Aging Wines in Wine Cellars Chemistry and Flavors – Los Angeles Wine Cellar Builders
We build Custom Wine Cellars in Los Angeles to age wine in very specific conditions for a reason. Wine is inherently a complex set of chemicals and aging is a chemical process that can be understood and managed, to a point. Just as in chaos theory though the outcome is sometimes unpredictable and this unpredictability is certainly affected by many factors.
Intricate reactions between the sugars, alcohols, esters, acids, and phenolic compounds in wine are what change the aromas and the ultimate taste of the wine in the bottle. When we deliberately attempt to age wine, we try for changes that result in the wine maturing well by acquiring a desirable blend of complimentary flavors.
Although the various reactions that take place during aging can vary the taste dramatically, so can grape varietals, vineyard locations and even the weather can make a huge and dramatic difference which means even crops coming from the same location can be markedly different from year to year. Put all these factors together and the outcome is not easily quantifiable, we are not yet, and may never be, at a point where we can exactly predict the ultimate flavors the wine will develop over time.
It is likely that grapes slowly evolved the sweet taste and aromatic compounds we enjoy today over many millions of years. It is probable that this came about as grapes that were more enticing for animals to consume were consumed more frequently and therefore became more widely spread in droppings (the ideal fertilizer) than grapes that were not so enticing. Therefore the more those grapes developed appetizing qualities, the more they tended to be successful at reproducing and the more tasty the varieties became.
Interestingly there is every reason to believe that early Man (and Women) played a part in this natural selection of grapes for the very flavors we enjoy so much today. It’s therefore very possible that the very taste of grapes we have today were directly influenced by our own taste preferences.
What happens when wine ages is that as the various compounds in the wine react over time, they fashion new flavors, changing the original product into something more complex and subtle. For example, an aged Pinot Noir can acquire aromas of truffles; a Syrah wine can become fragrant with a rich spice like aroma. To get the best wine aging result, we know from experience that there is an optimal temperature and humidity level, that if maintained consistently, produces the most predictable positive resulting wine.
Los Angeles as a location has an average climate that is quite unfriendly to aging wine successfully. In addition the climate can vary enormously from day to night as well as through the seasons. As Wine Cellar Builders in Los Angeles, when we build a custom wine cellar in Los Angeles in particular, and in California generally, we usually therefore advise the inclusion of a Wine Cellar Cooling System.
Clearly if you invest in a significant quantity of wine and plan to store your collection over an extended period you will want to create the optimal environment for your wine to mature in.