We always respect the seniors as they are more experienced and often, wiser. Things are kind of similar in viticulture as we also think old vines make better wines – explaining why Vieilles Vignes wines are very popular around the world.
What is Vieilles Vignes?
Sometimes you can see this descriptor on the wine label, and are passed on often by renowned winemakers and big names. Meaning “old wines” in French, the label Vieilles Vignes actually indicates that the grapes used to make this bottle come from an old wine vine.
How old is Vieilles Vignes exactly?
There is no universal, definite law defining that and it depends on different regions and wineries. For example, in Burgundy, the old vine starts from roughly 25 years. For Rhone, it starts from 50 years. The only exception around the world is the systematic Barossa old vine system in Australia, categorizing vines into 35YO, 70YO, 100YO and 125YO.
Is old vine better? Why?
Vieilles Vignes or old vine wines are usually considered of better quality by wine lovers. But why?
To truly understand the beauty of Vieilles Vignes wines, you need to acquire fundamental knowledge of a vine’s lifecycle:
- 0-3 years: The vine takes root, and branches form. However, the grapes produced during this period are not old enough for wine production yet. At this stage of wine production, the vine must be given the best conditions to grow. In terms of irrigation, in many areas, wine producers tend to cut down on the water supply a bit to get a better head start. For most of the European wine regions, they even stop the irrigation process after this period.
- 3-25 years: This period is optimal for vine growth with the roots protruding deep into the subsoil. The vine is nourished better and hence, leads to an improvement of fruit quantity and quality along with vine age during this period of time. For grape farmers, this is the ultimate period to practice pruning work to get top-quality grapes. For those who care more about quantity, this is also a heaven-like period that yields the most amount of grapes (and wines of course) since the vine is becoming more and more resilient to contribute better in every wine-producing aspect.
- 25+ years: Beyond 25 years, the amount of grapes grown goes down. However, the fruit quality continues to improve, perfect for the production of more complex, balanced, and flavorful wines. The old vines, here we are referring to their roots, are better anchored in the vineyard. The further down the vine’s roots penetrate into the soil profile, the more stable the vine’s water supply to even withstand extreme, dry seasons or days.
Some said that old vine tends to produce less fruit per hectare. As such, each fruit can then acquire more nutrients for higher ripeness and concentration. The wine produced will, therefore, be of exceptional quality. Thanks to the top grape quality and thorough wine production processes, the finished Vieilles Vignes and old vine wines are claimed to always boast enticing flavors.
But is this always true?
This is because when the age goes higher, vine health will be another concern. This variable could greatly affect the absorption of nutrients and wine quality. Thus, the mass still prefers the theory above. No wonder the price is higher for Vieilles Vignes wines!
The General Characteristics Of Vieilles Vignes/ Old Vine Wines
Generally speaking, given the limited quantity of Vieilles Vignes wine and old vine wines, you can expect the winemakers to pay most of their attention to the production process. They would have to concentrate on every element to make sure the final yield pays off the expensive cost of maintaining an old vine all along the way.
Hence, Vieilles Vignes or old vine wines often appear with a near-perfect balance of all wine elements and thus, higher potential for future development. This is exactly why Vieilles Vignes or old vine wines are also very popular for wine investors and collectors apart from drinkers. With the grapes being more exposed to the sun with fewer leaves, they can reach a unique stage of maturity, ripping right and making the wine taste more expressive, harmonious and generous.
If you are looking to pick a bottle of Vieilles Vignes wine for your next grand dinner, for your cellar or as a prestigious gift for someone important, look no further than Two More Glasses’s vast collection of old vine wines! You can even enjoy Vieilles Vignes in the comfort of your home with the free delivery service for orders over $2,500.