Why do we cellar wine? The short answer is that with time in bottle, wine evolves, gains aromatic complexity and allows for structural elements to more fully integrate. The real answer? Cellaring wine is an investment in your future pleasure.
Firstly, you don’t have to have a cellar to have a cellar. Mine started in the coldest part of my closest…with two bottles. I really liked a wine I had tasted and brought two home. I then promptly forgot about them and found the wine a month later. Don’t judge me! I mean, who cleans to the back of their closets every week?!?
I opened one, I was BLOWN AWAY by the difference a month had made. I had dramatically underestimated the impact a month could have on even modest bottles. Effective immediately, all newly landed wines got a rest period before hitting the list at work (and still do when possible), and I stopped drinking from the North American cellar (the front seat of your car, on the drive home from the wine shop).
If you want a more intentional start, pick somewhere cool, dark, and annoying to access…out of sight, out of mind! Maybe under your bed? Or couch? At the back of a closet? Grab a couple flat pack twelves from your local wine store and fill em up! Add a post it to the outside so you know what’s inside or if you’re feeling feisty, download a tracking app (I use InVintory). You can build and name custom cases and digitally fill them; it really makes finding wines a breeze! Keeners can also enter the purchase information and source so returns are easy breezy. Store your bottles upside down or on their sides and invest in a pack of coloured dot stickers (red/yellow/green) and use them to keep track of your short, mid and long term bottles, or live your best digital life and create custom tags in the app.
Growing a cellar is easy! Make a budget, forecast your consumption, and shop with purpose. Even if you get ahead of your current consumption with daily drinkers, you will be handsomely rewarded.
Not sure how long to hold specific wines? Let them tell you! Open a bottle and leave a glass in the bottom, put it in the fridge and taste it over the next days. If it’s dead then next day, don’t move it from the short to mid term section. If it’s good for the next two days, keep it for up to five years. Still tasty after five days? That is one for the long haul. Are there exceptions? ABSOLUTELY. However, you gotta start somewhere. Practice makes improvement when it comes to forecasting the ageability of wine. Always keep your preferences when it comes to laying down wine. If you don’t like how mature wines taste, then don’t plan to age your wines for decades. There is absolutely no shame in the drinking wines that you like, in the development window that suits your taste. Remember that part about future pleasure? Exactly.
If you want to learn more about getting started or getting organized send me a note. Or if you started with great enthusiasm, and now have a messy garage sale of wine I can help with that too! I offer customizable solutions for wine collections of every size.