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Five Tips for Cellaring a Cabernet Sauvignon to Perfection

A well-crafted Cabernet Sauvignon continues to develop over time. The wine’s personality evolves in a way that leads to increased aromatic complexity and texture. When stored properly, balanced Cabernet Sauvignon can be enjoyed for decades. Here are five tips for aging a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon to ensure your patience is rewarded when you uncork that older wine you’ve been saving.

Select a cellarworthy wine

Does Cabernet Sauvignon age well? How long a red wine ages gracefully depends on two key factors: tannin and acid. Tannins are those astringent compounds derived from both the grape and the oak barrel in which the wine is aged. Over time, these compounds soften, allowing different aromas and flavors to emerge. Acid in the wine acts as a natural preservative and refers to the natural citric acid level evident in the grapes at the time of harvest. Our winemaking team works diligently to pick Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux grape varieties (Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec) at lower-than-average sugar levels in order to achieve an acid balance that will create a Cabernet Sauvignon built to age for decades.

Consider cellaring timeframe

How long to cellar Cabernet Sauvignon before opening it? It depends greatly on the style and quality of the wine. Top Cabernet Sauvignons aged in fine oak and crafted with balance can be cellared for several years, and enjoy the lasting aromatic and flavor influences of bottle age. Though many serious collectors enjoy filling their cellars with wines built to last, most Napa and Sonoma Cabernets are consumed within 1-5 years of their release. If you plan on aging red wine, be sure to take into consideration that different styles of red wine enjoy different aging potential. For example, a bottle of Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon will rest comfortably and age beautifully for a minimum of 7-10 years and continue to bring pleasure to wine collectors even after 20 years of aging in bottle. Many Russian River Valley Pinot Noirs might enjoy peak drinkability sooner at about 3-5 years.

Find the right environment

To build a basic wine cellar, designate a cool, not-too-damp, not-too-dry area in your home that is out of direct sunlight and stocked with simple wine shelves. When considering how to store Cabernet Sauvignon, avoid places like the kitchen, laundry room or boiler room, where hot temperatures and excessive vibration could negatively affect both red and white wines. Most importantly, find a place where the overall temperature is least likely to fluctuate—the key to successful wine storage is an environment wherein the wine can rest quietly and undisturbed at an even, cool temperature. The best locations are usually under a bed, on the floor in a coat closet or in a temperature-controlled basement. The ideal environment for storing Cabernet Sauvignon and other red wines maintains a consistent humidity and has a temperature of 45-65 degrees (55 degrees is optimal). Purchasing a wine cooler with temperature and humidity controls (Wine Enthusiast has a great shopping guide) helps to achieve the best wine storage conditions for cellaring your entire collection.

Lay down your bottles

How wine bottles are stored is vital to their longevity. Store Cabernet Sauvignon bottles on their sides to ensure the wine rests against its cork. This practice creates a liquid barrier between the wine and the cork and helps to prevent the cork from drying out. Cellaring wine in a location with a consistent humidity of 50-80 percent will also help to keep the corks inside resting bottles from becoming too dry.

Size matters

The size of a wine bottle affects the Cabernet Sauvignon aging process and thus the cellaring potential. Magnums and other large-format bottles enjoy an increased volume of wine resting in its glass vessel. This offers more stability from outside forces, such as heat and light, causing the evolution of flavors that take place during aging to be slowed down. The “find a wine” drop-down menu on our online store allows you to search by magnum, double magnum and imperial big bottle sizes.

4 Comments
Ash @ The Delightful Home

Such great information! It can be tempting to cellar wines “forever” or save them for longer than we should.

(Reply)
Jordan Library Trust Cabernet Sauvignon | Old Wines for Sale

[…] Jordan Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is crafted with artistic and stylistic techniques that emphasize effusive fruit and acidity over powerful tannin and alcohol to ensure graceful aging in bottle. Cork plays a critical role in the graceful evolution of these aging wines. To protect each bottle’s longevity, Jordan purchases only the top three percent quality level of wine corks from Portugal. Testing is so rigorous that typically only 20 percent of the original selection purchased earns its way into a Jordan bottle. Double magnums and imperials are also recorked every 20 years—toward the end of the cork’s optimal lifespan. A new, state-of-the-art bottling line with myriad qualitative benefits also preserves and protects each bottle for optimal ageability. Proper storage is also key to a red wine’s longevity. […]

(Reply)
Amy Winters

Thank you for writing about finding the right environment for storing your Cabernet Sauvignon wines. My husband has been thinking of turning our basement into a wine cellar, and this has helped put the possibility of doing that into perspective for us. Thank you for stating that the wine needs to be somewhere where the overall temperature is least likely to fluctuate.

(Reply)
Lisa Mattson

Hi Amy,
I’m glad it was useful.

(Reply)

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Lisa Mattson

Videographer, photographer, writer and publicist. Find me on weekends trying to capture footage of the elusive Jordan Estate jack rabbits and turkeys.

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