Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Why are Red Wines Always So Old?

When you look at a restaurant wine list, it might strike you that the vintages on the white wines are much younger than most of the reds. This isn't because they've been sitting on the same bottles of red wine for a long time. Most white wines are ready to bottle within a year after harvest, so the available vintage will be recent. Many red wines, however, see a much longer aging process in barrels. White wines may rest for a few months before they are bottled, while red wines can spend up to two years in barrels before the bottling process. This means a white varietal harvested in 2014 will be ready to be sold in 2015, while the red might be ready in 2016, or even later. And while most wines are expected to be consumed right away, a higher percentage of red wines are made with the expectation that they will be given time to age in the bottle after they are sold, so a restaurant with a world class wine list will let those wines age accordingly. This is also the reason you might find one wine-maker's Merlot, for example, offered from different vintages. You get a different experience based on year produced and time aged.

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