To pour or not to pour, that is the question! Should you wait and hope that your bottle of wine will age gracefully over the next few years (or decades) or should you just go for it? We’ve got a few tips on figuring out the optimal time to uncork that bottle.
A quick rule of thumb is often the price tag. Most wines that cost under $20 are meant to be enjoyed right away. On the flip side, wines that cost more than $50 could be good contenders for wines that will taste better with age. Here are some other key tips to look for when pondering this million dollar question.
Check the acidity- Wines that have a higher level of acidity are more likely to age well. Keep in mind that wines like Pinot Grigio have a low level of acidity and will go flat sooner than others- so go ahead and enjoy that Pinot Grigio tonight.
Tannin- The bolder the tannin, the better the wine will age. Tannins come from the skins of the grapes and contact to the pips during the wine making process. You always want to look for a good balance of tannin. If it is a bit on the bolder side - you know that taste that makes your mouth pucker a little - chances are you have a bottle that will taste better with age. Tannins can help a wine age gracefully. But, If the wine is not well balanced to begin with- it will not improve over time.
Alcohol Level - Generally speaking, the lower the alcohol level in a non-fortified wine the longer it will last. There are, of course, exceptions to the rule. However this is the case for many dry red and white wines. When seeking out a wine for aging, check the alcohol levels and look for an ABV below 13.5%. Despite the fact that high alcohol ruins normal still wines, fortified wines are perhaps the longest-lived of all wines with 17-20% ABV.
Great fruit- No question about it, great fruit makes great wine! The ultimate ingredient for a fine age-able wine is fruit perfectly balanced in its acidity, tannins and flavors.
Residual Sugar- One last thing to look for is the amount of residual sugars in the wine. Some of the longest lived wines tend to be sweet wines like Sherry, Port and Riesling.
So, what wines generally age well? For those who love all things red wine, Cabernet Sauvignons, Pinot Noir, Barolo and Zinfandel are the ones to keep your eye on in terms of aging well. For the whites, German Riesling and Chenin Blanc will age gracefully.
Now after reading all about wines, it is time to pour yourself a glass and enjoy the evening. Better yet, grab your Portovino, fill her up and head outside with some friends to enjoy your favorite wine under the stars. Cheers!!