In our previous blog, we had discussed the cellaring potential of red wines. This time, we will throw some light on the white wines and their cellar potential. While red wines are known for their great cellaring potential most of the white wines are meant to be consumed within 1 or 2 years of their vintage year. But this doesn't mean we don't have great ageing white wines. There are all kinds of variations and exceptions. So, before cellaring white wines for an upcoming event, you must first understand what variety of wines develop complex flavours over ageing and which ones can be enjoyed young and fresh.
What determines a white wine's ageing?
The white wines having a high amount of extract and acidity have the longest ageing potential. The acidity in white wines acts as a preservative and plays a role very similar to that of tannins in red wines. Most white winemaking processes include little to no skin contact, that means white wines have a significantly lower amount of phenolic compounds as compared to red wines. Barrel fermentation and oak ageing can impart some phenols in white wines, though, increasing the ageing capacity of the wine. Similar is the case with rose wines; minimal skin contact limits their ageing potential as well.
For how long should a white wine be cellared?
While Pinot Gris or Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc and other popular crisp white pours taste best in their earlier days, diligently crafted Clare or Eden Valley Riesling whites have a cellar potential of about 8-20 years. For how long a white wine should be cellared depends on various factors like the grape variety, region, climate, harvesting period, winemaking process, and the vintage year. To make it simple, we have collected an array of white wines and clearly displayed their cellar potential, in the chart featured below.
So, the next time you buy a Riesling, try grabbing some extra bottles and hide them somewhere in a dark area for 10-15 years. You’ll be surprised at how beautifully this white evolves over ageing. Also, keep enjoying your lovely and crisp whites as every vintage has a new story to tell.