Kaiser: Acidity is the key to ageing wine

Rather than tannic structure or time in oak, a wine’s acidity levels are the most important factor as to whether or not it will age well according to one winemaker.

Doña Paula's Martin Kaiser

Doña Paula’s Martin Kaiser

Speaking to the drinks business during a recent visit to Argentina, Martin Kaiser, chief agronomist at Doña Paula estate, said:

“Acidity is the most important element to ageing but the wine also needs to have a good tannic structure to perform well during the micro-oxygenation process.

One of Doña Paula's single vineyard Malbecs

One of Doña Paula’s single vineyard Malbecs

Tannins absorb oxygen and transform a wine’s structure. The higher the acidity in the wine, the slower the rate of the micro-oxygenation process.”

Kaiser revealed that he was pro the use of screwcaps on wines designed to be drunk within a year or two, but not for those created to age. “Screwcaps don’t allow any air in, which leads to reductive notes of sulphur and rotten eggs,” he said.

He also admitted that South American countries and the US were less open-minded than Europeans about the idea of screwcaps.

During the discussion Kaiser spoke passionately about the influence of climate on wine styles. “Climate has a much bigger influence on a wine’s character than soil type,” he said.

Kaiser has recently undertaken exhaustive research into the effects of soil type and altitude on the character of the wines he makes at Doña Paula, which include a trio of single vineyard Malbecs.

Among his findings were that red grapes planted in warmer terroirs produce wines with aromas of red fruits and spices, while those planted in cooler areas tend to produce wines with black fruit and floral aromas.

Savoury, meaty notes meanwhile, were found to be linked to soils with a high calcium carbonate content.

“There has been less intervention during the winemaking process in Argentina recently – we’re letting the vineyards speak more,” Kaiser told db.

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