Italian red wines: aging the wines

While we all run to rejuvenate with creams, cosmetics and clothing as teenagers, someone loves the passage of time and considers it as the ideal completion of his life and achievement of perfection. No, it’s not an old zen wiseman! Here we speak of great Italian red wines: in fact, the grapes have become the must and now rest in the barrels where it says they begin their aging. The aging is a slow maturation process by which a wine reaches the maximum of its organoleptic qualities. In fact the wine does not “grow old” but rather we should say that “mature”. The French word “élever” which means to rise, to expand, to grow higher and bigger gets the idea better.

Here, in the barrels the wine just does that: it elevates his status, for malolactic fermentation, that means, malic acid is transformed into lactic acid and carbon dioxide, resulting in a total reduction of acidity that makes the wine taste softer, smother, sweeter. If the fermentation does not happen in the wood, the loss of aromas would be considerable, but thanks to the presence of the staves of the barrels it takes an interesting exchange where the wine releases acidity and enriches itself thanks to the living part of the wood.

After that, the best wines continue their adventure in small french barrels where they begin the enrichment, that is the acquisition of new aromas present in the french small toasted barrels wood and along with the micro-oxygenation due to the porosity of the wood the result is a fine job that might be called a “master jeweler” one.

We arrived at the last stage of wine making: the bottle aging concludes the aging of the wine. The bottles – dark glass to protect the wine from light – must be placed horizontally so that the wine and the natural cork are in contact, in order to avoid that the cork dries losing its elasticity so that the air might enter through the cork of the bottle causing dangerous oxidation or lost of perfumes and aromas. Even the storage rooms, cellars, should be fitted with screens or dim lights for lighting not to hit the liquid in the bottles, with the risk of altering it. Aging is not for all wines, though!

Chianti Riserva, Super Tuscans, Barolo and Brunello di Montalcino can age even 30 years (some even talk of a century!); others need to be drunk young, like regular Chianti . Then there are some Chianti wines though, who can play well on the tables both young and aged. After 24 months of maturation a good Chianti become “reserve” and brings together the energy of youth and the richness and expressiveness of maturity: what a pity they have not yet thought about use him in a beauty cream!