How to cellar wine

November 29, 2012, 4:18 pm Alex Trescowthick Yahoo!7

Have you always been curious about cellaring wines? This week Alex Trescowthick looks at the basics that you need to know when building your home cellar.

How to cellar wine
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Follow Alex on Twitter: @nepenthewines


Why cellar wines?

There are a couple of good reasons to start your own cellar, the first being the cost saving of buying in bulk. Secondly, it allows you to age the wine and compare different vintages. Another reason is that by ageing reds, they become softer and more approachable (as long it’s a good wine to start with), and certain varieties of white (such as Semillon and Riesling) can change flavour profile dramatically. Lastly, (and the main reason I cellar wines) having a cellar full of wine allows you to select wine at any time, even if the shops are closed! And of course, there is the satisfaction of growing your collection.

You don’t have to spend a fortune on wines to cellar


Great wines that don’t cost the earth include Eden Valley Rieslings and Hunter Valley Semillons. They look good when they are young but they also get better with age. Look for cooler climate Chardonnays as they tend to have a good natural acidity which is key to a wine’s ageing potential. There are also many reds with great cellar potential in the $25 to $50 price point. However it is worth doing your research first before you throw to much money around and many are deliberately made to be enjoyed while young!

What to look for in cellaring wines


As aforementioned, some wines have been made to age while others to be enjoyed while young. Ensure you read reviews and speak to your local fine wine specialist. Wines that have the potential to age will usually demand a higher price.

What makes the perfect cellaring environment?


A cool, dark place with a stable temperature (i.e. stays between 10 and 15 degrees all year round...like a cellar!). Stay away from windows (UV rays and sunlight), on top of the fridge (very warm spot) and anywhere it gets warm or where the temperature fluctuates dramatically.

A selection of suggestions on good wines to start your cellar with:

Look for the region heroes - Shiraz from the Barossa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon from the Coonawarra, Riesling from Eden Valley, Semillon from the Hunter Valley, etc. Be careful of buying in bulk lesser known varieties and fruit driven styles as they can tend to have a short shelf life.

Worth a look:

McGuigan Shortlist Riesling - Eden Valley SA
Tempus Two Copper Zenith Semillon – Hunter Valley SA
Majella Cabernet Sauvignon – Coonawarra SA

Johns Blend – Margarete Shiraz – Langhorne Creek SA

Last week: New wine varieties to try

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