Wines can be classified in many ways , whether by the type of grape used, its origin, aging, if its manufacturing process is in line with the environment or not, etc. This wealth is very good, because it allows us to enjoy new wines every time we go to the supermarket.
However, it also generates confusion, especially when we are in front of the wine section and we see words like “Joven”, “Crianza” “Reserva” or “Gran Reserva” . What do each of those names mean? Why are some worth more than others?
If you want to find the answers to these questions, From Bodegas Altanza we invite you to continue reading.
One of the best known ways of classifying wines through age, also known as aging. This ability is measured based on two processes: its time in the barrel and its time in the bottle, since each one will give it unique aromatic and flavor notes.
1st phase of wine aging: barrel
Within the wine-making process, the first aging phase is one of the most complex, since it is here when the final quality that the wine will obtain is determined.
In addition, during the months that the wine is contained in the barrel, both the liquid and the wood merge into one. In this way, the barrel gives the wine its tannins and aromatic notes that will be mixed with those of the wine . The characteristics that the wood gives to the wine will in turn depend on its origin, age or how toasted the wood is.
Another important factor is the oxygen that will penetrate the barrel in very fine amounts and naturally alter the chemistry of the wine. To help in this process, the barrels are placed in rows and in an area in which a constant humidity of around 75% is maintained as well as a low temperature.
The minimum time that a wine can spend in the barrel is 6 months, the maximum being 18 months depending on the amount of time you want to obtain.
2nd phase of wine aging
Once the period in the barrel has ended, the wine goes to its final bottle to finish its aging . At this stage, the wine is the wine rests in isolated bottle racks and in a room at a constant temperature in which there are hardly any sudden changes in the environment.
The way the wine rests is horizontal, as this ensures that different properties do not solidify and accumulate at the bottom of the bottle. Also, in this period, which can last from 18 to 32 months , the wine matures without oxygen, except for the one that comes through the cork.
Depending on the phases that have passed and the time in each one, the wine will be classified in different ways.
Types of Spanish wines according to their aging
In Spain there are four ways to classify wines according to their aging . These are:
- Young : also called harvest or year wine, are those wines that are bottled shortly after finishing their fermentation. That is to say, they are not usually per barrel and if they do, it is a shorter period than that of aging wines, around 6 months.
- Aging : aging is called all wine that is 24 months old, being 6 to 12 months in the barrel and the rest in the bottle. An example of crianza wine is Edulis Crianza 2017.
- Reserve: all wine that has 3 years of aging receives this name, of which 18 months were in the barrel and two years in the bottle. The Altanza Reserva 2015 is a great example of a wine with these characteristics.
- Gran Reserva: to be considered a Gran Reserva, the wines must be aged for 5 years in the cellar, of which 18 are in barrels and the rest in the bottle. They are exceptional wines that come from high quality grapes, capable of achieving an unbeatable flavor and aromatic notes as they age, as is the case with the Altanza Gran Reserva from 2011 .
It should be noted that these time intervals only apply to red wines, since white and rosé wines have a different treatment.
White wine and rosé wine Do they also age?
White and rosé wines can also age, but to preserve their qualities, the times are different. Thus, there are hardly any young white and rosé wines. An exception is the pink Atelier Altanza .
As for the rosé and white crianza wines, both must spend 6 months in the barrel and the rest in the bottle, such as the Altanza Blanco 2020 , which also has an exceptional aromatic richness.
The same pattern is repeated for reserve wines and grand reserve wines: 6 months in the barrel and the rest in the bottle, which will be around two years for the first classification, and can reach up to 4 in the case of grand reserve wines.