Why Do You Age Red Wine But Not White Wine?
Adventuring in the world of wine means getting familiar with California wine versus France wine and then tackling all of the different kinds of wine themselves. You already know that red wine is different than white wine, of course, but are you familiar with the aging process and how it differs from one type to the next? Let’s take a close look at it and see just what we can expect.
Aging and wine
If you’ve done some research, you may have picked up the fact that no one talks about aging white wine, just red wine. In fact, everyone talks endlessly about aging red wine and the best practices for this. But what about white wine? Is it even aged?
Technically, you can age white wine. Some wineries do. However, it’s not a popular practice. Since red wine gets better with age, the focus shifts understandably to aging reds instead of whites.
Why you age red wine
Red wine is aged because it’s understood that when it’s bottled, it’s essentially in its infancy. Over the years, with proper storage, the red wine evolves into a better version of itself with each passing season. As the flavors in the wine mingle and meld and blend, it creates a rich, unmatched taste that you just can’t get when you drink red wine that is only a few years old.
This is similar to how some leftovers taste better a day later or how many chili lovers will deliberately make chili the day before they need it since the flavors get a chance to work through the dish overnight. Red wine is the same, though you’ll want to replace “night” with “years.”
Why you don’t age white wine
So, if that’s the understanding with red wine, then why not age white wines too? As mentioned, you can absolutely age white wine. Some will, for 1-3 years. However, the crispness of white wine will taper off after those few years. So, 10-year-old white wine won’t be as delicious as 2-year-old white wine.
This is similar to how carbonated soda loses its carbonation so shortly after its opening. It’s delicious, nonetheless, but it’s losing its crispness and tartness that makes it so noticeable and preferred in the first place.
Age is more than just a number
What this all means, then, is that the old expression of things getting better as they age is only going to be the case with red wines rather than white wines. If you wait patiently for 15 or 20 years, you’ll have “missed the boat” with any of the white wines from California that you’ve chosen. Will they still be good? Sure, but not nearly as good as they were in years 1-3.
Reds, on the other hand, do get better with age. In fact, they get a whole lot better with age. Opening a bottle of red wine would be a disaster after 5 years (in most people’s perspectives) when it would taste so much better after mixing for 15-20 years.
Both red and white wines are wonderful, delicious wines that will satisfy your needs differently from one to the other. When you’re hunting specifically for a way to figure out how to enjoy both, keep aging in mind!