In contrast to bottle aging, under which one summarizes rather only all positive changes during the development of a wine to the climax, under aging also all negative changes up to the "end of life" are to be understood. Already in ancient times, attempts were made to produce aging-resistant wines in order to achieve an improved taste through prolonged storage. Also, the artificial aging by heating or smoking was common, of which the Greek doctor Galen (129-216) reported. In the Bible It is mentioned that old wine should be given preference over young wine, in Luke 5:37 Jesus says: And no one who drank old wine likes new things. The Greeks and Romans realized that wines with high sugar content can be stored for a long time in cool storage. The best ancient wines like the famous Roman Falernian, were in tightly closed amphorae kept in clay and only reached their peak after many years. With the decline of the Roman Empire, the art of conservation fell into oblivion.
Until the late Middle Ages in Europe usually very simple wine was produced, which had to be enjoyed within a few months, because otherwise angry or too vinegar was or spoiled. There were only very few exceptions, for example, the Riesling wines stored in large barrels in the cellars of the mansions and the gespriteten Sweet wines in the Mediterranean. The production of aging wines was initiated from the 16th century, especially in England by the need for Bordeaux and port wine. At this time was also expanding into Barrique common. But only with the advent of bottles and cork In the 17th century it became possible to produce long storable and expandable wines in larger quantities. To the (with restriction just) edible oldest wines counted at this time 421 years old Würzburg stone and a 186 year old 1811er, But these are unique exceptions.
Compared to many other beverages, wine has the potential property of maturing in taste and quality over time until it reaches its peak. Already before one can maturity have been reached, both terms are by no means to be understood as "date of the day" and can also be understood synonymous. The complex life cycle starts right after the fermentation and is under bottle aging described in detail. An often asked question is how long a wine stays at its peak. A simple rule of thumb says: As a rule, as much as he needed to achieve it. Contrary to popular belief, however, a qualitative improvement through aging does not take place in principle, but is reserved only for good wine qualities. It must also be distinguished between aging and expandability. For example, a wine may be capable of aging, but it does not necessarily have to improve.
An upgradable wine must have a certain shelf life in order to develop. For long shelf life, in addition to the inherent properties of the wine, environmental conditions during storage play an important role. Ideal is a darker, cooler wine cellar with a temperature as uniform as possible between 10 and 15 ° C and a humidity between 70 and 80%. Similarly, a tight seal is a prerequisite to prevent uncontrolled, oxidative processes. Small quantities oxygen play an important role in the aging process. The amount of oxygen uptake depends on the type of closure, Screw caps are, for example, denser up to a factor of four cork,
The prerequisite for the aging ability is a balance between ideally higher alcohol, as well as sugar and acidity. Wines out botrytis Berries are mostly tall sweetness and thus potential for a long time durability, Red wines tolerate and generally require more oxygen than white wines. The quantities of oxygen required for the ripening of red wine are targeted by cellaring measures such as taps over air, storage in wooden barrels or micro-oxygenation fed. White wines (and also rosé wines) are relatively sensitive to oxidation of red wines, but the time of oxygen uptake plays a crucial role. Oxidation of the must, for example, is conducive to later shelf life. After filtration However, an uncontrolled oxygen uptake has a negative effect on the aromas, freshness and shelf life of the white wines.
During the storage of white wines, a gradual decay of the varietal Fruit flavors. These can be different Age tones as firn (Altersfirn) UTA. sulfurous off (Lagerböckser) or petrol tone superimposed, especially quickly in fruity wines. Mostly, however, today is produced for fast consumption, so that the ability to age does not matter. This type of wine is often still best in the tank, remains after the bottling at best, for a few months, uncomplicated, fruity and easygoing and eventually breaks down relatively quickly. For aging ability have a higher impact residual sugar and lower PH value positive. The red wine contains high levels of phenolic substances such as anthocyanins. tannins and vanillin to expand capability at what's in the Barrique through the im Oak wood contained tannins is reinforced.
When storing must oxidation be prevented, which requires a tight cork or possibly other good closure. The small amount of oxygen in the bottleneck is sufficient to positively influence the development (bottling is also practiced in this room) inert gas to fill). larger bottles with a multiple of .75 liters like Magnum (1.5 liters), Doppelmagnum (3 liters) or even larger slow down the maturation process, but favor it positively. This is practiced especially with Bordeaux and Burgundy wines. For wines like sherry or port wine the aging ability is enormously increased by appropriate techniques. This is for example through Spriten achieved (added alcohol). spirits and sparkling wines Unlike unleavened wines, they usually do not benefit from bottle storage, the development of which is mostly completed with bottling.
The storage and expansion capacity can be decades, in some cases even 100 years or more. This depends mainly on the degree of ripeness of the grapes (see below maturation and physiological maturity ) and the vinification. Certain grape varieties are particularly suitable for such wines. These are, for example, the white varieties Chardonnay. Chenin Blanc. Furmint. Petit Manseng. Riesling and Green Valtellina and the red varieties Aglianico. Baga. Cabernet Sauvignon. kadarka. Merlot. Nebbiolo. Pinot Noir. Plavac Mali. Sangiovese. Saperavi. Syrah. Tannat. Xinomavro and Zinfandel, According to the wine-law regulations, which are regionally very different, the sale of many wines takes place only after a long barrel and / or bottle aging (Months to years).
Of course, the "ideal" enjoyment age or the "climax" of a wine at precisely the "right" time (month / year) can not be exactly predicted. However, an estimate with a certain range is possible, for example "in four to five years". Something is already indicated by more and more producers on the bottle label. In individual wine guides such as Wein-Plus a prognosis is made about the presumably best drinking period. This is by no means unambiguous shelf life available but only provides information about the period during which a wine is expected to be most favorably stored. One year means that a wine will probably be in good shape at least until the end of the given year. Even with the greatest experience, however, these figures remain estimates. There can always be positive as well as negative surprises, especially since the development depends strongly on the storage or environmental conditions.
As already mentioned, according to the international trend, today a considerable proportion of wines are produced (mainly white wines), which are produced according to the bottling should be drunk within one to a maximum of two years. That means these wines already ready to drink when placed on the market by the producer and unsuitable for longer storage. Occasionally, the controversial art of artificial aging is practiced today. These include heating, forcing oxidation, bottle shaking and ultrasound irradiation. The questions of whether substances are degraded over time or which changes in taste occur, are under bottle aging treated. See also the topic under vintage. Wine of the century. Neuverkorkung. wine review. Weingenuss and wine temperature,