Wine Wednesday: Ageing Rhône Wines
Cheers and welcome to another wonderful Wine Wednesday! Ok, so picture this: you have just visited an incredible Sonoma winery, and have decided to take some wine home. You get a few “drink now” bottles, and decide to treat yourself by purchasing that special Reserve wine. You know, the one you think you can’t open for 20 years and until the MOST special day of your life, whatever that may be. We're going to debunk that last statement. First off, anytime can be a special time to open wine. Don’t wait for the occasion, make the opening of the bottle the occasion! Wine is meant to be drunk and enjoyed. Second, some wines don’t actually need as much time for ageing as you would think. Actually, only about 1% of all wine produced in the world is really meant to be aged. We know, our minds are blown, too! Check out our (Rhône focused) breakdown below:
Viognier - Generally speaking, Viogniers are meant to be drunk young, within about 3 years of release, in order to preserve the floral, lush flavor that is usually the desired quality from this wine.
Picpoul - Drink Picpouls right away. Known for their crisp acidity and freshness, which will only fade with ageing.
Marsanne - Marsanne has the potential to age for up to 15 years. Ageing produces a deeper colored, silky, oily wine, with rich honeyed flavors.
Roussanne - Roussanne is an interesting grape in that it is known to have a period where you really shouldn’t drink it. Either drink this wine young, within 3 years of release, for fruity and floral notes, or wait until about 8 years of age, for more nutty flavors to shine through.
Grenache - Many Grenaches are best drunk within 2 years of release, as Grenache tends to oxidize quickly and drinking young preserves the delicate, red fruity, spicy, earthy flavors. The best selections, however, from producers in California, Australia, and Chateauneuf-du-Pape, however, can lay down anywhere from 5-20 years.
Mourvèdre - Mourvèdre, though delicious when young, have ageing potential for 10-20 years, in order to develop their leather, earth, and tobacco notes.
Syrah - Ageing for Syrah is very dependent on the style. Northern Rhône styles can be drunk young for explosive purple fruits and meaty, peppery notes, or between 12-20 years of age for more delicate and velvety notes. California Syrahs, which are expected to be more fruit forward, do well with less age.