Technique

Make Wines to Age

I’m partial to older — much older — wines when it comes to reds. I’m known for not bottling my wines until several years after their vintage. Red wines aged to their optimum point can exhibit superb balance among acidity, alcohol and tannins with layers of complex flavors and aromas. Drinking such wines in their infancy would be to miss out on the true pleasure these are meant to provide. Barolo, produced from Nebbiolo grapes, is one such wine and one of my favorites. Barolo has characteristically bold, mouth-drying tannins in its youth, a result of extensive extraction over several weeks of fermentation and a long sojourn in oak barrels. It is seldom approachable until the tannins have softened and have had a chance to become “integrated” into the wine. It may seem rustic when young, but give it 10 years, preferably more if you can, and the wine displays its full greatness. What about whites? Full-bodied, oak-aged Chardonnay, such as some of the finest Burgundies, are known to age well. High-residual sugar (RS) wines too, such as icewine, can