Aging Red Wine at Home
When aging red wine at home, what red wine types are best? Start by looking for an under $35 Red Blend Wine that after 3-7 years of aging will probably outperform similar wines 2-3 times its price. Often, Bordeaux Blends based on Cabernet, Syrah or Merlot are the excellent aging red wine types. However, a red blend wine that includes Petite Sirah and Zinfandel will often age well too.
Finding the best aging red wine types
What’s the secret to finding red wine types that really do age well and often outperform others 2-3 times the price? Research and knowledge for aging red wine at home! But what do you research and how to gain the knowledge? And be prepared to put in the hours reading, studying and researching what’s likely to work for you. The basics and key variables are:
Region: Focus on a few regions known for excellent aging red wine types. Washington, (California) Napa, Sonoma, Paso Robles, Bordeaux & Languedoc, Rioja & Ribera del Duero (Spain). Frankly, there are many more great regions in Italy, France & South America, but start off on a few where you feel comfortable and deals are available. The Termes referenced in Red Wine Gems under $35 article was from the ‘Toro’ region near Ribera del Duero (Spain). Often you can find affordable red wine types perfect for aging in regions and vineyards next to the ones that are famous.
Look for a Native Red Blend Wine
Varietal: Understand the varietals for the regions you like. Most likely you will find the best aging red wine types are often a blend of native grapes. The skill of the winemaker is frequently best expressed in the blends which magnify the finest of what an individual vintage and region have to offer. The Numanthia Termes is based on a Tinto de Toro varietal of Tempranillo.
Winery & Winemaker: Know your winery and winemaker. Ultimately, it comes down to human decisions on how to get the most out of the grapes at hand. The same grapes in two different winemaker’s hands can yield very different results. The same winemaker that makes Numanthia Toro at $200 per bottle also makes Numanthia Termes for $25 per bottle. I have yet to see a winemaker known for great high-end wines put out a sub-par less expensive bottling. The trick is to find where the opportunities present themselves.
Aging Red Wine at Home
Vintage: When the vintage is great, the less expensive bottlings are often superb prospects for long-term value. Know the vintage. Deals abound in good vintages that are not the next ‘best of the century.’ On the other hand, don’t buy the poor vintage no matter how good the deal sounds. Bordeaux 2009 & 2010 are great vintages, but the best deals are in 2011 and 2012 – both good vintages – btw if somebody offers you a 2002 Bordeaux – well aged at a special price – run the other way.
Market: So, Wine is a business. While wineries need to sell wine in good markets and bad. The great recession of 2007-2010 produced some great values. As wine is a global business, it’s important to understand the regional economies, the vintage, and challenges affecting the wine business to know when conditions are ripe for deals.
Patience: There is always some combination of vintage, region, varietal and Winery availability that stands out each month. The key to finding a suitable red blend wine for aging is to do the research and be ready to buy when the time is right. When aging red wine at home, be sure to keep the wine in a dark cool space, preferably under 62° F and ideally at 55°F.
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