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Ageing a wine: when and why

It often happens that you are given a fine wine as a gift, or buy one for a special occasion, and then leave it on display on a shelf to wait for the moment that deserves to be celebrated by uncorking the precious bottle… However, when you finally decide to taste it, it is not always at its best. This happens because not all wines are destined for lengthy ageing, and above all, because in most cases they are not preserved correctly, in a cellar, in a horizontal position, protected from light and excess heat. All wines evolve in the bottle, some evolve with positive effects, others not so.

Indeed, in some cases, evolution, or rather ageing, in the bottle changes the profile without adding notes of complexity, while in other cases, the body and structure of the wine improve to ensure a more  fully developed product that will express its full potential. This depends for the most part on the vintage, the grapes used, the area of production and the way the wine has been made. Generally, white wines, with rare exceptions such as Bianca di Valguarnera, do not have the characteristics to be particularly long-lived, as is also the case for rosé and sparkling wines.

There is, however, a widespread conviction that red wines are always suited to ageing in the bottle. This is a myth; wines suited to long ageing in the bottle have to have it in their DNA. For example, it is important that they are produced with grapes harvested when perfectly ripe, grown in areas best suited to the specific variety and on vines with low yield, as well as then being preserved in optimal conditions. This means that the bottle of wine you bought on the occasion of your child’s birth will not necessarily be perfect on his tenth birthday. So unless you have a great wine for ageing, such as Duca Enrico, in your hands, do not wait too long, uncork it and enjoy it at its best!

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