Some wines are specially made to taste better after aging - a so-called storage wine. These wines are not made to drink young and, after bottling, have a strong flavor intensity. If a storage wine is well made, after maturing in the bottle, the wine will generally be more flavorful than wine to be drunk young.
Maturing red wines makes them softer in flavor, different in color, and sediment forms. The cause of these changes are the natural, chemical processes that take place in the wine. Combining the polyphenols (plant chemical compounds), anthocyanins (plant blue/red pigments) and flavonoids (organic compounds that provide flavor, among other things), they turn into other chemical elements. The polyphenols react with each other under the influence of small amounts of oxygen and dissolve. From this, derivative compounds are formed that cause a change in color and texture of the wine. When the particles reach a certain size, they precipitate as dark reddish-brown sediment. The degree of ripening is influenced by storage conditions (especially temperature), condition of the cork or other seal, oxygen in the neck, acidity and concentration of sulfur dioxide.
With white wine, the aging process is different. Less is known about the exact course of the process than the aging of red wine. What we do know is:
- that the chemical glycoside plays an important role in the formation of aromas during ripening.
- white wine has fewer polyphenols than red wine, while they have a strong influence on color and astringency (the astringent, rough and sour feeling of the palate in the mouth). Due to reactions of the polyphenols, the wine becomes browner in color over time which is called "oxidation".
- white wine with a low concentration of polyphenols matures well.
- white wine with high acidity ripens better.
- wine in which the grapes have been affected by the fungus botrytis has a very high capacity to ripen.
- white wines that have matured in wooden barrels mature better than wines that have fermented in, for example, stainless steel barrels and were later transferred to wooden barrels. On the other hand, many white wines that have not been in wooden barrels also have good storage potential.
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