One of my favorite things about studying wine is that through my growth of knowledge, I have come to know what a wine is going to taste like before I even open it and take a sip. You can get a good idea of how the wine will taste by reading the label…one of the characteristics of the label I will pay attention to is the age of the wine.
In Spanish still wine, there are four levels of aging. These levels range from top tier “Gran Riserva” to baby “Joven” wine. Lets start at the top and make our way down:
Gran Riserva: highest aging requirements
This wine must be aged 5 years. Very pronounced secondary and tertiary notes as 2 of the required aging years must be in the bottle!
Wines labelled 'Riserva' must be aged in oak and in the bottle. Specifically, at least 1 year in the barrel, 6 months in the bottle.
'Crianza' wines must be aged 2 years, some of that spent in oak barrels! For whites, the wine has to age in oak barrels for a minimum of 6 months. For reds, one year.
'Joven' Spanish wines have no aging requirements. The wine is typically youthful and fruity.