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Does Pinot Grigio Age Well?

Does Pinot Grigio Age Well?

In 2022, many wines are designed to be consumed within a matter of months, and it can be difficult to find wines that you can leave to age in the cellar and develop for years.

Red wines are generally more suitable for ageing, but can white wines be aged too? Pinot Grigio is one of the most popular white wines out there, made from the Pinot grape family - but can Pinot Grigio be aged? Does it age well?

If you’re thinking about ageing the bottle of Pinot Grigio you’ve had lying around since Christmas, then we’ve got you covered. Keep reading to learn all about Pinot Grigio, the ageing process, and to find out whether Pinot Grigio ages well.

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The Ins and Outs of Pinot Grigio

Pinot Grigio is one of the most well known white wines, characterised by its fruity aromas with hints of pear, citrus, green apple, and honey.

The popular wine originated from the classic French Pinot Gris grape, which was used to make the French wine Pinot Gris. The popular grape moved its way over to Northern Italy throughout the years, leading to the creation of Pinot Grigio.

These grapes are grown in beautiful vineyards in Northern Italy - in regions such as Friuli, Lombardy, and Veneto. The grapes are then put through the winemaking process to make the delicious Pinot Grigio we know and love.

Wine made from the grapes in these regions has always been known as Pinot Grigio - and although the grape didn’t originate there, Northern Italy is the largest producer of Pinot Grigio wine in the world. Pinot Grigio is imported from Northern Italy all around the globe - you can find it on the shelves of your local supermarket, and you can find it across the world in the USA.

Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris are both made from the Pinot grape family, and Pinot Grigio originated from the Pinot Gris grape. However, there are some subtle differences between the two wines.

Gris means ‘grey’ in French, and Grigio means ‘grey’ in Italian. This is because the grapes often have a grey/ blue colour when they’re harvested. The grapes are harvested earlier on so the grapes retain the fresh acidity. If vintners pick the grapes from the vine any later, then they will be sweeter, and won’t create the classic Pinot Grigio flavour.

The growing conditions in Northern Italy differ from the growing conditions in France - this means that the resulting wines have different flavours. Pinot Gris from France tends to be sweeter, whereas Pinot Grigio from Northern Italy is crisper and drier.

The signature Pinot Grigio ‘zing’ comes from when the wine is fermented. Unlike many other wines, Pinot Grigio is fermented in stainless steel tanks instead of barrels to create a crisper and clearer taste. The wine produced in barrels can have vanilla-like aromas and a slightly heavier taste.


What is Wine Ageing?

If you’re a lover of wine, then you’re probably familiar with the term ‘ageing’ or ‘cellaring’. Ageing your wine is the act of leaving your wine in desirable conditions for a number of years to allow it to develop its flavours.

You can’t just age any wine - the wine has to be suitable for ageing. Ageing wine isn't as simple as leaving your wine in your cellar or the back of your cupboard for a few years - you need to have an understanding of the different wine storage factors.

Ageing wine can allow the natural flavours to develop, and textures and flavours may develop that weren’t present when the wine was first created.

That being said, only a very small percentage of wine produced in the world is suitable for ageing.

You can store bottles of wine for years in your wine cellar or wine cabinet, but there won’t be many benefits in terms of flavour or texture. However, storing your wine for years in optimal conditions is a great way of ensuring your wine remains fresh for longer.

When storing your wine for ageing, it’s important that you take temperature into account. You don’t want your wine to get too warm, but you also don’t want your wine to reach freezing temperatures. Typically, storing your wine within the range of 11-14°C should do the trick.

However, the temperature isn’t the only thing you need to consider when you’re ageing your wine. You should also ensure that the space in which you’re ageing your wine has regulated humidity levels between 50% and 70%.

This is to protect both the bottle and the wine - if you store your wine in a space that’s too humid, then the label may peel and moisture droplets may form around the bottle, encouraging mould growth. However, if you store your wine in a space that doesn’t have enough humidity, then the cork could try out and expose your wine to oxygen.

A wine cabinet is the right way to store your wine collection in the long term, especially if you plan on ageing your wine. Wine cabinets consider the key storage factors that affect how well your wine ages, such as temperature, humidity, sunlight protection, and even vibrations.

Wine cellars, however, are the ultimate way of ageing your wine - they don’t call it ‘cellaring’ for no reason! Wine cellars are especially useful if you have a large or a varied wine collection. Wine cellars allow you to organise your wine collection by age, type, and location - so you know which wines to leave alone and which wines are ready to be served.


Can Pinot Grigio be Aged?

As established earlier, only a very small percentage of wines in the world are supposed to be aged - and the vast majority of these wines are red wines.

White wines don’t usually age as well or for as long as red wines as they’re not fermented on the grape skins, unlike red wines.

Acidity is a key factor of ageing wine. If a wine has high levels of acidity, then it is more likely to improve with age. This is because acidity works to slow down the chemical reactions within the body of the wine that causes wine to go bad and taste ‘unfresh’ after some time.

If you’re planning on ageing Pinot Grigio, then you may be disappointed. The vast majority of white wines don’t get better with age. They may remain fresh if you store them in the right conditions for long periods of time, but don’t tend to develop flavours with time unlike certain types of red wine.

White wines that don’t age very well include Pinot Grigio, the vast majority of Rosé wine, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc. Like most wines on the market, these wines are usually designed to be consumed within a couple of years after the grapes have been harvested, and the flavours and aromas won’t improve with age. However, if stored in the correct conditions, they will taste just as fresh after a few years.

Wines that age well tend to be wines that have been made using primitive equipment as the resulting wine tends to be high in tannins - which is another key factor when ageing wine.

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