Choosing wine for your cellar

What should you keep in mind as you decide whether the Bordeaux 2007s are worth buying? Or for that matter, when you are buying any wine to grow your cellar? There are three key factors that are most important. Firstly, the wine needs to have a proven track record of holding well over time. Read more…aging1.jpg

You need to research the winemaker’s wines. Also look at wines from that appellation to learn how they have passed the test of time. Pick up a book on wine or ask friends who are wine connoisseurs about specific winemakers. You’ll quickly learn which ones have a strong track record.

Secondly, you must pay attention to the drinking window plateau. This is extremely important. The longer the period, the better it is for the wine. In other words, the longer the wine is mature and approachable, the better it is. Why do some wines age more than others? Mostly its because of the tannins.

The tannins primarily come from the seeds, stems and skins of the grapes. Try a strong cup of tea to get a sense of what tannins taste like. It is an acidic preservative and is vital to long term maturing. In time, the tannin will precipitate out of the wine and the complexity of the wine’s flavor from fruit, acid and all the other substances in it will come into greater balance. The red wines typically can be made with more tannins than the whites and therefore age better.

There’s one more factor to consider as you decide whether to buy a wine as an investment or to simply store in your cellar for a number of years. And that’s what the experts think. Whether its Robert Parker or Jancis Robinson, the experts drink a a great deal of wine and can tell what has good aging potential and what doesn’t. Its good to check with two to three experts before buying. Sometimes, an expert can get it wrong too!

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So with these factors in mind, take a look at your wine collection. Does it make sense to buy a Bordeaux 2007 at these prices? Will they appreciate in time? What about other wines that have good aging potential? Your cellar needs to be a personal reflection of your interests, your personality and often must capture your own memories.
Don’t worry too much about what others think (unless of course, you’re buying wine as an investment). When I buy wine for my collection a few other factors matter – whether I’ve met the winemaker, have been to the vineyard or have a special memory associated with the wine. (For example, I’m buying a case of the wine that was served when I proposed to my wife).

My collection is certainly not the greatest (or the smartest!) but it is uniquely me.

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