There are many factors that go into making a great wine — soil, climate, harvest, fermentation, and the list goes on and on. But the process doesn’t end once the bottle leaves our winery. You, as the consumer, play a role in maximizing a wine’s flavor once you bring a bottle home. Storing and aging can greatly impact taste once you uncork a bottle.
Storage is a key factor in a wine’s quality. Wine is a food product, and as such, must be stored at the proper temperature. For the long-term aging of wines, the ideal temperature is a consistent 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius). This is also the cellar temperature at which we age our barrels in the winery. If you do not have a dedicated wine cellar or other cold storage, just choose the coolest place in your home.
Wine is a beautiful thing. You can drink it immediately, while it’s still young. Or, you can let it age for a number of years to let it evolve. Our goal is to make wines that allow you to do either and still get great results. If you’re eager to taste a wine, go ahead and open it young. But if you have patience, let them sit and they will age well. Our vineyards produce fruit with the ideal structure and character to age for many years in the wine cellar.
That said, some wines are best when young, while others are better for aging. For example, our Pisoni Estate wines and single-vineyard wines from Lucia are best when allowed to rest for several years. These wines have such a great concentration of tannin and acidity that they blossom after a few years. On the other hand, our Lucia Pinot Noir and Chardonnay have softer tannins and a more approachable structure, making them more enjoyable to drink upon release.
Aging wine is a personal preference. Jeff Pisoni may say he likes to age his Pisoni Estate wine for 10 years before opening. Gary, on the other hand, may prefer just 10 minutes! Please consult our tasting notes for our suggestions on drinking windows for each wine.
Decanting is an important step in serving many wines, at it allows the aromatics to be more expressive. Our Pinot Noir and Syrah, for example, will benefit from 30–60 minutes of decanting. We make wines with minimal intervention (less racking, no filtrations, etc.), meaning they receive very little air in the cellar. This is important for maintaining the freshness, integrity and ageability of our wines, but it also means they will benefit from air when opened. If you prefer, rather than decanting you can simply open the bottle before you plan to drink it to let it breathe.
Another advantage of decanting is to allow you to remove sediment. Our wines are not filtered, and will form a slight sediment over time. Decanting will allow you to remove any noticeable sediment that may have formed in an aged bottle.
Decanting is common for red wines, but occasionally, you will find a Chardonnay where decanting will enhance its flavors. This is less common, but if you feel a particular vintage of Chardonnay is less expressive or more “reduced” than you’d like, don’t be afraid to decant it. Our Chardonnays are built to age, so you will find that some air may allow them to blossom.
For both red and white wines, we recommend a serving temperature of 55–60 degrees Fahrenheit (13–16 degrees Celsius). Too cold, and the aromas will be suppressed. Too warm, and the wine will seem thin and out of balance. The idea behind the cooler serving temperatures is that the wine will warm up in the glass. As it does, the wine will evolve and express more aromas because different aromatic compounds are more expressive at different temperatures.
There is an optimum temperature for every wine, at which its taste qualities show at their best, and a deviation of just a few degrees is enough to make the difference between its being attractive to drink or not.Emile Peynaud, “The Taste of Wine”
There is a common myth that red wine should be served at room temperature. But this advice stems from a time before central heating. Today, room temperature ranges between 68–72 degrees Fahrenheit (20–22 degrees Celsius), far too warm for either red or white wine. If your bottle is not at the correct temperature, cool the wine for a few minutes to bring it to the temperature down. If you are ordering our wines at a restaurant, most locations that serve our Pisoni and Lucia wines will present wines at the correct temperature. But if they are too warm, don’t be afraid to ask for an ice bucket to cool them down for a few minutes.
Similarly, if you use large stemware, you will capture more aromatic compounds to express the nose. Our favorite stemware are the Burgundy-shaped series from Riedel, Spiegelau and Zalto. But, like storage and aging, wine drinkers have their personal preferences, so go ahead and drink from small heavy tumblers like our grandparents did if you prefer!
If you ever have any questions about a specific wine, please call or write: