagues, friends, and family. They pride themselves in owning a stash of refined wines waiting for the right circumstances.
How do I select the best aging wine?
Since aging wine is a commitment both in time and money, you want to be sure that the wine you choose will give maximum benefits. In the hunt for that perfect brand, consider the following factors:
a) Variety-region combinations– follow already established combinations of wine carefully selected based on the type of grapes and the origin. Classic combinations have been tried and tested over time thereby guaranteeing their performance.
b) Great producers– when selecting a food or beverage product, you want to invest in a product that has a trusted manufacturer at its helm. Similarly, research the best wine manufacturers with a sound performance record. Wine chatrooms often compare different wine reviews and offer rating figures per brand.
c) Be conservative– you may have heard wild stories of people who made it big with aging wine but do not get carried away. Extremes in alcohol levels or vintage may lead to disastrous results down the road.
Best Aging wines
Finally, let us get down to the business of identifying the best wines for extended cellaring. The aging potential of wines may vary based on acidity levels as is the case with white wines, while red wines with high flavor compounds tend to age better. A broader classification of the best aging wines is by region as follows:
• Napa Valley– this area is known for its numerous vineyards that have existed for generations. Domestic and international visitors flock to this wine country to get a taste of refined wines made from the best grapes in North America. Some if the best aging wines from Napa are: Beringer Vineyards Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Chappellet Pritchard Hill Cabernet Sauvignon, Seavey Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon,
• France– Chardonnay from the region of Burgundy is perfect for aging
• Italy– Brunello wines tend to age well over decades making them ideal candidates for extended cellaring. Examples are Brunello di Montalcinoare, Canalicchio di Sopra, Uccelliera Brunello di Montalcino, and La Rasina Brunello di Montalcino.
• Australia– Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet-Shiraz, Coonawarra Cabernet, Glaetzer Anaperenna Shiraz-Cabernet, McLaren Vale Shiraz, Mount Langi Ghiran Langi Shiraz, etc.
Besides regions, you can also find aging wines according to the number of years they take to age:
• 2- 6 years: Grüner Veltliner, Merlot, Nebbiolo (Langhe, New World), Petite Sirah
• 2- 10 years: Mourvedre, Pinot Noir, Rioja, Tempranillo
• 4- 15 years: Bordeaux (red, Right Bank), Burgundy (white, Grand Cru or 1er Cru), Cabernet Franc, Chablis (Grand Cru) Chianti Classico
• 5- 20 years: Shiraz (top wines), Super Tuscan, Syrah (Hermitage), Vouvray
• 5- 25 years: Barolo, Coteaux du Layon, Madeira
Success in aging wine starts with selecting the right wines. Eligibility begins with the vineyard, winemaking process, grape variety, region, and vintage. If you are new to this practice, start small possibly with shorter aging durations such as three to five years. The outcome of the first batch will guide future investments.