There are many parents who, to celebrate a birth, decide to invest in bottles of the vintage of the year of birth of the newborn. Commendable decision! But are all wines good for keeping for several decades? Obviously the answer is negative, but let’s try to understand the secret of wines for laying down.
For white wines, the two main characteristics that will make it a wine to lay down are acidity and the amount of sugar. These two factors have antioxidant properties that allow white wines to be preserved for many years. Of course, the vintage and the terroir are other parameters to take into account. Chablis, Sancerre, Muscadet, Sauternes (like this imperial 1995 Château Guiraud served with Wikeeps during Vinexpo 2015) and other sweet wines make excellent wines for laying down.
Red wines follow the same rule as white wines: acidity and sugar are essential to make them wines for laying down. However, tannins are also a major ingredient for the aging potential of red wines. Tannins are present in the skin, the stalk, the seeds of the grapes and the oak barrels, and are absorbed by the wine during its maceration.
Some grape varieties are more generous in tannins, such as Cabernets, Malbecs and tanning. Young red wines are heavily loaded with tannins, but these will “melt” over time. It should be noted that hot (and scorching) vintages evolve more quickly, because they are not very acidic and the tannins are generally less concentrated.
Which red wines are good for laying down? In the Bordeaux region, wines made from Cabernets are legion and offer good aging potential: between 8 and 15 years for a Cru Bourgeois, between 15 and 20 years for a Grand Cru Classé.
Loire wines also make excellent wines for laying down, like Chinons for example. Pinot Noir, the emblematic grape variety of Burgundy, often has a lower tannin content, but its acidity allows wines to be kept for 15 to 20 years after bottling.
Wikeeps storage and service systems allow you to enjoy your best wines for laying down several weeks after opening them thanks to the addition of argon gas (a neutral natural gas). It would be a shame to open such beautiful bottles without being able to enjoy them in the long run!
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