Are you looking for the perfect wedding gift? Three nice bottles of wine can make a fantastic wedding present: One to be opened on their first anniversary, one for their fifth anniversary, and a really nice one for their 10th. It is a gift that presents beautifully and has a nice personalized touch. It is also the kind of gift that keeps on giving, building excitement and anticipation while the couple grows alongside the finely aging wines.
That said, it is a common misconception that the older a wine gets, the better it tastes. Different wines have different maturation periods, and can have vastly different lifespans. So what wines will age well for the one year, five year, and 10 year increments?
Red wines, rich in tannins, have a more robust structure and are able to age over a longer period. On the other hand, white wines are lighter and will typically spoil more quickly. As a general guideline, whites will last somewhere between one to five years, while full bodied reds could comfortably age for 10 to 20 years.
In general, high quality red wines will get better with age in the bottle, maturing gracefully until the lucky couple’s tenth anniversary. But if you are looking for an age-worthy white, there are a few factors that you can look for. The first is a generous amount of acidity, which will keep the wine from falling flat over time. Phenolic bitterness is the second factor that will help to slow the chemical reactions that will break down your wine. Finally, white wines aged in oak (such as Chardonnays) will have a stronger tannin profile and therefore a longer shelf life. Generally speaking, lighter whites (such as Sauvignon Blanc) will likely only last a year or two. Chardonnays could age for two or three years, while oaked Chardonnay might last upwards of five years.
The same factors affect red wines, but they are insulated somewhat by their high tannins. Lighter red wines like Pinot Noir or Malbec often have a shelf life of about 10 years, while robust varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon could age up to 20 years.
If wine has moved past its shelf life, it will lose its fruity flavors and its bright color. Your Chardonnay could go bad if unopened, but it is still perfectly safe to drink - it just won’t taste very good!
A personalized wine wedding gift is a truly memorable way to show your appreciation of the newlyweds. You can add a number of special touches to make this gift truly unique. Packing the wines in a nice box or basket can make for beautiful presentation, while including photos or letters to be opened on their anniversary is a fun way to go the extra mile.
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