Cellar Sense

Buy a bottle. Store it in a cool dark place. Do everything you can not to open at that dinner party (we have all been there).  

Wait. Five years? Ten? More? We take a guess at when it should be opened, as knowing when to dip into a collection can be tough.  

Let’s try to make some sense of cellaring. There are four key things we consider when cellaring wine. 

It’s a balancing act 

Acid and tannin preserve wines, making them two key factors when choosing wines for the cellar. But it’s not just about looking for big, tannic wines. Look for balance! As time goes on in the cellar, acid and tannin willbothsmooth out. What starts in sync ages in sync.  

Buy multiples  

This isn’t just about hedging your bets. Aging wine is subjective, so having a few bottles of the same wine will help you to learn your aging preferences over time, which can take some experimentation. We always recommend opening one soon after purchase to help you judge its cellaring potential. We like to set goals for ourselves, writing notes on each bottle for when we plan to open it.  

Manage your expectations  

Open bottles with an open mind. Wine does not age until the perfect day or moment and then drops off completely. It’s like a long curve, with many points of promise along the way. Always look on the bright side – opening a bottle “too early” can help you to judge it for next time, and if you listen to the point above, there will be a next time. Try to have some fun, especially if you are just getting started. 

Temperature is key 

Having a cellar is great. Having a wine fridge does the job well too. The key is to keep things at a cool constant temperature (15 or 16°C is perfect). Keeping wines at room temperature will age them quickly, which is okay if you are storing wines for only 1 to 3 years. Whatever your storage situation, make sure your bottles are not in direct sunlight or near a source of heat. 

There is a lot that goes into aging wine. If you don’t have the patience, are still building your collection or simply want a specific vintage or variety, most producers and good bottle shops have a collection of museum wines for purchase.  

No matter the vintage, happy drinking!