Spotlighting Pinot Noir: Does It Age Well in Barrels?

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Did you know that wine was invented in 6,000 BC? Back then, people weren’t able to enjoy all the wine varieties that exist today. Perhaps one of the most famous types of wine is Pinot Noir, a delicious red wine originally grown in France.

Today, there are few wine drinkers who have not tried this kind of wine. That’s because there isn’t anything to dislike about it; its flavors and aromas are perfect. But would Pinot Noir be even better if you age it in a barrel?

Keep reading about this wine and if aging Pinot Noir makes it better.

What Is Pinot Noir?

Before learning about whether or not Pinot Noir ages well in oak barrels, you should first understand what Pinot Noir is in the first place. As mentioned before, this wine was first grown in the Burgundy region of France. Pinot Noir wine is created from grapes with thin skins, which give the wine some of its unique flavors.

Today, quality Pinot Noir is not just produced in France. Because it is such a lovable wine, people have started to grow this grape variety all over the world. For that reason, bottles of Pinot Noir from different parts of the world tend to taste slightly different according to the local nutrients and climate native to each region.

However, the world’s most prized brands of Pinot Noir still come from Burgundy. When you taste this wine for the first time, you will discover hints of mushrooms, black cherries, earth, and ripe fruit. Despite being such a popular wine, Pinot Noir grapes are some of the most difficult to grow. 

The difficulties in growing Pinot Noir grapes are due to how thin their skins are. Pinot Noir grapes do not grow well in cold temperatures because of their thin skins. In addition, these grapes are also susceptible to damage in high temperatures due to their thin exterior skins.

Furthermore, these grapes tend to grow in very tight clusters. When grapes grow so tightly, grapes in the center of the cluster tend to ripen later than the grapes on the outside of the cluster. This uneven ripening is not ideal for grape cultivators and it makes it difficult to time the harvest.

For these reasons, grape cultivators have to be very careful when growing these grapes. Otherwise, the whole harvest could be all for nothing. But what happens when you age this wine?

Aging Pinot Noir

Does Pinot Noir age well? It all depends on how you age it. If you don’t age the wine in the right fashion, you will find that the flavors will become too earthy and too smoky.

On the other hand, if you age red wine the right way, the flavors will become more complex, interesting, and, of course, delicious. This kind of wine doesn’t have to be aged, but when it is, wine manufacturers usually choose to put it in oak barrels.

Some wine producers prefer to use new oak barrels that have not aged any other products previously. Other producers will age in used barrels which have previously held other spirits, such as bourbon, to impart different flavors into their wine. The cask used to age wine will greatly impact the final flavors of the wine.

For example, a fresh, new barrel will provide the wine with a much stronger notes of oak. That’s because all the oak’s flavor will still be rich within the wood. On the other hand, a barrel will have less oak characteristics with each additional use.

You can use the same barrel to age drinks a few times before all the oak flavor disappears. This is important to consider if you don’t like the taste of oak. When you put Pinot Noir in a new barrel for a year or more, it will become infused with strong flavors of oak. 

Some people love this extra layer of woodiness while others do not. If you age the wine in a barrel that has aged another drink such as bourbon, the oak flavor will be less strong. Instead, the wine will pick up some of the bourbon flavors resulting in a bolder flavors. 

The Details of Aging Pinot Noir

Aging Pinot Noir can give it a chance to develop deep and complex flavors. The longer it ages, the more complex its flavors will become. For example, it may develop hints of molasses, wood, and leather in addition to its fruity profile. 

Stainless steel barrels do not provide the wine with any extra flavor. For that reason, when you age Pinot Noir in stainless steel, the drink will have the chance to develop its own flavors rather than flavors from the barrel.

Everything You Need to Know About Aging Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is one of the best wines around and you can make it even better by aging in oak barrels. To learn more about different barrels for aging, contact us here.

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