Wine Life Cycle

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

The wine will improve over time, but it's not certain that you will find it to your liking. Some people like to drink it early enough because they prefer a wine that is less supple, richer in tannin and more acidic.
As shown in the diagram below, a wine has three stages of life: youth, maturity and decline (aged).

  • Youth

This is the first stage in the life of a wine. It is characterized by a strong presence of tannin, a marked structure, and generally floral and fruity notes as well as a woody side if it has been aged in oak barrels. In its youth, it can also be quite acidic.
During the young, there is what we call a "withdrawal", it is a moment during which the wine will decline before resuming its course for a better taste experience. This moment is called “bottle disease”. It may take a few months. During this period, the wine is said to be closed: it expresses very few aromas.
There are also wines made to drink during the youth, with very few tannins and easy to drink the following year of the harvest. We can take rosé wines for example.

  • Maturity

The fruity aromas having had time to ripen, the wine will be sweeter/smoother during this phase. The woody notes will soften and hand over to animal notes. The wine will also be more supple because the tannin will be less present as well as the acidity.
During this period, before the peak, there is another phase of withdrawal.
Maturity is at its peak when the wine will become more complex and reveal more aromas and more flexibility. The acidity will be almost gone. This is the best timing to drink the wine. It is only an advice, you might prefer a stronger wine or with more acidity, so you are free to open your bottle earlier.

  • Decline

After the peak comes the decline: the wine loses its taste value. It is caused by the oxidization.
This phase is quite recognizable by the color of the wine: it will tend towards a brown color. Oxidation will also be noticed through the taste of the wine, almost all aromas are gone, and you won’t find any pleasure drinking it.