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Acidity and wine age – ask Decanter

Jim Boyce, Wolverhampton, asks: Can you settle an argument about acidity and wine age? A friend says that acidity will remain constant, but I say that it will soften. Who is right?

Stephen Skelton MW, for Decanter, replies: In technical terms, the level of acidity in bottled wine remains almost constant with age. But that’s not to say that the perception of acidity on your palate does not change.

Esters can alter our perception of sharpness – they are compounds formed during ageing, due to the reaction between alcohol and acid in the wine. Tannins and phenolics are also responsible for making a wine taste harsh, and these will drop out as sediment as a wine ages and help to soften a wine’s taste.

Stephen Skelton MW is a consultant to the English wine industry and is involved with planting vineyards for the production of sparkling wine.

Edited for Decanter.com by Laura Seal.

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