Feb 2016- Aging Wine
Aging Missouri Varietals
By Gabriel Miller
With the emerging popularity of the wines produced here in the state of Missouri, many visitors to the winery tasting room have been asking how long to hold and age these varietals. For the most part, Missouri wines will be ready to drink at the time they are released, however some Missouri wines can certainly hold up to proper cellaring.
Fruit Forward White Wines
Missouri white wines like Vignoles, Traminette, Vidal, or Seyval are not recommended for cellaring or aging. These wines are best young, and are ready to drink as soon as the winery releases them. This does not mean that the wines will go bad if they are not drunk immediately, but generally speaking they should be consumed within a few months to one year from purchase.
Barrel Aged White Wines
White wines that spend time in a barrel tend to hold up better to aging than their un-oaked counterparts. Most barrel aged wines in Missouri are made from Chardonnel or Vidal Blanc grapes, and will keep in the cellar for 1-3 years, however aging is not necessary.
Rosé and Blush Wines
Rosé and blush style wines should be consumed quickly after purchase. This style of wine does not lend itself to aging or cellaring. The color and flavor of these style wines will fade and should be enjoyed within a few months from purchase.
Light Bodied and Un-oaked Red Wines
Lighter styles of Missouri red wines are normally not created with long-term aging in mind. As a general rule, these types of wine should be treated similarly to light and fruity white wines and are best consumed within one year of purchase.
Barrel Aged Red Wines
There are two standard red wine grapes that are used for dry red barrel aged wine at most Missouri wineries – Chambourcin and Norton. Chambourcin tends to be lighter than Norton, and can usually only stand up to 2-4 years of oak aging at the maximum. Norton, on the other hand, can easily be aged for 5-10 years and develop new enticing characteristics over time. It is important to remember than neither variety requires aging, if you prefer your red wines more fruit forward and with more acidic kick they are better consumed young, however if you like softer wines with more minerality and subtlety, then cellaring is appropriate.
Port Style Dessert Wines
Fortified or Port Style dessert wines are very popular at Missouri wineries and are a great option for wine collectors who want to lay down or cellar wines for extended periods of time. This style of wine will change and evolve for decades under proper cellar conditions. For those who want to purchase a wine to enjoy 20-30 years from now, these wines will most likely hold up and be great to enjoy.
Following these general guidelines is the best way to ensure you get the most pleasure out of your Missouri wine purchases. Normally all Missouri wine is ready to drink immediately upon release, but there are some wines that we make that can and will change and age quite gracefully over time. Tasting room staffs are a great resource for you if you have any further questions about a specific wine and how long it will age.