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Aged White Wine

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Spanish White Wine in barrels

When white wines are mentioned, it is usually in reference to young wines that have been bottled right after the fermentation process; and they should be consumed within a period of two months. However, many cellars that make white wines, include among their products, wines called white wines from barrels; these wines have been aged in oak barrels. These musts or juices are of quality, and made from grape varieties that are able to age, such is the case of godello, albariño or verdejo grapes. The final product is a more mature white wine, with a more complex structure, and a longer life.

 

Elaboration process of White Wines aged in barrels

During the elaboration process of white wines aged in barrels, the pressing of the grape, and the alcoholic and malic fermentations take place in a period of around fifteen days, as it happens with young wines. Once the fermentation is finished, the crianza(aging) stage begins, in which the first phase of aging the wine in oak barrels occurs in an oxidizing environment. After the aging period of time, established by each wine maker or by each regulatory council, in the case of denominations of origin(DO,) has passed; the aging continues in the bottle, this time in a reducing environment. This period in bottles, occurs in a temperature and humidity controlled environment, to guarantee that the chemical transformations the wine will suffer, will happen in the manner and to the extent desired, thus achieving the desired final product.

 

Spanish White Wines aged in barrels

It is enough to examine the rules set by the regulatory councils from the different denominations of origin(DO,) to know exactly how long is the aging process of white wines. In Rioja DO, all white wines aged in barrels, are aged for at least six months in oak barrels.

In vino de Rueda verdejo and Rueda DO, the established aging rule is, to age white wines for a minimum of six months in oak barrels, followed by a year in bottles, to be crianza wine. Among wines from the Galician region, there are white wines aged in barrels from different denominations of origin such as; Valdeorras or Rías Baixas DO. In the case of Rías Baixas DO the rule establishes a variety of wine called Rías Baixas barrica (barrel,) and it is applied to all wines that are part of this denomination of origin, among them albariño wine. These wines must show on their labels the number of months the wine has aged in barrels, usually three or sixmonths.

Galician wines from Valdeorras DO, are predominantly made from the godello grape variety, this grape is characterized for its ability to age. For this reason, there are several wine makers who make crianza, reserve, and grand reserve white wines as part of this denomination of origin.

In all cases, white wines aged in barrels are more structured than young white wines. If they are kept in suitable conditions, they can have a life of more than ten years, as is the case of some Rioja DO white wines. These wines have a greater durability, compared to young white wines whose high quality only lasts a little over a year.

To be able to appreciate the abundance of aromas and tastes of aged white wines, is imperative to keep in mind that the ideal temperature for the wine to be consumed, is between ten to twelve degrees Celsius or fifty to fifty three degrees Fahrenheit. On the other hand young white wines are usually consumed a bit colder, between seven and ten degrees Celsius or forty four and fifty degrees Fahrenheit. Aged white wines are excellent companions to fish and seafood dishes, but the most modern gastronomy, suggests pairing these wines with white meat original dishes or elaborated pasta dishes; among many other options.

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“Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried with fewer tensions and more tolerance” -  (Benjamin Franklin)

 

 

Aged White Wine.

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