Spring clean your wine cellar

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!

Building a wine cellar

Straw - an effective insulator for our barrel hall Generally, if a wine is worthy of cellaring then it’s worth cellaring well. A great enjoyment of many wine enthusiasts is to share a bottle of an old interesting wine from the cellar with like minded friends. The quality of that wine (assuming it was good to begin with) will largely be determined by how it has spent its years since bottling. To preserve this quality while allowing the wine to carefully age it is important that the conditions in the cellar are spot on.

It is not unusual to see wines put out on display in the home, and stored in a range of weird and wonderful ways. Some of the basic principles of cellaring wine are well advocated such as lying bottles on their side in racks with the neck lower than the base of the bottle to keep the cork moist. But lets get down to the nitty gritty of what will really protect the wines you have spend time and money collecting.

Wine is susceptible to damage from a variety of sources, most importantly heat, light, dry air and vibration. A constant temperature is the greatest requirement of a wine cellar. Temperature fluctuations lead to the wine expanding and contracting inside the bottle and therefore drawing in and expelling air through the enclosure as it does so. This movement of air (wines greatest enemy) in and out of the bottle speeds up the process of oxidation, which results in premature aging. Temperature fluctuations greater than 2 degrees celsius on a daily basis will hasten the deterioration of a wine. Choosing a wine cellar location with good insulation will assist in maintaining a stable temperature.

The second most important element of a wine cellar is to aim for a temperature range between 12 and 18 degrees celsius, with the ideal temperature being around 15 degrees. This directly relates the chemical reactions that take place to a wine during aging. The higher the temperature, the more quickly these reactions occur, and the more quickly the wine will age.

Next most important is humidity, which specifically relates to wines bottled under cork, which many age worthy wines are. Low humidity or dry air can cause the cork to dry out and shrink away from the neck of the bottle allowing air to leak inside and oxidise the wine. This may happen even if the wine is correctly stored on its side, as the dryness begins from the outer exposed section of the cork. The recommended humidity range to prevent this occuring is between 65 and 75%. Humidity in excess of 80% can lead to mould developing on the bottles and labels peeling off.

Although it may be pleasing on the eye to have all of your treasured wine collection on display for all to see, it won’t do the wines themselves any favours. Like temperature, exposure to ultra violet light develops hydrogen sulphides and speeds up the chemical reactions associated with wine aging, thereby resulting in a prematurely advanced wine. White and sparkling wines are particularly susceptible, especially as many are bottled in clear or light glass.

Other factors in consider in your cellar include movement, human or otherwise around your cellar. Vibrations again speed up the reactions leading to aging, so it is best to cellar your wines in an area of your home or property where they will be undisturbed. Don’t forget the impact pests and insects can have on your wines. Aside from damaging corks and labels they can leave unpleasant aromas on your bottles which can be extremely difficult to remove.

Once you’ve got your cellar conditions right you can’t just forget about the sleeping babies inside. Keeping and maintaining records of your wine cellar is important in ensuring each bottle is drunk as close to its optimum time as possible. Researching your wines, understanding the varieties and regions, keeping tasting notes are just a few techniques to keeping on top of where your wines are up to. Buying several bottles of an age worthy wine enables you to sample a bottle at progressive points throughout the cellaring time, watching the wine develop. When you sense a wine is nearing or at its peak, you are then able to plan to consume that wine before it begins its decline. We’ve all been in the position of opening a bottle of cellared wine with much anticipation only to discover it’s so far past its best that it’s undrinkable.

Following these cellaring tips will help you Casino Dkaplan keep your wines in tip top shape so you can relax and feel confident that the next time you pull a special wine from your collection, your patience (and hard work) will be rewarded.