We can not guess how the wine of the future will be, but the trends mark a series of parameters that tell us roughly where they will go. As to how the “crianza” wines of the future will be, we rely on the new techniques that are researched to continue with the initial goal of this kind of wine, that is to preserve the flavour of the product.
Trends in wine ageing
When we talk about “crianza” wines we refer to an ageing and maturation process that pursues the best aromas and nuances, either in barrels, in tanks or in the bottle itself.
Red “crianza” wine has minimum ageing of 24 months, 6 of them in oak barrels. In white and rosé wines, the total maturation time is 18 months, 6 of which, at least, must be carried out in barrels.
Wine has always been preserved in wooden barrels. Then several types of wood emerged. For example, there is Spanish oak, that provides great potential for ageing, and Hungarian oak, which preserves fruit aromas more than French oak. Other woods used are those of pine or chestnut that have a lower cost.
The trends of the 80s and 90s, where an excess of wood eclipsed the rest of the aromas, are being abandoned. Now the ageing wines have spicy aromas, with a strong personality and must rest in other places, not only in wood.
On the other hand, we see that, in some Denominations of Origin as La Rioja, wines with a shorter ageing are being produced. That maintains the fruitiness of the grape without losing a touch of wood that adds complexity. We think that “half ageing” is a great trend that the current consumer appreciates and has a long journey ahead.
From 2017 onwards, the expansion of wineries that opted for the use for fermentation and ageing in more neutral containers began, giving priority to the characteristics of the grape varieties, the terroir and its personality, rather than to the aromatic and structural contribution of materials such as wood.
Among the new trends that are established for ageing wines, there is the preservation in places other than wood, such as jars that, in addition, to recover traditional, ancestral methods, the porosity of the clay allows the micro-oxygenation of the wine. There is also the ageing in concrete, which performs transpiration similar to wood and provides oxygen to the ageing of the wine, but without adding flavours. It is already onset in some wineries.
Other places are using ageing in a Flex Tank, a container that, through micro-oxygenation by porosity, adds complexity to the wine while maintaining fruitiness and freshness. We will be attentive to such changes.