Wines To Save
Fortunately, safe storage no longer requires an underground cellar. “Above” and beyond a cellar, fine wines are now stored in wine units, wine closets, and wine rooms. Present day “cellars” are found anywhere that is cool, dark, and without constant vibration. These conditions are necessary for aging wines to “lay down and rest.”
Unfortunately, bottle aged wines do not produce the immediate gratification that comes from drinking younger wines, but this time spent in a bottle is well worth the wait. They yield a more mature taste with integrated flavors not found in young wines. Unfortunately, collecting and cellaring also requires knowledge, space, and money. Aging wines for future consumption is not a hobby, an investment, or even an interest. Nor is it for everyone. But if you are passionate about wine, building a cellar is… a labor of love.
Wines To Age
- Only wines you love and plan to drink
- Have a balance of tannins and fruit
- Many reds: particularly Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Zinfandel, Merlot, Rioja, Barolo, Brunello, Barbaresco, and Pinot Noir
- Few whites: German Rieslings, vintage Champagnes, some French Bordeaux and Burgundies
- Dessert wines, such as French Sauternes and late harvest wines
Ideal Cellar Conditions
- Temperature of 55 degrees
- Humidity of 60 percent
- Vibration free
- No windows, away from any ultraviolet light
- Keeping lighting dim when in cellar and lights off when not
- Storing horizontally or upside down to keep corks wet
Filling A Cellar
- Assess wine needs and preferences
- Buy cases of favorite wines that will be consumed given your current lifestyle.
- Buy special cases of special wines for longer-term aging.
- Arrange by varietal.
- Place wines ready to drink within reaching distance.
- Place wines to age out of reach.
- Buy insurance coverage for your storage system and wine.
- Develop either a paper record keeping system or purchase computer software for inventory.
- Drink wines before they get old, and restock as you drink.