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bottle aging

affinage (F)
bottle mature (GB)
affinamento (I)
afinamento (PO)

After bottling begins with still wines reductive Maturation level without or with very little oxygen, Many producers store high-quality wines in the bottle for up to 12 months and longer before marketing, which is why one speaks of bottle aging or bottle refinement. A certain bottle maturity is also in many countries with individual wines wine law required. In contrast to aging, which is understood to mean all changes in a wine up to the “end of life”, rather only the positive changes up to the climax are summarized under bottle aging.

bottle aging

However, there is no clear separation between the two terms. The term is often used in connection with the climax of a wine maturity used, with which the optimal time to enjoy is understood. This state can exist, so to speak, before the climax. However, the two terms can also be understood as being synonymous, since they are by no means to be understood as “cut-off date” and can extend over a longer period, that is, over several years.

On barrel aging has a positive effect on maturation. In the case of long-lived wines, bottle maturation is often a development process that takes many years, until in extreme cases they only reach their peak after many years (rarely decades) and then again dismantle, During the complex aging / maturation process, the appearance and that change Aroma, Some of the chemical changes also result from oxidative Processes (see also under oxygen management ). Depending on the type of closure, oxygen is also supplied in the minimum amount through the closure, which is what micro-oxygenation (Nanooxygenation). This can even be done using special closures (e.g. Nomacorc. VinPerfect ) are controlled consciously.

However, many processes during are not dependent on oxygen, but reactions between the other ingredients or their decay. By enzymes Controlled biochemical processes consume oxygen, but would also take place without it, but much more slowly. By interaction of oxygen. acids and alcohol is enriched with ester, These are taste-intensive, mostly volatile compounds with a sweet, fruity aroma. The amount of acids does not change, although this subjective impression arises with older wines. They even emerge more strongly at the “end of life”.

The colour goes through a typical cycle of change, which also allows conclusions to be drawn about the age of a wine. In the case of red wines, that usually changes anthocyanins (Dyes) from initially dark purple or bluish red to lighter colors such as ruby red, garnet red, brick red and orange red and then change back to darker brownish red tones. At the end of his life, a red wine that no longer tastes perfect will show a completely brown color. In this process, different ones phenols to a crust polymerized (Caked). These substances are stored as depot from the bottom of the bottle. However, they are by no means as wine faults to consider and can be done by being as careful as possible decanting be removed.

White wine contains much less tannins, so the change is not that big. The initially straw yellow to light golden color with often greenish reflections changes continuously to darker tones. For certain grape varieties with a high phenol content, the color can change to deep yellow and orange-yellow. If tanning occurs, this is usually undesirable. At the end of his life, a white wine also turns dark brown. The type of vine and the type of expansion also influence the color. Wines with oxidative aging like in sherry. port wine or off botrytis Berries always have a deeper, darker color.

During the bottle ripening and the complex chemical processes taking place, the tertiary develop flavors, Their training begins with the breakdown of the carbonic acid dissolved in the young wine, the polymerization of fabrics and the esterification, Everything that was "hard and angular" in wine now becomes "rounder, gentler and more harmonious". An important aspect is the "correct age of enjoyment" of a wine. Some wines have to be stored in the bottle for a few years before they can be marketed according to the legal regulations of the respective countries. But the development process of a wine also comes to an end, because no wine can be kept indefinitely and does not get “forever better”. Also the cork or the closure plays an important role. If this becomes brittle and air-permeable, access by oxygen a oxidation kick off.

A frequently asked question is whether substances - and if so which ones - are broken down over time. To analytical As a result of natural aging, measurements is not a decrease in residual sugar measurable, or at most marginal (maybe 0.5 g / l). The same applies to acids and the PH value, The apparent breakdown of sweetness (sugar) in aged wines is an "imaginary" sensory sensation. The impression is essentially due to the fact that other substances in the wine like tannins, such as vegetable and mineral Tones can be tasted more clearly, while the fruity Grades is significantly less present. Boy Sweet wines That's why they taste so in their primary fruit phase sweet because the youthful fruit enhances the sweet impression. See this purely subjective taste sensation under the keyword sugar content,

In the further development phase of the wine, these primary fruit aromas slowly disappear over time, while now bitter tasting components come to the fore. Subjectively, the impression of sweetness can be noticeably less, although nothing has changed in the actual sugar content. With nominally dry wines with a few grams of residual sugar, the opposite effect can even occur. In the primary fruit phase, the existing sweetness is partly equated with fruit and is therefore not perceived separately from it. If the primary fruit disappears, the sugar remains clearly recognizable and is suddenly perceived separately, which makes the wine appear sweeter.

Oxidative processes can cause aging aromas such as Alterston and firn develop. These are usually understood as wine defects. In small quantities and with certain wines, varnishes are accepted as positive. If the cork is defective, this is one Neuverkorkung worth considering what some wineries offer as a service for their best products. A further development in the bottle up to a climax is usually only possible with still wine. At a sparkling wine (see there) the development is completed in most cases after marketing or the peak has already been reached. The same applies to all types of distillates, such as Armagnac. cognac. brandy etc. All the (positive) changes during the ripening process can be done with a quick to enjoy young wine of course not yet exist. See also for the topic under the keywords durability and vintage, such as oldest wines and most expensive wines,

Left picture: By photosforyou from Pixabay
Right picture: By gusaap from Pixabay

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