When wine ages in a bottle, a number of chemical and physical changes occur that can affect its taste, aroma, and appearance. Some of the most significant changes that occur during aging include:
- Oxidation: As wine ages, it is exposed to small amounts of air in the bottle, which can cause the wine to oxidize. This can lead to changes in color, aroma, and flavor, and can also contribute to the development of more complex and nuanced flavors.
- Evaporation: Over time, some of the wine in the bottle will evaporate, which can concentrate the flavors and aromas that remain.
- Chemical reactions: As wine ages, various chemical reactions take place, including the formation of new compounds and the breakdown of others. These reactions can contribute to the development of more complex and nuanced flavors, as well as the development of sediment in the bottle.
- Tannin and acidity: Tannins and acids play a key role in the aging of wine. Over time, tannins can soften and become more integrated into the wine, contributing to a smoother and more balanced flavor profile. At the same time, the acidity in the wine can begin to decline, which can impact its overall balance and freshness.
These changes are dependent on several factors, including the type of wine, the conditions under which it was stored, and the length of time it was aged. Some wines are meant to be consumed young and are not designed to age well, while others can age gracefully for many years, developing more complex and nuanced flavors over time.