Nothing revitalises us more than the arrival of warm weather. Use your energy this Spring to focus on one area of our home that is often neglected, the wine cellar. Our wine cellar deserves attention as the contents are often of high monetary or sentimental value, and are not of an interminable quality. To open a bottle of prized wine only to discover it has been left to cellar for too long is at best frustrating. While not completely unavoidable, this can be minimised with a little effort and a few organisational skills. Then you can rest easy knowing your wine cellar is under control, and all you have to do is drink the stuff.
A wine inventory diary is an invaluable tool for those serious about looking after their wine cellar. While there are several software programs available for those with enviable wine cellars, for many of us a more simple record of what we have, how much we have and when we estimate we should drink it is enough. Tallis Wine has done the hard work for you with a free downloadable wine inventory diary to help you keep track of your cellar. Tallisman members can use the wine inventory in conjunction with their Tallisman wine diary to have a more comprehensive record. Now lets get down to the nitty gritty on how to sort your wines.
Bearing in mind that wines being aged should be disturbed as little as possible, get down on your hands and knees and look through the racks to work out exactly what you have in your cellar. Record all the wines into your wine inventory diary, and keep an eye out for any leaking corks or screw caps. Leaking bottles should be isolated and flagged for early consumption as it is highly likely these wines will have been exposed to oxygen and may no longer be at their best.
Information derived from your wine diary and wine inventory notes will enable your wine cellar to be divided into a number of zones which could be:
1. Drink now white wines
2. Drink now red wines – this should include young reds intended for immediate consumption and aged reds ready for consumption.
3. White wines to be aged
4. Red wines to be aged
5. Sparkling wines
6. Fortified wines
With a few exceptions white wine generally is intended to be consumed while young and fresh. Riesling, Semillon and chardonnay are whites that can handle aging, and often improve as a consequence. Most other whites however start to lose their freshness within the first couple of years as the acidity and primary fruit characters start to fade. By flagging your white wines to be consumed within the first few years of their life, you will be rewarded. Your “drink now” holantinggame.net white wines should be stored together in an easily accessible area of your wine cellar. Storing by variety, for example, viognier on the first row, sauvignon blanc on the second and so on will make it easy putting your hand on the right type of wine in an instant.
For white wines capable of aging it is important to watch their progress to determine their optimum drinking time. For this reason purchasing multiple bottles of such wines is advantageous as the wine can be tried at varying times of its life cycle. With experience you will be able to estimate the best time to drink the wine based on how it changes. You may choose to store a portion of these whites with your drink now whites, particularly if you enjoy the variety both young and with some bottle age. The remaining whites that you wish to lay down for some time should be stored in a less accessible zone of your wine cellar.
Rosè wines should be treated in the same fashion as white wines in that they are intended to be consumed while young. Store your rosè in an easy to get to place in your cellar and remember to drink it at your earliest opportunity. Rosè is not intended for aging.
Now on to the reds in your cellar. While most of the wines produced in Australia today are ready for immediate consumption, many will benefit from some bottle age. Aging the right wine can be very rewarding. Primary fruit characters mellow as a wine ages, and secondary flavour compounds become apparent and add to the complexity of a wine. The acidity generally softens and the tannins become rounder.
Wine ages at different rates depending on variety, style and quality. Price is not necessarily a reliable factor. The structure of the wine will give many clues as to how well a wine will age. Good levels of tannin and acidity and intensity of primary fruit are some of the more important factors which give a wine longevity. Beware of aging sweet red wines where the sweetness is used to hide a lack of tannin or fruit character. These types of wines tend to age into sweet hollow wines of little character. It should be remembered however that not everyone likes aged wine. It is worth sampling a variety of wines with bottle age before subjecting the contents of your wine cellar to years of rest.
Don’t be afraid to discard the wines you know to be past their best. For interests sake, by all means try them, but if a wine is truly past it, there is not much point hanging onto the bottle, unless it is for sentimental purposes, and even then…..
Remember the saying: Life’s too short to drink bad wine!