Yes you can keep white wine for a number of years. However just like red wine, some white wines will improve with age and some won’t. Knowing which red and white wines will benefit from being held onto for a few years or even a few decades is the tricky part.
Without trying a wine it’s hard to predict if it’ll age unless you go off assumptions. Typically I either do my research online prior to deciding to invest in a vino for ageing or I ask the experts on the cellar door or at a wine shop like Accent On Wine. These guys will have intimate knowledge about the wine and it’s ability to age in the bottle.
And don’t forget cellaring is a gamble. We can be guided as to when a wine will be at its prime or peak but there’s no hard and fast rule. Although it may feel like a sales plot at times it is wise to buy in bulk and try a bottle of your chosen tipple at different intervals to see how it’s ageing. The worst thing would be holding onto a prized bottle (or a case) for 10 years only to open it and find it has turned into tangy vinegar.
Typically whether a white wine will age will be determined by:
- Grape variety
- Soil type
- Fruit levels
- Fermentation and barrel ageing techniques
What kind of white wines age well?
Crisp white wines which aren’t overly buttery or bright yellow/gold when young can age well. However this is not a rule of thumb. Wines which fall into the above category and are made from good quality Chardonnay, Riesling and Semillon grape varietals have good ageing potential alongside vintage champagnes and dessert wines such as the French Sauternes.
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Over time these wines will become less fruit forward and more savoury with nutty, toasty and mineral characteristics. They’ll also become a deeper yellow in colour and develop a different texture in the mouth. When you come across one of these gems, or spend agonizing years holding onto one and finally open it, you’ll understand the exact reason why some white wines are better with some age. Sounds like a few humans I know 😉
If it’s a white wine which has experienced oak ageing or a technique called malolactic fermentation these will add further complexity to the wine over time.
There’s definitely no strict guidelines when it comes to ageing whites. I remember when I worked at Glengarry in Auckland city and came across the Cloudy Bay Te Koko which is an aged Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc. The winery doesn’t release it for 3 years and oak ageing is used to assist in the style they’re going for. It’s definitely not your typical Kiwi Sauvy.
And if you struggle to cellar wine like me then perhaps just opt for buying already aged wines. The good thing is you can buy and drink it straight away plus if it’s from a reputable source you’ll rest assure its been looked after well. As there’s no point in ageing white or red wine if you don’t cellar it properly to begin with! Check out my post on how to store and cellar wines for more advice on making sure your aged wines are always tasting the best they can.
Check out some of the fab aged whites I have tried this year:
Mr. Spittoon and I have been holding on to this wee bottle of 2006 Juniper Chardonnay since our Margaret River Top Drop Tour back in 2013. I couldn’t resist any longer and it was absolutely beautiful! A sunshine yellow colour on the eye with a touch of brassiness. Sea salt, oranges and oaky lemon aromas on the nose. The palate was in pure harmony with itself. The lovely silky buttery texture intertwined with gorgeous oaky fruit sweetness and perfectly balanced acidity. I have a total wine crush on this one! All opinions are based on my own taste buds. Don’t forget, wine is subjective #TCWeekdayWine #margaretriverwine #perthwine #wawine #chardonnay #topdroptours
Mr. Spittoon and I have been holding on to this wee bottle of 2006 Juniper Chardonnay since our Margaret River Top Drop Tour back in 2013. I couldn’t resist any longer and it was absolutely beautiful! A sunshine yellow colour on the eye with a touch of brassiness. Sea salt, oranges and oaky lemon aromas on the nose. The palate was in pure harmony with itself. The lovely silky buttery texture intertwined with gorgeous oaky fruit sweetness and perfectly balanced acidity. I have a total wine crush on this one! All opinions are based on my own taste buds. Don’t forget, wine is subjective”
Gosh I love when you rock up at cellar doors and they have something a little special for tasting. I tasted ‘Voices’ in October 2015 at the Talijancich cellar door and I just had to buy a bottle for $42. We couldn’t help but cracking it the other night and I was mighty impressed all over again how well this 1998 Swan Valley wine has aged! The cork was a little tricky to get out when it shattered into pieces but this predominately Semillon made wine with a touch of Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc is doing well considering it’s nearly 20 years old! On the eye it’s a stunning 24 carat gold colour, definitely showing its age. However on the nose it’s super refined and elegant with aromas of citrus spiked honey, green herbs and apricots. The palate is fresh and delicate, with smoky orchard fruit, creamy vanilla and spiced poached pear flavours. Perfectly balanced and simply exquisite. We put it through our on-glass aerator to avoid bits of cork in our glasses and this also speed up the ‘breathing’ process resulting in a super smooth tipple. All opinions are based on my own taste buds. Don’t forget, wine is subjective”
Very lucky to enjoy a glass or two of this beauty last night with @amoveablefeastcateringperth“
12 years old this Riverbank Riesling is and it’s safe to say it’s acquired those old-age characteristics as we all do! On the eye it’s a bright 9 carat gold colour. The aromas over take the senses with whiffs of petroleum, new rubber, toastiness and creamy melon. The palate is quite full on with banana, honey and a touch of refreshing citrus on the finish. I’d say this vino is near, if not currently peaking (I.e. Reaching its prime age to be consumed before it heads downhill). All opinions are based on my own taste buds”
We picked this wee Chardy up from the Heydon cellar door in Margaret River on our Top Drop Tour nearly 2 years ago now. I stashed it at the bottom of the cellar so we could keep it, at least for a little while anyway. Sandy shade of yellow with crystal clear clarity on the eye. Really interesting aromas on the nose, I was picking up smoked tropical fruits, vanilla pods, baking spiced cream and some floral notes. First impression of the palate was its freshness, for a 7 year old Chardy it’s still a baby! Smooth creamy mouthfeel with grapefruit, guava and oaked fruit flavours and a decent length finish. Lovely fine elegant structure. All opinions are based on my own taste buds”
What an awesome champagne to kick off 2016! Both Mr.Spittoon and I were literally squeezing the bottle dry to try get every last drop out. It’s a trophy golden yellow colour on the eye with a gorgeous bubbly stream of teeny tiny bubbles. Buttery rich nose with whiffs of vanilla bean, spiced citrus and tropical fruits entwined. Full of flavour yet 100% eloquent on the palate. The lovely honey and lemon notes give this nearly 15 year old champagne a palate pleasing refreshing quality. Delicious smooth mousse with a lovely citrus tang on the finish. If this is the fruits that 2016 will bear, then bring it on! All opinions are based on my own taste buds”