> I want to make some wine that I can age for up to 10 years and will have
> a shelf life of another 2 or 3 years after that.
> What must I do to make a wine so it will be for the long term?
> My thoughts are:
> just a little more tartness (which also gives us a lower pH)
> less harsh tannins (from seeds, stems and skins)
> more soft tannins (from French oak barrels)
> more concentration of flavors (saigner, extended cold soak, and
> plenty of barrel aging)
The one essential item is concentration of flavor. If the wine is a little
thin on flavor, or even just average, it will be dead or on the decline
after 10 years. So it really starts with the grapes, and it's only when you
can taste them, or taste the must, that you can decide what style of wine
you should do. Of course a saigne will help a little for tannin extraction,
but you can concentrate the flavor by freezing part of the must to remove
some water, or by adding good quality grape concentrate. In both cases, the
limit will be the Brix degree and titrable acidity. Each year, my grapes
travel a long way from California to get here, and I never really know in
advance what they will be like. It is only after crushing that I can decide
what winemaking technique I will use, so I keep all options open.