Unlocking Italian Wine Aging

Unlocking Italian Wine Aging

Unlocking Italian Wine Aging

Numerous high-end Italian wines are made to be enjoyed over a lengthy period of time. Even if you opened up a fresh bottle of Brunello only a few days ago, it can taste radically different after seven to ten years.



 When it comes to investing your hard-earned money in a bottle, you want to be certain that “different” implies nuanced and mouth-watering rather than sour and vinegary. In order to determine when the wine is at its finest for drinking, you must first identify the sweet spot.



Our tendency is to feel that determining the moment in a wine’s life at which it is at its best is a very personal decision. There are multiple allusions to maturing various Italian wines throughout this book, however there isn’t a single correct answer for any of these questions.


Trying new things is necessary. Purchase three bottles of wine that you appreciate. This is one of our favorite techniques. Take a sip as soon as you can. Make a note of it and save it for another time. 


Also, depending on how you felt about the second one, you may keep the third for as long as you’d want.
Some individuals don’t like for older wines, while others do. A dusty hardcover book fragrance may be released when the cork is popped, which some people find repulsive. If you give older wines a few hours in a decanter, you may be astonished at how much they can open up and how much they can alter over time.




Purchasing high-quality Italian wines provides a great deal of pleasure. Finding the longevity cycle that you like the most is almost like a game. And the game stays ever-challenging since new vintages are launched on a regular basis — some better than others, and all with their own distinct qualities that you must taste to fully appreciate. –


Not to make this seem too intimidating, but While aging Italian wines isn’t an exact science, there are certain rules to follow when you first start experimenting with the technique.


Reds are more often constructed to last for a long period of time….

In the first place, red wines are constructed differently than white wines, with stronger tannins and structure that enable the wines to develop over time, absorb the tannins and produce soft, fluffy, highly flavored wines that are an absolute pleasure to taste.


White wines, with the exception of select dessert wines, are designed to be drank young, and time spent in the cellar will not significantly improve their quality or flavor..

However, if you’re planning on keeping anything for more than a few years, a well-aged red wine will serve you considerably better than a young one.



… Some reds, however, do not make good candidates for aging.

Wines with milder tannins and acidity are readily available for consumption at this time of year. When it comes to Chianti, for example, the majority of the bottles under $20 are not the ideal choices for long-term maturation. However, unlike a great Barolo or Brunello, many of them will reach their peak sooner rather than later.


However, this does not rule out the possibility of certain premium bottles being matured. You may not want to spend a lot of money on a decade’s worth of aging some of the more powerful wines from terrible growing seasons.
When determining what to age, the ideal characteristics to consider are the quality and structure of the wine, as well as the vintage. 


You’ll want to look for a huge, tannic and tight Barolo from a strong year that will simply kick you in the groin. Depending on your preferences, you may choose to age that one.

There are many Italian wines that have already been aged for you. Remember those Riserva wines that we spoke about? Several years of aging in barrels, followed by a few more years in the bottle, are common for many Brunellos and Barolos before they are offered to the public. 


This is controlled by Italian winemaking laws and is reflective of the requirements specific to each area.
The fact that these wines are finished and ready to drink does not imply that they have reached their peak. There might be some of them. While some are still in their infancy, many others are well established.


Andrew drank the Antinori Solaia with which we began this novel while it was still a young man. This project was expected to last a decade or more. For our part, we recently drank some Brunellos that were 10 years old yet tasted like they had just been bottled.

We wished we had given them an additional five to ten years to complete their education.
A game, and a difficult one at that, is being played here! In a nutshell, here are some short observations on some of the most popular, cellarable Italian wines, along with ideas for how long they may be stored:


  • Depending on the vintage, excellent Barbaresco may last 10-14 years, perhaps more. 
  • • Barolo can last 10-12 years, with top Barolos lasting 20-25 years. 
  • • Amarone: can last practically indefinitely, up to 20 years in good vintages.
  • With the range of wine types available, excellent vintages of Brunello may last 20-30 years, peaking exactly around that time.
  •  • Super Tuscans: this is a shifting goal because of the variety of wine styles available, but the good ones can last several decades.

It seems unlikely that most of the bottles at your wine shop will age well.
We’d dare to predict that 80 percent to 90 percent of the bottles you’ll find in your typical wine store aren’t designed to be aged for more than five to seven years at the most. 


What is the rationale for this? Due to the fact that higher-end wines don’t sell as quickly as your usual $12 Super Tuscan, stores will likely stock just a few bottles that are supposed to be kept for a long period of time.

That’s OK, since unless you’re rich with cash, it means you won’t have to worry about maturing more than 80 percent of the wines you purchase.
Instead of agonizing about whether or not to mature your garden-variety Chianti for 10 years, simply relax and enjoy the ride; it won’t provide much more value than it would have seven years earlier. –


The second bottle of Amarone should be held until you discover that finely structured, extremely tannic Amarone that you appreciated when it was young. When you drink the wine after 10 to 15 years, you may find that you have a whole different appreciation for it.


This is another another entertaining game to play in the wine world. However, there is nothing quite like cracking up a 15-year-old Brunello you’ve been saving and sharing it with close friends and family to make it all worth it.

Finally, a word on storage: keep wines in a cold, dark place where the temperature is stable. There’s a large industry built around establishing the optimal circumstances for aging, and you can go as far as you want into it. 


We’ve had tremendous success with wine refrigerators and EuroCaves, which are intended to maintain a consistent temperature with little vibration and without sucking up all of the humidity, as ordinary refrigerators are prone to do.

In the end, what is the verdict? You should have a good time with it. Eventually, we want you to be taking out 10-year Barolos to compare to your friend’s 15-year-old Amarone after a few years of drinking them.
Take a look at how they’ve changed throughout time. Most likely, they still have time to escape.