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9:18 PM

Tuesday September 09, 2008 - Wine Regions

A Featured Wine Regions Article

Aging Wine

Wine is a complex substance. Open a bottle of it now, and it may taste fine. Open a bottle of the same wine several years from now, and the wine becomes something else entirely. Rough edges in the flavor will have smoothed out and the overall flavor of the wine will be more balanced and mellow.

Why age wine? Well, as stated above, the many components of the wine will mellow out over time, and bring a harmonious balance to the flavor of the wine. The tannins, present in red wine, bring a bitter and astringent flavor. Given time, the tannins help to age the wine. As wine ages, the tannins precipitate out of the wine, leaving a smoother and more mellow flavor. As the wine ages, the acids will lose a bit of their bite, allowing the fruit to come out more. As the components of the wine age, they also bring more complexity to the flavor. What you end up with after several years of proper aging is a complex and balanced wine.

What wines should be aged? There are certain guidelines as to what wines should and should not be aged, but they are simply guidelines, not hard and fast rules. Most wines from California are meant to be consumed immediately, and should not be aged. Most white wines should not be aged, as they have a lower amount of tannins than red wine. It is the tannins that are present in red wine that allow the wine to age well. There are a few white wines, however that will improve with a couple of years of aging. Most wines under $25 don't need to be aged. Many French wines are meant to age and mature over several years. There are exceptions to these rules. Go into a wine shop, and ask which wines they would recommend for aging. They can recommend several good wines, along with some ideas of how long to age the wine.

How do I age wine? Proper storage is essential for a wine to age well. Cooler temperatures slow down the aging process, allowing time for the complexity of the wine to develop. The wine should be stored at a constant temperature of 50-60 degrees F. Fluctuating temperatures will cause the wine and the cork to expand and contract, loosening the cork, and exposing the wine to oxygen. The wine should be stored on it's side, so that the wine is in contact with the cork, preventing it from drying out. The storage area should be dark, and have plenty of moisture to keep the cork from drying, which may loosen it, and subject the wine to oxidation.

Once you have a proper storage area for your wine, go to your local wine shop, and get their recommendations on a good aging wine. Buy a case of wine, and then open up one of the bottles when you get home and taste it. Put the rest of the bottles in storage, and start opening them after a couple of years, and note how the flavors and the complexity of the wine have changed. A new bottle of wine may be good, but a properly aged bottle is even better.

About the Author:

Learn more about wine and wine producing regions around the world. Visit Wine Country Guide.

A synopsis on Wine Regions.

Aging Wine

Wine is a complex substance. Open a bottle of it now, and it may taste fine. Open a bottle of the same wine several years from now, and the wine becom...

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Far Niente - Napa Valley Chardonnay

The 2004 California Napa Valley Chardonnay is a texturally driven wine showing beautiful balance and wonderful aromatics. The spicy, toasty oak enhances the classic aromas of mineral and fig. The fullness and mid-palate weight of this wine beautifully complement Far Niente's characteristic melon and tropical notes. The richness of this dry white wine makes it extremely approachable now, but will reward those who age it in the bottle for the next ten years. (Subject to Availabilty) FNC04 FNC04

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8:10 AM

September - Wine Train

A Featured Wine Train Article

A Restaurateurs 30 Interesting Wine Facts

As owner of a winery and also a restaurant, I often get asked a lot of questions about wine and also about the wine industry in general. So here are some great wine facts for you to savour.

1. There are 20 million acres are planted to grapes worldwide.

2. Among the world's fruit crops, wine grapes rank number one in the amount of acres planted.

3 164 countries import California wines.

4. Prunes were the primary fruit crop in Napa Valley during the 1940's.

5. 30 million gallons of wine were lost in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

6. On August 19, 1873, phylloxera was first discovered in California.

7. 10,450 acres of Napa County vineyards have been replanted in the last 15 years because of phylloxera.

8. 4,450 more acres of Napa County vineyards will need replacement.

9. It takes 4 to 5 years to harvest a commercial crop from newly replanted grape vines?

10. 10,000 varieties of wine grapes exist worldwide.

11. It costs around $1 per bottle to age wine in a French oak barrel.

12. It costs around $3 per bottle to age wine in only new French oak barrels.

13. When was the first known reference to a specific wine vintage? Answer: Roman Historian Pliny the Elder rated 121 B.C. as a vintage ?of the highest excellence.?

14. How old was the wine being ?reviewed?? Answer: 200 years old! Pliny the Elder wrote the history of the Roman Empire around 70 A.D.

15. A bottle of opened wine stored in the refrigerator lasts about 6 to 16 times longer than it would if stored at room temp.

16. There are 400 oak species.

17. 20 of them are used in making oak barrels.

18. 5% percent of an oak tree is suitable for making high grade wine barrels.

19. The 1996 grape crop in Napa Valley was down 20% - 25% from normal.

20. California, New York and Florida are the top three U.S. states in terms of wine consumption.

21. 58% percentage of legal-aged Americans contacted in a Nielson phone survey drink wine.

22. 55 percentage of restaurant wine sales are red wines.

23. $2.64 is the average cost of the grapes used to produce a $20 bottle of wine?

24. Dom Perignon (1638-1715), the Benedictine Abbey (at Hautvillers) cellar master who is generally credited with ?inventing? the Champagne making process, was blind.

25. Thomas Jefferson helped stock the wine cellars of the first five U.S. presidents and was very partial to fine Bordeaux and Madeira.

26. To prevent a sparkling wine from foaming out of the glass, pour an ounce, which will settle quickly. Pouring the remainder of the serving into this starter will not foam as much.

27. Old wine almost never turns to vinegar. It spoils by oxidation.

28. In King Tut?s Egypt (around 1300 BC), the commoners drank beer and the upper class drank wine.

29. It is the VERY slow interaction of oxygen and wine that produces the changes noticed in aging wine. It is believed that wine ages more slowly in larger bottles, since there is less oxygen per volume of wine in larger bottles. Rapid oxidation, as with a leaky cork, spoils wine.

30. Before harvest, the canopy of leaves at the top of the vine is often cut away to increase exposure to the sun and speed ripening.

We hope you enjoyed these facts.

Ian Macdonald as founder and owner of Macdonalds Gourmet Burgers combines his passion and knowledge of food, wine and nutrition with savvy business tactics. He is also the MD of a corporate consulting firm that advises on strategic negotiation, dispute resolution and workplace change. Clients are mainly from top 100 corporations. For lots of free resources from their extensive website go to:

Short Review on Wine Train

A Restaurateurs 30 Interesting Wine Facts

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Click Here to Read More About Wine ...

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