As a wine retailer, I am often asked about the aging/cellar potentials of specific wines, and I typically find myself tounge-tied as to how to respond. Don’t get me wrong, I know which wines in my store have the capacity to age and improve and which ones don’t, but I often wonder if a lot of Americans are going to be pleased with the results of their patience. Thus, I thought I’d write a little piece on the wine aging process, its ramifications and specifically on what attributes must be present in a wine to make it “ageworthy”.
|My Intro to “Old” Wine|
|Perfectly Aged Riesling|
|Loire Valley Chenin – Try in 10 Years!|
For many of us, spending thousands of dollars on First Growth Bordeaux or Grand Cru Burgundy is just not an option, and I’ve got good news for you. We live in a “Golden Age” of wine and one doesn’t need to spend thousands or even hundreds of dollars on wine to start their own cellar. Furthermore, one doesn’t need to invest thousands of dollars on a temperature controlled cellar with elaborate wooden shelving and whatnot. Without getting into specifics, shop with a trusted local, independent retailer and test them out. Tell them you’d like to begin collecting some wine for aging and see how they respond. If they immediately take you to wines that cost $50 plus, run away. However, if they tell you that any good collection of wine should contain a number of different wines with different aging capacities, you’re probably in good hands. As for your home “cellar”, a dark closet that stays relatively cool, underneath the bed or a below-ground garage or basement will typically do the trick. The key here is to make sure that the area you choose doesn’t experience major variations in temperature or light, and that the temperature doesn’t get above 65 degrees or so. Storing wine above 55 degrees doesn’t mean that the wine is going to turn bad, but it might age a little more quickly. You’re now armed with all the information you need to start collecting wine; start with a small collection. Maybe buy a few cases a year that you plan to sit on for a bit, and if the bug catches you, I take no responsibility for the addiction that will ensue.
|Lopez Heredia Riojas|