We are often asked about the potential longevity of wines. Since our answer is dependent on several factors, let me begin by explaining a few basics of the wine making process at St. Supéry.
Grapes used to make red wine are fermented with the skins and the seeds. The skins give the color to the wine as the flesh of a red grape is clear. The seeds yield tannins (the texture that makes your mouth pucker with a chalky feeling). Once fermented, the red wines are aged in oak barrels for many months.
Grapes used to make white wine are pressed when they arrive at the winery and only the juice is then fermented. Some white wines are fermented in or aged in oak for less time than red wines. Several white wines made by St. Supéry are made in stainless steel tanks with no oak barrel contact at all (e.g. Sauvignon Blanc, Moscato, Oak Free Chardonnay).
Common questions about a wine’s longevity include:
When will this wine be best to drink?
St. Supéry’s winemaker releases a wine for sale when he feels it is ready for pleasurable consumption, so the answer is “now.” The decision to drink wine now or cellar it is a matter of personal taste. If you enjoy fresh fruit flavors, wines are often best when consumed at a young age, since fruit flavors evolve over time to reflect more subtle, dried fruit flavors. Because tannins in red wine tend to lengthen and soften over time, cellaring a young red wine with strong tannic structure will yield a more mellow wine drinking experience. As red wines age the tannins soften, the texture becomes velvety, and the fruit flavors diminish. As white wines age, they tend to develop deeper colors and slightly nutty aromas and flavors – these characteristics can be quite enjoyable. If you prefer fresh fruit flavors in a white wine, it is usually recommended to drink them within a few years of the vintage. Ask for the winemaker’s recommended years for best drinking.
How long can I keep this wine in my cellar?
Knowing that tannins from the seeds, skins and the oak gives age ability to wine, red wines usually can be cellared a long time. The life span of a wine depends on many things: the varietal ( the grapes it is make from ), the year on the bottle which is the year it was harvested, the body (tannins, bold flavors, alcohol, etc.) of the wine itself.
Generally speaking you can keep red wine longer than white wines. White wines with oak aging will keep a few years longer than a white with no oak. To find out how long to keep that special bottle you have, look at the date on the label and ask the producer about this particular win’s lifespan. Remember not all wines are created equal, each wine is different, therefore the answers vary based on how, where and when it was made.
How to store your wine at home
Storing your wine properly is the best way to keep it from deteriorating.
Temperature is the most critical aspect of your wine storage. Constant and consistent temperature is most definitely the key. Sixty degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal temperature only if it is constant all year. Temperature fluctuation will likely be detrimental to your wine, as will exposure to warm temperatures. Lightis bad for your wine. Keep your wine in a dark place. If you plan on keeping bottles for a long time, try to store them on their side or with the cork down, so that the cork will not dry out, shrink and allow air to impact your wine.