Just as a book can be a fun bit of fluff or an enduring classic, some wines are meant to be consumed right away while others are meant to age, and a wine cooling unit is required. Superb wines have sublime complexity and depth of flavor that can only be fully experienced if the wine has matured and aged. The length of time a wine needs to mature can vary tremendously, but the one consistent component for aging wines properly is temperature. The ideal temperature for wine storage ranges from 52°F to 58°F (11°C and 14°C). Once a temperature range has been chosen, it is important that it remain constant, with no fluctuation.
What is Happening As Wine Ages?
Wine maturation and aging lead to changes in wine composition. Many changes are subtle and, in fact, hardly noticeable. The significant reactions that have a noticeable impact on different sensory attributes of wine are the ones that make patient storage in temperatures controlled by quality wine cooling units worth the wait. Wine maturation affects taste, mouth feel, color, aroma, and more.
- Wine Taste. As a result of proper maturating and aging, wine has a mellower, smoother taste. Loss of acidity during the aging process results in improved taste. There are many complex dynamics that contribute to the ultimate flavor. Wine-making is truly an art.
- Mouth Feel. The sensation of wine in the mouth is the “mouth feel.” Textures for wine can be described as smooth, velvety, silky, and rough. As red wines age, for instance, tannins and color pigments bond together and produce a natural sediment. This type of mouth feel is most common in darker red wines that are 10-plus years old.
- Wine Color. One of the many appealing properties of wine is the color. White wine, for instance, starts out light yellow in color. When exposed to air in the maturation process, the color darkens and, with over-aeration, becomes brown. Sugar caramelization is another type of reaction that can affect the color of a white wine.
- Aroma. While wine is aging at an optimal temperature, thanks to a quality cooling unit, another significant change that is occurring involves aroma. Yeasty and grape aromas tend to diminish while an integration of flavors produces a fragrance both pleasing and harmonious.
It is really quite a shame that the vast majority of wine drinkers miss out on the pleasures of wine that only come as a result of proper maturation and aging, largely resulting from controlled temperatures provided by a quality wine cooling unit.