Red wines are deemed fully mature when they have dispensed much of its harsh Tannins and acquired a complexity of Flavour and Bouquet. Although white wines rarely throw a sediment, they also develop an Amalgamation of flavours that have developed into bouquet. See 401.1
Consider a Riesling with some residual sugar (sweetness). With maturation, its sweetness will be less obvious, as the sugar integrates with the acids. The tastes become complex, as mineral-like nuances take the lead over the youthful fruity and floral characteristics.
The excitement of wine collecting owes very much to drinking wines when they are at their Peak. See 301.1
Rushing the process doesn’t help but hinders
Prematurely aged wines take on less desirable characters according to D. Dubourdieu, a highly regarded French oenologist-researcher. “White wines will take on a odour of wax honey (not necessarily undesirable) resin and camphor; red wines will show cooked prunes (not necessarily undesirable) but also smell like dusty antique furniture.”
The age of the vines, the growing conditions, the harvest criteria as well as the style intended by the oenologist, are important factors that affect the age-worthiness of the wine.
Let’s consider the 1st Growth, Chateau Margaux and why the two wines, made from grapes of the same vineyard, using more or less the traditional methods at the Chateaux, have different lifespans.
- 1984 – This was poorest vintage of the 80s for the whole of Bordeaux, and some tough, charm-less Cabernet-based wines were made. Margaux was an exception although the wine made is not as refined.
- 1986 – A severe winter, dry period and then the much needed rain arrived. A violent downpour, diluted some grapes but Margaux survived. The wine is medium-full bodied with oak and tannin. There is power and concentration, as well as fullness and finesse; The Chateau states that the wine will reach its peak in the year 2005.