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When it comes to aging wines, our minds often conjure images of first growth Bordeauxs gracefully maturing in cellars of early investors in FTX. D̶o̶n̶'̶t̶ ̶f̶o̶r̶g̶e̶t̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶w̶r̶i̶t̶e̶ ̶y̶o̶u̶r̶ ̶B̶o̶r̶d̶e̶a̶u̶x̶ ̶t̶a̶k̶e̶d̶o̶w̶n̶. However, the world of aging wine is not limited to Bordeauxs or even reds for that matter. Aging white wines is a thing too. Often overlooked, aged white wines can be a zen-like experience. In this entry, we will explore the awesomeness of aging white wines, dissecting the nuances and highlighting specific wines that capture the phenomenon of time.
Understanding the Magic of Aging White Wines
Aging white wines may sound unconventional, but it's a practice that holds the potential to create memorable sensory experiences. The process allows the interplay of acidity, fruitiness, and minerality to evolve, resulting in wines that transcend their youthful exuberance. At the risk of sounding like we are writing lyrics for a country music song, white wines are not typically not cellaring as much as they are for drinking.
Choosing the Right Candidates for Aging
Not all white wines are suited for aging. Selecting wines with high acidity, noticeable structure, and intense flavors is key. Here are a few white wine varietals known for their aging potential:
Chardonnay: This versatile grape boasts a remarkable ability to age. Look for Chardonnays from Burgundy, such as Chassagne-Montrachet or Meursault. These wines develop rich textures and intricate layers over time.
Riesling: Known for its high acidity and ability to express terroir, Rieslings from regions like Germany's Mosel and Alsace in France can develop stunning complexities, ranging from petrol (sorry if you drive an EV and have forgotten everything you know about fossil fuels) notes to honeyed aromas.
Sauternes: A dessert wine made from Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc grapes affected by noble rot, Sauternes gains unparalleled complexity as it ages. Château d'Yquem stands as an iconic example. These wines are simply so tasty like a lemon cake from Grandma's or Publix.
Exemplars of Aged White Wines
Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru "Les Combettes" 2005: This Chardonnay from Burgundy showcases the transformative power of aging. Over the years, its initial citrus notes have evolved into layers of toasted nuts, butterscotch, and a lingering minerality.
Dr. Loosen Erdener Prälat Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel 2010: From the Mosel region, this Riesling displays the remarkable aging potential of the varietal. Starting with vibrant fruitiness, it ages into a symphony of dried apricots, honey, and a fascinating interplay of sweet and tangy flavors.
Château Suduiraut Sauternes 1997: A classic example of a mature Sauternes, this wine is a testament to the alchemy of time. With its intense aromas of dried fruits, honey, and caramel, it's a sweet nectar that has grown more enchanting over the years.
The Art of Cellaring
Proper storage is vital for aging white wines. Keep them away from light, vibrations (that includes Good Vibrations by the Beach Boys), and temperature fluctuations. A dedicated wine cellar or a wine fridge with controlled humidity and temperature settings is ideal. No dishwashers!
Aging white wines is an odyssey into a realm of refined flavors, intricate aromas, and unexpected transformations. As you venture into this world of aged whites, remember that patience is rewarded, and every bottle uncorked is a testament to the enduring beauty of time. Patience over party.
So, the next time you consider adding a bottle to your collection, don't overlook the potential of aging white wines. Just like their red counterparts, they too hold the promise of becoming extraordinary with the passage of time.
<Good Vibrations by the Beach Boys fades in as we pop a bottle of Sauternes that we should have cellared especially after writing this blog>
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