Most wines sold in the U.S. are made for immediate consumption without the need for cellaring. Some wine lovers, however, prefer to “lay wine down,”—or store bottles for a few years in order to enjoy them when the flavors have evolved.So what happens as wine ages, and how do its flavors change? Which wines should be aged? And, most importantly, why do we age wines at all? Here’s what you need to know.
What happens to wine’s flavor as it ages?
When wines are young, we taste their primary flavors, like grassiness in Sauvignon Blanc, plum in Merlot, apricot in Viognier or citrus in Riesling. We may also notice some secondary notes associated with winemaking techniques, like the vanilla flavor of oak or buttery nuances from malolactic fermentation.When wines age, we start speaking about tertiary notes, or flavors that come from development. This could mean young, bold notions of fresh fruit that become gradually more subdued and reminiscent of dried fruit. Other flavors, previously hidden by bold primary notes, come to the fore, like honey, herbal notes, hay, mushroom, stone and earth.
What causes these changes?
in wine is ever static. Acids and alcohols react to form new compounds. Other compounds can dissolve, only to combine again in another fashion. These processes happen constantly and at different rates. Every time you open a bottle, you catch the wine at another stage in its development, with new and different nuances. While the proportion of alcohol, acids and sugars stay the same, the flavors continue to change.
How texture develops in wine
Texturally, the wines also change. Dry, aged white wines can become almost viscous and oily, while reds tend to feel smoother. This is due to phenolic compounds like tannins falling out as sediment over time [ . . . ]
Continue at WINE ENTHUSIAST: What Really Happens as Wine Ages? | Wine Enthusiast Magazine
Drill down into a vintner’s experience these days and you’ll find an internship in Bordeaux, a harvest in Australia, a year in Argentina, a progressive stint in California. The movement of winemakers around the globe resembles nothing so much as an in-flight magazine’s map of airline routes.
One path, though, has become more heavily grooved in recent years. More and more winemakers (many representing major houses back home) are traveling on a one-way ticket—from France to the West Coast of the United States. It’s a commitment to concentrate on land lesser known than the great domaines and châteaux of Burgundy or Bordeaux; to raise families an ocean and a continent apart from grandparents; and to risk entire careers on early promise and a hunch [ . . . ]
Continue Reading at ROBB REPORT: Why Old World French Winemakers are Choosing to Grow in Napa Valley – Robb Report
If working a wine grape harvest is on your bucket list, 2018 may be the year you realize the dream if you are eligible for employment in France. Due in part to an exceptionally hot summer in regions such as Jura and Alsace, the harvest date has crept up, leaving many growers in search of seasonal workers. As in other parts of the world, an agricultural labor shortage has become more common in recent years. In 2018, the early harvest in some parts of France has presented additional scheduling issues. Experienced pickers expect the work to begin a bit later in the year, and many of them are tied up with other jobs or are on leave.
Vineyard owners also say there seem to be fewer applicants as seasonal jobs appear less lucrative than in the past when some producers even held a waiting list for volunteers eager for the experience. Now some growers are prepared to provide bonuses, wine and small gifts to entice workers to choose their vineyards. Elise Bathelier is the human resources manager for Domaine Faiveley in Burgundy.
Employers realize the need to broadcast job openings via social media in addition to job fairs and personal networking. In late July, Alsace producer Domaine Allimant-Laugner posted on Facebook, “Harvest is approaching! Festivities launch on 8/24 or 8/27 with eight days of crémant harvest. Who wants to join our team?” Responses were met with personal messages regarding next steps. Soélis Défi, a provider of rural job matching services, has published an easy-to-use application form on Facebook.
The 2018 harvest in France is expected to produce a significant improvement on the yields of record-breakingly low 2017. According to July 2018 reports from the French Ministry of Agriculture, estimates are up double digits over last year. This is good news for the growers, but all those grapes must be picked at the perfect time.
Harvest is a flurry of urgent activity, with bands of laborers streaming down the rows with clippers. Harvested grapes are placed into bins that are carried or held on one’s back — when the bins are full they go into larger containers to be taken into the winery. This continues for days to weeks, depending on the size of the vineyard and the pattern of grapes being harvested.
Because grapes are harvested when they are perfectly ripe, certain portions of a single vineyard could be picked in their own time. Having a mobile team of workers on hand makes this process much easier. As vineyards blush closer to that magic moment, growers hope that plenty of eligible people answer the call.