Wine collectors understand that certain wines are best consumed when they’ve been recently bottled. Other vintages develop more subtle yet flavourful tastes when they’ve aged in a proper wine storage cellar for many years. It’s a delicate dance as you expand your personal collection. You need to determine which wines belong in your refrigerator for immediate consumption vs. the bottles that become more valuable when they properly age in your personal wine cellar.
How do you identify which are the best wines to store in a wine cellar? What are the little nuances you need to consider as you add new bottles to your collection? Also, what kind of wine storage cellar do you need to store your collection so the bottles all age in the appropriate manner? Let’s break everything down and come up with a list of the best wines to store in a wine cellar.
Collector’s tip: 99% of wines are immediately consumed
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Experienced wine collectors know that only a limited number of wines are aged and preserved. Remember this little detail as you build your own wine collection. Up to 99% of bottled wines are meant to be consumed immediately, or within five years from their initial bottling date.
The remaining one percent of bottled wines are a collector’s dream. These rare vintages only get better with age, provided they’re stored in a proper wine cellar.
How does an aged wine differ from a newly bottled wine?
The expression “it ages like a fine wine” is more than just a colloquialism. It’s a statement of fact. The wine aging process takes a really good wine and transforms it into an exceptionally tasteful wine.
Each bottled wine contains a complex collection of microscopic compounds that evolve as they interact with each other. Personalized wine cellars create controlled storage environments, functioning as the perfect atmosphere to spark the wine’s transformation. Acids, sugars, phenolic compounds; each of these ingredients blend together throughout the aging process. It changes the taste and experience of the wine by elevating more subtle and complex flavours to the forefront of your personal palate.
How does the wine aging process improve a rare vintage?
Why does a wine collector practice his or her trade? Because a wine collector celebrates the art of storing and aging fine wine. Wine collectors demonstrate patience by building their collections, celebrating the perfect moment when a fine wine is ripe for consumption.
Consuming an aged wine means appreciating the romance of the terroir. You can invite guests to exclusive wine tastings by uncorking select bottles from your personal collection. Create an ambience around the swishing of small wine samples, encouraging guests to use their keen senses and identify the exact blend of flavours and textures in the vintage. Pair your chosen wines with gourmet foods like exotic cheeses or peaches to create a more appetizing experience for your guests.
Before you host these tastings, you need a proper collection of finely aged wines. Here are three ingredients to look for as you build out your personal wine collection.
Look for bottles with high tannin contents
Tannins are small substances that create a drying sensation on your palate. They’re extracted from grape skins, seeds, and stems used to produce the wine. Tannins are also found in vintage oak barrels, which are frequently used by wine producers to create rare vintages. Red wine tannins are typically extracted from grapes, while white wine tannins develop in oak barrels.
Finely aged wines typically have higher tannin contents that become less potent over time. Aged wine is chemically altered, offsetting the strong tannins with more subtle textures. Thus, it creates a new taste that can be appreciated years or decades after the vintage is bottled.
Select wines that generally have high levels of acidity
Wines with higher levels of acidity are more susceptible to the aging process. Acidity levels mellow as other compounds emerge within the vintage. The process alters the taste and texture of the wine into a new experience for your palate. Wines with much lower acidity content fall into the 99% category of vintages that should be consumed quickly.
Sugar and alcohol percentages improve the aging process
Wines with high concentrations of sugar and alcohol are better suited for aging in a wine storage cellar. Sugars and alcohol slow the aging process when stored at the right temperature. The chemical reactions are slowed, preserving the quality of the wine. Improper wine storage alters the vintage too quickly, corrupting the compound into highly acidic vinegar.
Best wines to store in a wine cellar
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You now know a lot more about the intricacies of proper wine storage. You also know how to spot wines that have the greatest potential to age in a graceful fashion.
So what are the best wines to store in a wine cellar? Here are our recommendations to procure and store in your own personal wine cellar.
Best white wines to age in a wine cellar
Let’s begin with white wines. Typically, collectors store their white wines for less time than their red counterparts. White wines are blended with less sugar, tannins, and acidity than red wines. As a result, they require less time to age.
Here’s a quick overview of some of the best white wines to add to your wine collection.
Chardonnays are among the most popular white wines in circulation. They’re often made as drier vintages with subtle sweetness and a medium to full-bodied finish. As a result, a typical Chardonnay can age anywhere between eight to ten years in a controlled wine cellar.
This is another popular white wine to add into a private collection. Sauvignon Blancs are well-known for their herbal flavours and lower acidity, and they can be preserved for up to 7.5 years. They’re more commonly consumed much sooner than that, which is common with many white wines.
Rieslings create an aromatic grape sensation when consumed. They’re much sweeter than other white wines, and they should be consumed sooner than other white wine collections. Make sure you store Rieslings in your wine cellar for no longer than 5 years to get the best taste.
Best red wines to age in a wine cellar
Now let’s move onto red wines to include in your home collection. Red wines are built for a healthy wine aging process. As a result, red wines ferment within a wine storage cellar for many years. In fact, some red wines can age for decades before they reach their premium finish.
Merlots are born from one of the most commonly planted grapes in Bordeaux, France. They’re a deep wine with musky hues and dark textures. Merlots are one of the most popular vintage wines in the world. Because of their popularity, they’re often a hallmark of any wine collection. These wines can age up to 20 years before they develop their most amazing tastes.
Cabernet Sauvignons are one of the driest wines on the planet. The reason is because they’re made with high concentrations of yeast. Yeast soaks up sugar contents within the wine, creating its signature dry taste. For this reason, Cabernet Sauvignons can gracefully age between 5 to 20 years. Complete your personal wine cellar collection with a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon.
Pinot Noirs also have bold dry finishes. They’re made with lush berry flavours and silky tannins that dissolve as they age in a wine cellar. For that reason, a Pinot Noir can be safely stored for up to 15 years in a controlled wine cellar. Make sure your red wine collection includes an aged bottle of Pinot Noir.
Build a signature wine cellar storage space to age your wines
Create your own custom wine cellar
As a connoisseur and collector of vintage wines, it only makes sense to have your own personal wine cellar. You can convert a portion of your home — ideally, the basement where light and temperature are more controlled — into a useful cellar to store your wine collection. Also, keep in mind that a well constructed wine cellar adds significant property value to your home. It can even serve as the focal point for social gatherings when you entertain guests.
Complement your wine tasting party with high-quality wine accessories. Treat your guests to a series of custom gifts like stainless steel bottle openers, three-piece cheese knife sets, and wine aroma kits to set the atmosphere. Turn your passion for wine collection into a proud form of art.